If you love the outdoors, you’ll love the Alleghany Highlands.
About 50% of the Alleghany Highlands is national forest property, which means more room to play. The Alleghany Highlands is home to some of the finest mountain biking in the state of Virginia, including nearly 40 miles of trails in Douthat State Park. That’s just the beginning of the Alleghany Highlands Trails experience. You’ll find trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding. The Jackson River Scenic Trail, which runs parallel to the Jackson River, is quickly becoming one of the most popular rails-to-trails experiences in western Virginia.
For those who prefer to get their thrills on the water, paddling, boating and world-class fishing await on the region’s many rivers, streams and lakes. The Alleghany Highlands Blueway brings together the Jackson and Cowpasture Rivers along with Lake Moomaw and Lake Douthat, so you can choose to run some class I and II rapids or enjoy exploring miles of wooded lake shore in search of that perfect fishing spot. Expert outfitters and guides are ready to help you have a great time on the water.
The Alleghany Highlands Blueway is comprised of two lakes and two scenic rivers that offer great paddling, fishing and boating. Each river and lake has its own unique personality and history, not to mention secret fishing spots. Take your time and spend a few days exploring the entire Alleghany Highlands Blueway.Approximately 30 miles of the wild and scenic Jackson River runs through the Alleghany Highlands and meets the Cowpasture River to form the headwaters of the James River. Several small streams feed into the Jackson River, including Dunlap Creek and Potts Creek, also offer excellent fishing.Approximately 10 miles of the Cowpasture River flows through the eastern portion of the Alleghany Highlands. Paddling on the Cowpasture is mostly moving water with a few easy straight forward rapids with great views of the surrounding mountains. Douthat State Park is not just one of Virginia's oldest state parks, it's one of its finest. Its contribution to the Alleghany Highlands Blueway is Douthat Lake, a 50-acre lake with swimming, boating and seasonal trout fishing.Lake Moomaw is the northern most portion of the Alleghany Highlands Blueway. The lake has 43 miles of undeveloped, wooded shoreline just perfect for exploring by canoe or kayak yet large enough for sailing and motorboats.
The scenic Allegheny Mountains of Virginia offer spectacular views, pristine wilderness and miles and miles of peaceful trails to explore. If you're ready for some hiking on peaceful wooded trails with mountain views, you'll find plenty of options in the Alleghany Highlands. If you prefer to explore the mountains on two wheels, our region is famous for having some of the best mountain biking trails in Virginia. If you enjoy trial riding on horseback, it's time to saddle up. Some trails will challenge the finest hikers, cyclists and riders, while others offer a relaxing walk in the woods for people of all ages and ability. Over 100 miles of trails are waiting to be explored.
Alleghany Outdoors is an outfitter company specializing in running river trips on the upper Jackson River and the Jackson River Scenic Trail below Lake Moomaw and Covington, Va. We rent kayaks, rafts, tubes, and mountain bikes for a variety of trip lengths and formats. We also operate a shuttle service to move customers upstream to launch areas. All of our trips are unguided. We are the contracted concessionaire outfitter of Alleghany County parks and recreation department to provide both river paddling and bike trail experiences for locals and tourists visiting the Jackson River scenic valley.
Twelve miles of the Allegheny Trail pass through the James River Ranger District. The Allegheny Trailhead provides an excellent access point for hikers headed for the Laurel Run Trailhead, 15 miles to the north on the Monongahela National Forest. This long distance trail crosses and follows the Eastern Continental Divide in the rugged Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia and Virginia. When complete, it will extend 330 miles from Preston County West Virginia, near the Pennsylvania border, to the Appalachian Trail in Monroe County, West Virginia. The Alleghany Trailhead can be reached by exiting I-64 at Jerry's Run (Exit 1).
We have spent many wonderful years together making memories on the farm. We have been blessed with wonderful times, but now our family is grown and gone, and things sit quietly. We chose to have the unveiling on, October 10th, because it was my dad’s birthday. As a child, he taught me that family is more than just blood relations. It’s a group of people who genuinely love, trust, care about, and look out for each other. We care about those who come to the farm and want to provide you with the best experience possible. So now we have grown our farm into a place for you to come and enjoy while making memories of your own. Welcome to our family."
The Dry Run Trail is a scenic 9-mile trail offering excellent vistas and wildlife viewing opportunities as it passes near Big Knob, the highest point in Allegheny County. The trail begins at the end of Cyprus Street in Covington. It extends up Dry Run Creek and Peter's Ridge, crosses FDR 125 and ends at its intersection with the Fore Mountain Trail. It can also be accessed from FDR 125.Directions:From Covington:W Riverside St Bear right onto Hickory StRoad name changes to E Hickory StTurn left onto N Greenbrier AveTurn right onto E Cypress St Bear right onto E Cypress StArrive at Dry Run Trailhead
The Eastern National Children's Forest is a unique site offering an easy hike for children and others who want an outdoor experience without an arduous and challenging hike. In 1971 a wildfire burned 1,176 acres on Potts Mountain which is about 22 miles south of the City of Covington. In 1972, over 1,000 children converged on the site from surrounding states and planted pine trees on the site. Since the planting a diverse forest ecology has developed with species of various soft and hardwoods. A monument remains with the names of the participating children and a time capsule which is to be opened in the year 2072.
Escatawba is the Native American word for “clear, running water.” That’s exactly what you’ll find here. And with it, some of the most spectacular fly-fishing in the world. Located in Alleghany County, Virginia, Escatawba Farms is home of Dunlap Creek, a freestone stream that runs in between wooded moutainsides and fenced pastures. For novice anglers and stillwater enthusiasts, Escatawba Farms boasts a one and a half-acre, spring-fed lake. Tucked back in the woods, back from the stream, holding dozens of big, cruising rainbows and brook trout, many of them citation size. To ensure a peaceful day we limit the number of rods on the stream for ideal angling.Guides and lessons are available.
Evan's Tract provides access to Cowpasture River and its adjoining fields and woodland. The hay fields along the river attract a variety of birds and butterflies, excellent site for water activites and wildlife observation.DirectionsFrom Callie Furnace, return to Rt. 622 and turn right; travel south 0.5 miles to Rt. 633. Turn left and continue east on Rt. 633 for 2.4 miles to US 220. Cross US 220 and continue east on Rt. 633 for 2.5 miles. Evans Tract is on the left just after crossing the Cowpasture River.
Falling Spring Falls is a breathtaking 80' waterfall that is one of the most visited and photographed spots in the Alleghany Highlands. The scenic waterfall is located on Route 220 in Alleghany County, just five miles north of Covington, Virginia. The property has had extensive renovations to the overlook and grounds, including a picnic area, so that visitors can more safely stop and enjoy the view. Thomas Jefferson described the Falling Spring Falls as a "remarkable cascade...falling over a rock about 200 feet to the valley below." One of the largest falls in Virginia, it cascades from an overhanging ledge, and is easily visible from the roadway. Please note, venturing from the overlook to explore the Falls is dangerous and illegal. The area beyond the fence is posted as no trespassing and violators are subject to fine.
Fore Mountain Trail is a scenic 13 mile hikin and mountain biking trail in northern Alleghany County. Leaving Covington it rises to the top of Fore Mountain in a series of switchbacks. The hike to the ridge top is steep but during leaf off it offers some great views of the Covington Area. Once at the top, the trail runs the length of Fore Mountain. It switches from one side of the ridge to the other several times on the journey east. There are many clearings and ponds along the trail that offer good views and peaceful resting spots. At the end of the Fore Mountain Trail, the path continues on as Middle Mountain Trail to Douthat Lake in Douthat State Park, extending the 13 mile hike to a potential 18 mile hike if the hiker chooses the option of hiking to the State park.
The Highlands Scenic Drive is a 19 mile loop between Clifton Forge in Alleghany County and Interstate 64 at Lexington.The scenic drive is a must-see experience for all visiting Virginia's Western Highlands and makes the outdoors and nature accessible even to those who would rather not hike into a wilderness area.Take Exit 43 off I-64 westbound, go short distance on SR 780, turn left on Forest Road 447 to begin the 19 mile loop tour.
Humpback Bridge is the only covered, humpback bridge remaining in the United States. It's also a cherished landmark, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, where residents and visitors alike gather for picnics, photos or simply to admire her beauty and craftsmanship.The bridge was constructed in 1857, and the design of the bridge, to be covered and arched, was to increase its longevity and keep the midpoint above flood waters. This nearly 110 foot structure was built with a broad axe and put together with hand hewed locust pins. The bridge was used for vehicular traffic on Route 60 (Midland Trail) until 1929. In 1953, The Covington Business and Professional Woman's Club, the Virginia Department of Transportation, and the area residents restored the bridge. Three eras of transportation history can be seen at this site: the old road crossing Humpback Bridge, the new state highway bridge on Route 60 (Midland Trail) and the CSX railroad bridge.Fans of covered bridges come from all over the world to admire the historic Humpback Bridge. It has been lovingly preserved and is now part of a five-acre wayside park. It's uniquely Alleghany.
Indian Draft is a river access point along the Jackson and a potential put out point if floating down from Gathright Dam. The rapids at Indian Draft, although not large enough to cause any real danger, add a little excitement to the float down from Gathright Dam. Travelers pass through a corridor flanked by sycamores on both sides and a ceiling of clear blue sky. Each turn provides the observer with a surprise maybe a white-tailed doe and her spotted fawn or perhaps a family of wood ducks with their fluffy young. On closer inspection, the banks hold numerous varieties of wildflower. From I-64, take Exit 16 for US 220 N, turn left on US 220/US60, and make another left to remain on US 220 N for 5.2 miles. Make a slight left at Jackson River Road SR 687. Continue on 687 to Indian Draft.
Headwaters in neighboring Highland County; prime fishing; stocked river; access points for public fishing; most popular just below Gathright Dam in the cold, high oxygen water and in Bath County at Hidden Valley; easy access; camping nearby; fly fisherman's paradise in the portion surrounded by the George Washington/Jefferson National Forest
The Jackson River Scenic Trail follows its namesake river. The trail follows an old railroad bed of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway (Hot Springs Branch) and passes through small communities, cultivated fields, and small patches of woodland along the way. It's common to see wildlife from the trail (birds, turtles, raccoons, rabbits, ground hogs, and deer).With a trailhead located just minutes from downtown Covington, the Jackson River Scenic Trail has a surface of finely crushed gravel and is well-suited for family rides and hikes. There are four trailheads along the 14 miles, with a proposed 5th for future expansion.The trail hosts the Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Annual Marathon.
Forming from the Cowpasture and Jackson Rivers with its headwaters in the town of Iron Gate in southern Alleghany County, the James River offers a wide diversity of fishing opportunities. Bass, catfish and sunfish are the main species and the river boasts many public boat landings for canoes or other small craft.
Johnson Springs is a Jackson River Access Point. Johnson Springs provides access to a serene mirror calm stretch of the Jackson River. Massive sycamores stretch out over the river along the bank, hosting chickadee and titmouse flocks as they travel the river in search of food. Directions: North on US-220 Bear left onto Jackson River Rd Turn left onto Indian Draft Rd Bear right onto E Morris Hill Rd Turn right onto Natural Well Rd Arrive at Johnson Springs on the left (The last intersection is W Morris Hill RdIf you reach SR-687 / Jackson River Rd, you've gone too far)
13,428 acre T. M. Gathright Wildlife Management Area; 2,530 acre lake; year round boating, water sports, fishing, camping, picnicking, hiking and hunting (in season); abundant wildlife includes bald eagles, white tail deer, turkeys, etc.; stocked lake; group picnic shelters; information center with observation deck; handicap fishing decks; sandy beachs with modern bathhouse adjacent; multiple ramps lighted docks. All National Forest land.Fishing:AlewifeTrout (brown, rainbow and brook)Black BassYellow PerchPanfishCatfishChain PickerelBlack CrappieRock BassSunfishBoat RampsFortney Branch (south end)Bolar Flats (north end)Coles Mountain (south end)CampingBolar Mountain (north end)McClintic Point (north end)Greenwood Point (midlake)Morris Hill (south end)Other Recreational SitesColes Point (south end) - beach, bathouse, boat launch, picnic
In the 1930's the Clifton Forge Chapter of the NAACP requested that the Forest Service construct a recreation area for use by the African Americans in the area. During this era, segregation in America was the norm, and African Americans were prevented from using forest facilities. The plans were approved in 1936 and construction of the recreation area began in 1938. On June 15, 1940, the area was dedicated as "Green Pastures Recreation Area" and opened to the public. Green Pastures was built by the Dolly Ann Civilian Conservation Corp Camp F24. The bath house, picnic shelter, and the two restroom facilities are all original buildings. The dam is also an original structure that was built by hand. On April 23, 1963, the name was changed to Longdale matching the community name. The Longdale community is a Virginia Historic District. L
Located between Clifton Forge and Covington. Exit I-64 at Low Moor (Exit 21), go past entrance of the Alleghany Regional Hospital, go through railroad overpass, turn right onto Route 616 (Rich Patch Road) and follow approximately 1.6 miles. Turn left onto FDR 616 at the sign to the shooting range just past the Virginia Power Company sub-station on the left. Six rifle benches and 3 pistol benches are under roofed shelter. Features are: rifle range-stationary targets at 50 and 100 yards, and pistol range-stationary targets at 25 yards. Moving targets, such as clay pigeons are prohibited, as are glass bottles. Shooters must supply their own targets and are asked to keep the range clean of litter by taking away all target materials with them. Parking available for 5 vehicles. The range is open year round.
Petticoat Junction is an access along the Jackson River for canoes/kayaks (one could put in at Gathright Dam and float down the Jackson to this point). Petticoat Junction is the last pull out before floating down into Covington. From I-64, take Exit 16 for US 220 N, turn left on US 220/US60, and make another left to remain on US 220 N for 5.2 miles. Make a slight left at Jackson River Road SR 687. Turn left on Mays Lane. Go 0.2 miles to the riverfront.This site is also on the Virginia Birdiing and Wildlife Trail. According to the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, "These surroundings support anticipated birds such as indigo buntings and song sparrows. Along forest edges these birds can be heard singing from prominent points and popping out of denser patches of scrub and grass. The woods ring with the familiar calls of Carolina wren, northern cardinal and northern flicker, while the river hosts great blue and green herons, wood duck and belted kingfisher. Butterflies such as eastern tiger swallowtail and red-spotted purple float between cardinal flowers and black-eyed Susans. The glittering ebony jewelwing sticks to shady sections along the stream, often sharing their perch with eastern painted turtles."