Learn more about the amazing outdoor destinations in the Blue Ridge Highlands region of Virginia by clicking the links below:
- Claytor Lake State Park
Located on the 4,500-acre, 21-mile long Claytor Lake (from which the park was named) in the New River Valley of southwestern Virginia, Claytor Lake State Park offers a wide variety of activities for water and land enthusiasts. Easily accessible from Interstate 81, the park offers miles of hiking trails, swimming, camping, cabins and a visitor center. The visitor center is located in the historic Howe House.The lake and the park are named after Graham Claytor (1886-1971), who was vice president of Appalachian Power and supervised construction of the dam.From I-81, take Exit 101 (Claytor Lake) to State Park Road (State Route 660). State Park Road ends at the park's entrance.
- Fairy Stone State Park
Fairy Stone State Park, the largest of Virginia's six original state parks, is home to its namesake "fairy stones." These rare mineral crosses and the park's scenic beauty, rich history and ample recreational opportunities make it a local and regional favorite. The 4,537 acres that make up the park were donated by Junius B. Fishburn, former owner of the Roanoke Times, in 1933. The Civilian Conservation Corps originally created the park, its lake and many structures still in use there.The Legend of the Fairy Stone: Many hundreds of years before Chief Powhatans reign, fairies were dancing around a spring of water, playing with naiads and wood nymphs, when an elfin messenger arrived from a city far away. He brought news of the death of Christ. When these creatures of the forest heard the story of the crucifixion, they wept. As their tears fell upon the earth, they crystallized to form beautiful crosses.
- Grayson Highlands State Park
Grayson Highlands is Virginia's third largest state park with just over 4500 acres of land and is located in Grayson County near Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. Our elevation is higher than any other state park in Virginia and we are best known for our beautiful vistas and the wild ponies that live in the highlands. Expect to see spectacular views from our many trails and overlooks, such as the famous Sugarlands Overlook on the main park road. On a clear day, you can see for 70 miles and in the fall the red leaves of the sugar maples create a beautiful sight. The park offers 15 miles of trails for hiking plus year round access to the 2,184 mile long Appalachian Trail that runs from Georgia to Maine. For equestrians, we provide access to the Virginia Highlands Horse Trail, a beautiful trail that takes horse lovers 68 miles through national forest. This hikers paradise offers access to Mount Rogers, Virginia's highest peak. The park also offers camping, picnicking, fishing, hunting and horse stables.
- Hungry Mother State Park
Hungry Mother State Park is located in Smyth County near the town of Marion, Virginia and is accessible just off of route 16 near interstate 81. It offers over 2,000 acres of wooded mountainous terrain which includes a large lake for fishing and boating, several miles of trails for hiking and biking, a conference center, camping, picnicking, a lakeside beach for swimming, and a discovery center to learn about the area.Legend has it that when Indians destroyed several settlements on the New River south of the park, Molly Marley and her small child were among the survivors taken to the raiders' base north of the park. Molly and her child eventually escaped, wandering through the wilderness eating berries. Molly finally collapsed and her child wandered down a creek until she found help The only words the child could utter were "Hungry Mother". When the search party arrived at the foot of the mountain where she had collapsed, they found Molly dead. Today, the mountain is Molly's Knob and the stream Hungry Mother Creek. When the park was developed in the 1930's the creek was dammed to form Hungry Mother Lake.
- New River Trail State Park
New River Trail State Park has been designated an official National Recreation Trail by the U. S. Department of the Interior. The park parallels 39 miles of the New River, which is one of the world's oldest rivers and among a handful of rivers flowing north. Two tunnels: 135 feet and 193 feet long. Three Major Bridges: Hiwasee - 951 feet; Ivanhoe - 670 feet; Fries Junction - 1,089 feet. Nearly 30 smaller bridges and trestles. A shot tower used more than 200 years ago to make ammunition.
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