The Bluestone River has its headwaters on East River Mountain in Tazewell County, Virginia. It winds its way through mountain valleys until it leaves Virginia and crosses into West Virginia. The course then leads through Mercer and Summers counties in West Virginia until it joins the New River
about 4 miles south of Hinton, West Virginia. There it forms Bluestone Lake, a project of the US Army Corps of Engineers
, who dammed the New River at that location.
Bluestone Lake was authorized by Presidential Executive Order in 1935, approved by Congress in the Flood Control Acts of 1936 and 1938, and begun in 1941. Work was suspended in 1942 due to WW II, resumed in 1946, and completed in 1949. Bluestone Lake is the 3rd largest lake in West Virginia.
An eleven-mile portion of the lower Bluestone River was designated as a National Scenic River in 1988. This section runs primarily through Summers County, West Virginia, running through a scenic gorge cut through the surrounding mountains. Both ends of this scenic section are anchored in State Parks. The upper portion runs through Bluestone State Park while the lower end runs through Pipestem Resort State Park.
A tributary of the Bluestone River is the Little Bluestone River, which runs less than 10 miles from its formation by the joining of White Oak Branch and Jumping Branch. This tributary lies within Summers County, West Virginia.
Bluestone River is just 77 miles long from its source to its terminus with the New River. It drains part of southwestern Virginia and southern West Virginia. The water is part of the Mississippi River watershed, finding its way to the Gulf of Mexico via the New River, the Kanawha River, and the Ohio River.
The Bluestone River is a warm water fishery which features smallmouth bass, rock bass, catfish, and bluegill as popular species.
The Bluestone River holds a variety of terrain for its relatively modest length. It runs through narrow gorges, rambled past flat river plains, and darts past the entrances to coal mines, most long abandoned. The river is one of the more pristine rivers left in the Mid-Atlantic region of the US. Since it was discovered in the 1700s it has seen its share of history, from the early hunters and adventurers who gave way to settlers, then the coal barons who developed the regions mineral resources, until its present day incarnation as a tourist/sportsmans attraction.