Explore the most popular river trails in Jefferson National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Great trail for all skill levels.

A fun loop trail that isn't too strenuous. Make sure to explore Mountain Lake and the little museum they have for when Dirty Dancing was filmed there! Another note, no matter how nice it is out, it is always SO WINDY at bald knob so be prepared with a wind breaker or gloves and a well secured hat even on a nice spring or fall day!

Forgot to add! Make sure you do bald knob while your there. Short hike with great views but very very steep and rough terrain

Good hike!! Had a few nice views!! Had a couple steep long hikes. Some trees down that blocked some of the markers butt all and all it was cool to get off track a little and explore. Entrance was a little hard to find but we got there.

1 month ago

Started in the morning about 10 was to the top by 12 was able to make lunch where the old firepower was the snow made it absolutely beautiful great beginner hike highly recommend it

As a Randolph College student in Lynchburg, this is one of my favorite places to go when I need some time outside. I've put my hammock up along this trail before as well. Beautiful views along the bridge as well as the trail. Not very strenuous at all and trail is relatively clear of rocks and debris. Would recommend!

Recommend especially during the winter months when the foliage is down. Lots of views of surrounding peaks and views looking down on the James River that would likely be limited when the trees have all their leaves. A number of feeder trails cross the AT here so pay attention at these intersections so you don't end up like yours truly and get off track :)

The Bald Knob trail is short, but steep. Great views at the top!

5 months ago

Good views from a few places during summer. Old fire tower foundation on top is a great place for a break and/or lunch.

5 months ago

This trail can be muddy and overgrown in the summer months. Trail follows a seasonal creek and sometimes becomes the creek. There are also a few creek crossings that you will encouter. You can connect this trail with the Virginia Highlands Horse Trail and Henley Hollow Trail to get a 11-12 mile loop

Great trail, the view at the top is beautiful. Easy hike or trail run. Wonderful afternoon in the woods.

It was so much fun!

6 months ago

Nice little hike, fairly gradual the whole way up. There isn't much of a view at the very top, but a few hundred yards before you reach the top there's an opening with a good view of the valley, all they need is a bench there and it would be a perfect spot to stop and take in the view! The trailhead is kind of tucked behind site #6 in Raccoon Branch campground, just keep right at the first few forks and you'll hit the trail no problem.

Only did the Indian Trail and the foliage was very dense. Not difficult, but only brief views and lots of blackberry bushes that were crowding out parts of the trail.

This is a great biking/walking jogging trial. Take a trolly to the top of the mountain and ejoy the views as you cruise 17 miles downhill. Great stopping point at the middle grab a bite to eat and a break then back to finish the other half light incline but nothing too bad. The trail is mainly gravel or pressed dirt can be dusty and a bit rocky at times but a great ride.

I would consider this easy not moderate. Beautiful view along the river several nice places to stop for a lunch. Good hike for kids and pets.

mountain biking
8 months ago

Rode the intermediate/yellow trail. Trails clearly marked but needed some TLC for the fallen trees and overgrown vegetation in some areas. Lots of roots but it was a fun ride. Didn't have time to check out rest of park but will definitely be back to do that.

Whitetop to Damascus is easy and beautiful. Bring bike tools just in case, I learned the hard way : )

9 months ago

Completed the Crawfish and Channel Rock Loop in the early summer as a 3 day, 2 night trip with a couple of friends. The trailhead is at the end of Strawberry road in a huge cul-de-sac. The first 2 miles is an overgrown road. Loads of turtles laying eggs, a ring-necked snake, and a couple timber rattlesnakes. There were turkey, deer, and evidence of beaver and bears. If you're looking to camp there are two spots, both near the AT. The first is a quarter mile from the AT and the other is at the AT-CCR intersection. Water isn't an issue. The hike from the AT north to the AT south intersection is a beast. On the plus side we got to eat huckleberries and blackberries. The route at: https://www.alltrails.com/explore/recording/crawfish-valley-channel-rock-trail--2 is a better option than this one for the CCR loop. If you're looking to stretch this into an overnight I recommend using the same campsite and finishing the loop.

If you're interested you can read about my trip at: http://y2kemo.com/2017/07/backpacking-crawfish-channel-rock-loop-turtles-and-butt-sweat/

10 months ago

Great trail for a day hike. Magnificent view of Sugar Grove, VA.

Good solid hike with some nice views. First time on the AT so that was very cool. We started at the Thunder Ridge Wilderness area and finished at the James River. Like 16.9 miles. If you have never had the opportunity to hit any sections of the AT I would highly recommend it. We met a couple from Denmark and a cook from Switzerland. Very cool hearing their stories. Also enjoyed how the folks at the camping areas help each other...We were being offered mac and cheese and hadn't even put our gear down. Lol.

Dogs are allowed on leash. But Didn't see much interesting stuff.

Did the shuttle to Whitetop and rode downhill back to Damascus. Thought I would lose my teeth it was so bumpy. Fast too. Definitely more brakes than pedaling. Couple days later did Damascus to Abingdon and enjoyed that section much more. Required more work of course but it was a great ride. More varied and actually could look around at the scenery without worrying about bouncing off my bike at full speed.

Awesome!! Hope to ride again!!

To bike this trail in the fall is pure magic. There is no other way to describe it. A gentle coasting ride through a forest of amazing fall foliage while crossing surreal old bridges and streams.

Whether you are hiking, running, or biking, this trail offers serenity.

awesome trail! i love all the scenery changes and the abingdon winery was a great stopping point in the middle

Great ride, crowded at times. We did this during a National Trails Day celebration, used the Virginia Creeper Trail Bike Shop in Abingdon, great service, great equipment. They shuttled us a half hour to Whitetop Station for the start of our downhill to Damascus, and they can pick you up there to take you back to Abingdon or you can ride all the way back the full 34 miles, which we did. Lots of cool trestles to cross, lots of other riders to navigate at times, this is a rails to trails thoroughfare. Half way to Damascus we stopped for some hot dogs from a local church. Great lunch on the trail. Most of the trail is along crushed cinder gravel which will fly up into your eyes so recommend wearing sunglasses, and if it gets wet, which it did in our case, it will get all over your seat and back if you don't have fenders. We stayed dry to Damascus and started enjoying the Trail Days Parade when the heavens opened up with heavy downpours that lasted about an hour. People were going crazy, especially the crowd in tent city. When the rains let up, we ventured on to Abingdon, and navigated the wet spots in the trail. It started drying out by the time we got to Alvarado, and the sun finally came back out. Some really beautiful views along the way, we got the 11AM shuttle to the top, and started down at noon, stopped in Damascus two hours later, and after the downpour, arrived back in Abingdon at around 6PM, so plan for 5-7 hours for the whole trip. And be prepared for the uphill the last 8 miles, had to go down two gears to keep pace. Overall a great experience, and everyone can do the 17 miles to Damascus. Enjoy!

awesome Trail the only downside is that it's heavily traveled. Lots cool trestles to cross. it is not a difficult Trail. it's very easy as it's a Rails to Trails project.

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