George Washington and Jefferson National Forests
The Jefferson National Forest and the George Washington National Forest are divided into a number of Ranger Districts. These beautiful Forests are home to 17 designated Wilderness Areas. In addition to its natural beauty and recreation opportunities, these Forests are rich in history.
The National Forests are traversed by the Blue Ridge Parkway, and a portion of the Forests adjoin the Shenandoah National Park. As you can imagine, this beautiful region offers a collection of scenic drives. Treat yourself to a fall foliage drive through these Forests.
The Jefferson National Forest is home to the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, where you'll find over 400 miles of designated trails. The trails range from primitive single-track to old logging roads and railroad grades. Some are for foot only, others allow horse and/or bicycle use. Mount Rogers is Virginia's tallest peak.
The Forests are located within eight major river basins: the Potomac, James, Roanoke, New, Big Sandy, Holston, Cumberland, and Clinch Rivers. Average discharge of surface water from National Forest lands is estimated to be 2.2 million acre feet.
The Forests contain 2,340 miles of perennial streams, of which over 1,000 miles are trout waters. There are 82 reservoirs within or immediately downstream from the National Forests, 16 of which are used for municipal water supply. Lake Moomaw is among the largest reservoir (2530 acres) providing flood control, water quality control, and recreation opportunities.
One of the most outstanding viewing spots in the George Washington National Forest is the High Knob Fire Lookout Tower. The tower is located at an elevation of 4,107 feet, on the State line between Virginia’s Rockingham County and West Virginia’s Pendleton County.
Reddish Knob (elevation 4,398 feet) due west of Harrisonburg, Virginia offers the best overview of the Dry River Ranger District in the George Washington Forest. The District has wonderful scenery, stocked trout waters, diverse wildlife habitats, a world-class trail system, spacious campgrounds, and many other attractions.
Reddish Knob was the site of one of the District's fire towers, and is also the highest point on the District. The fire tower is gone now, but Reddish Knob is listed as a scenic overlook.
The George Washington & Jefferson National Forests have two types of camping options: developed campgrounds and undeveloped or dispersed campsites located throughout the general forest area.