George Washington and Jefferson National Forests stretch across 1.8 million acres of the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia and into parts of Kentucky and West Virginia. The area contains more than 40 species of trees, and most of them are pines or hardwoods. It is also home to over 2,000 species of plants, 100 species of fish and mussels, and over 200 species of birds. These forests are a great place to go hiking to see the 60 mammals that live in the area. The National Forest Service has administered these two forests as one unit since 1995.
Camping is a wonderful way to explore all that George Washington and Jefferson National Forests offer. Bringing your RV allows you more time to go hiking, biking, fishing, and stargazing. If you do not have an RV, then rent one on RVshare.com, as you will not want to miss out on a moment of the fun.
You can camp in units up to 30-feet long at Camp Burson in Hungry Mother State Park. Rent a boat to explore the lake or go swimming and hiking. Rates start at about $35 per night. Water hookup: Yes Electrical hookup: Yes Sewer hookup: Yes Wi-Fi: No Pet-friendly: Yes Other features: Boat rental, swimming, hiking
Camp while surrounded by rhododendron and listening to a mountain stream at Hurricane Campground. This campground within George Washington and Jefferson Forests offers easy access to the Appalachian Trail. Rates start at about $20 per night. Water hookup: No Electrical hookup: No Sewer hookup: No Wi-Fi: No Pet-friendly: Yes Other features: Hiking, biking, swimming
Grindstone Campground is tucked away in a quiet spot in the Fairwood Valley area of George Washington and Jefferson National Forests. Each site at this campground near the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area offers a picnic table and fire ring. Rates start at about $20 per night. Water hookup: No Electrical hookup: No Sewer hookup: No Wi-Fi: No Pet-friendly: Yes Other amenities: Hiking, biking, swimming
Backbone Rock Campground in Cherokee National Forest offers easy access to hiking trails leading to Backbone Rock. This campground’s higher elevation means it often stays cooler in the summer. Rates start at about $10 per night. Water hookup: No Electrical hookup: No Sewer hookup: No Wi-Fi: No Pet-friendly: Yes Other features: Hiking, biking, sightseeing
The Rushing Waters Circuit Trail starts at Whitetop-Laurel Creek and runs to the top of Lookout Mountain. This trail follows parts of the Appalachian and Virginia Creeper trails before reaching Lookout Mountain. While it can be a strenuous climb, summiting Lookout Mountain on a clear day rewards you with stunning views of Whitetop Mountain and Mount Rogers.
Length: 15.75 miles
The Hurricane Knob Nature Trail starts at the Hurricane Campground and crosses two wooden bridges. This trail then runs up Hurricane Knob before returning to the campground.
Length: 1.14 miles
The Mount Rogers Trail starts in Fairwood Valley and goes to the start of Mount Rogers' northeastern slope. This trail runs along Elk Ridge.
Length: 4 miles
This trail starts a little east of Dry Run Wilderness and follows the creek for its first leg, where you can see several waterfalls. Then, it emerges to join another trail that goes up Horse Heaven Mountain.
Length: 3.16 miles
You may want to bring along your trout fishing gear when you hike Dickey Knob Trail because its start lies along Dickey Creek. Then, it ascends to provide spectacular views of Rye Valley and Sugar Grove.
Length: 4.8 miles
Hale Lake Trail is a short nature trail running around Hale Lake in Northern Grayson County. This trail is an easy path to follow around the lake, and it often provides excellent wildlife viewing, especially at sunrise and sunset when animals are coming in to get a drink.
Length: 0.56 miles
River, stream, pond, and lake fishing are all available at George Washington and Jefferson National Forests. Officials regularly stock the lake in the Bark Camp Recreation Area with trout. Consider going to the Cascades Day Use Area for outstanding native trout fishing. The metal ramp at the Cherokee Flats Day Use Area allows individuals using a wheelchair to enjoy stream fishing. Find a fishing hole to enjoy under the white pine trees in the Interior Whistle Stop Day Use Area because the chances are that the trout in the Big Stony Creek are biting. There are over 50 miles of streams to fish in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area.
Follow the trail off Virginia Highway 58 about 0.5 miles to find this cache. If you have a MiniDisc recorder, bring it so that you can leave a voice message for others who have located this cache that is very near the trail.
The fully accessible wooden boardwalk in the Pandapas Pond Day Use Area is a fantastic spot to see turtles, songbirds, and waterfowl. The short trail at the Fenwick Mines Day Use Area often allows you to see woodpeckers, Eastern box turtles, and dragon- and damselflies. The accessible trail near Bealers Ferry Pond is a beautiful spot to see ducks, geese, and Great blue herons.
The remoteness of George Washington and Jefferson National Forests makes the area a terrific place to go stargazing. Whitetop Mountain is the highest point in Virginia and can be a fantastic place to watch the stars.
Address: 3714 VA-16, Marion, Virginia 24354
Fee: Entry fee $0
George Washington and Jefferson National Forests in Virginia offer tremendous opportunities to go hiking, stargazing, fishing, and see plants and animals. While you can enter many parts of these two locations for free, many day-use areas charge separate fees. A great way to explore these forests and the surrounding towns is in an RV. Pack up your RV and head there soon. You can still enjoy visiting these national forests if you do not have an RV because you can easily rent one on RVshare.com.