George Washington National Forest

Hiking

Hiking is probably the best way to experience the forest in its many different forms. There are numerous old woods roads, level trails beside mountain lakes, self-guiding forest walks, rugged mountain paths, and the famous Appalachian Trail. In total, there are over 200 miles of hiking trails in the Forest. Most of these trails are open to mountain bikes, too, even if they aren't really suited for such. (Mountain bikers: Do your homework!)

The forest contains six designated wildernesses totaling just over 32,000 acres. The 6,518-acre Ramsey's Draft Wilderness is located on the Deerfield Ranger District. The Rich Hole Wilderness (6,450 acres) is located on the James River Ranger District. Rough Mountain Wilderness (9,300 acres) is located on the Warm Springs Ranger District. And 9,835-acre St. Mary's Wilderness is located on the Pedlar Ranger District.

The Wild Oak Trail, which is a National Recreation Trail in the Pedlar District, is one you should look at twice. It rambles for 25 miles from the headwaters of the North River then over Springhouse Ridge, with great views, wildlife, and even some decent fishing along the way.

But if that doesn't appeal to you, talk to the forest rangers. They can probably suggest a hiking adventure that suits you. Here is a district-by-district breakdown of some of the top scoring trails:

Lee Ranger District
Dry River Ranger District
Deerfield Ranger District
Warm Springs Ranger District
Pedlar Ranger District
James River Ranger District


Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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