Special Places

Abundant recreational opportunities are available in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests including several special places.


Highlighted Areas

Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail, also known as the A.T., is America’s footpath and first National Scenic Trail. The trail traverses 14 states and is marked with two-inch by six-inch white vertical paint blazes. Virginia hosts more A.T. miles than any other state with the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests home to 325 of the trail’s 2,190 total miles. The Virginia section of the A.T. passes through a variety of ecosystems, including the “high country” of the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, the ridge and valley area of the Eastern Divide Ranger District, and atop the Blue Ridge of the Glenwood-Pedlar Ranger District. Elevation ranges from 265’ at the James River Footbridge to 5500’ at Pine Mountain.

Mount Rogers National Recreation Area

The Mount Rogers National Recreation Area offers unique recreation opportunities in a 5,000ft high area with large rock formations, mountain balds, and spruce-fir forests. Within Mount Rogers, there are four wilderness areas, 400 miles of trail, eleven campgrounds, three rental cabins, and beautiful scenic roads, such as the Mount Rogers Scenic Byway and road to Whitetop Mountain. Mt. Rogers is home to 60 miles of Appalachian Trail and 18 miles of the Virginia Creeper Trail. Motorcyclists and cyclists can enjoy the beautiful Iron Mountain Trail, and horseback-riders can enjoy the Virginia Highlands Horse Trail, one of the marque saddle trails in the region. In addition, visitors to Mount Rogers have the opportunity to go hunting, trout fishing, bird watching, sight-seeing, swimming, cross country skiing, and nature-viewing of animals such as wild ponies.  


Virginia Creeper National Recreation Trail

The Virginia Creeper National Recreation Trail occupies the bed of what was once a rugged mountain railroad between Abingdon and the Virginia-North Carolina border about a mile east of Whitetop Community. At the trail's lowest point, where it crosses South Holston Lake on a huge curving trestle, it is 2,000 feet above sea level, but, by the time it reaches Whitetop Community, it has ascended 1,600 feet, some of it at nearly 7 percent grade! The Virginia Creeper is a shared- use trail. Visit the Special Places section for more information on the history of the Virginia Creeper Trail.

Trail Open To:

Trail HikingBicycle RidingHorse Riding


Sherando Lake Recreation Area

Sherando Lake Recreation Area is known locally as the jewel of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Families enjoy picnicking in this shaded and woody area, while relaxing on the sandy beach of a 25-acre spring-fed lake. Access to multiple trailheads and rustic architecture provide numerous points of interest for families to enjoy.

Lake Moomaw Recreation

Lake Moomaw is a popular outdoor recreation destination offering multiple campgrounds, swim beaches, boating ramps, fishing piers and scenic trails. Popular with boaters and anglers, the 2,530-acre cold-water lake sits along the Jackson River in the mountains of the Alleghany Highlands where it boasts over 40 miles of undeveloped shoreline.

Visitors can plan to base their adventures at recreation sites at the northern end of Lake Moomaw in Bath County or in the southern end of Lake Moomaw in Alleghany County.

Recreation Areas