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General Hiking Information

Hiking is allowed on open forest roads, on many forest roads that are gated to prevent motor vehicle travel, and on more than 1,925 miles of trails on the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests.  Cross-country (off-trail) hiking is also allowed throughout the forest, except for specific areas signed against foot travel due to resource concerns.  Permits are NOT required to hike in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests.

Many trails are open to multiple non-motorized uses; meaning the trails are shared by hikers, horse riders, and bicyclists.  Information on allowed trail uses is available on trailhead signs and the National Geographic-Trails Illustrated map for the area, or by contacting the nearest Ranger District office.

Trail Etiquette:

Trail etiquette for multiple use trails calls for horses to have the right-of-way.  Hikers should yield to horses.  Bicyclists should yield to horses and hikers.

Trail Name Abbreviations:

Please note that trails on the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests contain an abbreviation in the trail name’s title.  These abbreviations represent the ranger district where each trail resides.  These abbreviations are as follows:

• ClinchRD – Clinch Ranger District
• EDRD – Eastern Divide Ranger District
• GPRD – Glenwood & Pedlar Ranger Districts
• JRRD – James River Ranger District
• LeeRD – Lee Ranger District
• MRNRA – Mount Rogers National Recreation Area
• NRRD – North River Ranger District
• WSRD – Warm Springs Ranger District

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities