Top 5 day hikes in Southwest Virginia that locals love
Put these lesser known trails on your list to avoid the crowds and encourage exploration.
The Mendota Trail
Washington County's other rail-trail is the Mendota Trail, which, when complete, will stretch 12.5 miles from Bristol, VA to Mendota, VA. Currently you can hike on two separate portions of the trail, one starting in Bristol, and a section starting in Mendota.View a trail map
Salt Trail is a 3.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Glade Spring, Virginia that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.Salt Trail information
Gentry Creek Falls
Okay, so technically this one is in Tennessee but due to Southwest Virginia's central location, Gentry Creek Falls are just an hour from downtown Abingdon.Gentry Creek Falls
Pinnacle Natural Area Preserve
Towering cliffs, sheer limestone ledges, and waterfalls are but a few of the spectacular features of this preserve. Located near the confluence of the Clinch River and Big Cedar Creek, the topography of Pinnacle NAP has been modified by the forces of weather, water, and time to create this dramatic landscape. Towering above Big Cedar Creek is an impressive rock formation, the Pinnacle, from which the area derives its name. Cut from dolomite, the Pinnacle rises 400 feet above Big Cedar Creek. The Preserve's unique habitats support at least nine rare species and two rare natural communitiesInformation on Pinnacle Preserve
Skulls Gap Lookout/Iron Mtn Trail
Elevation: 3066 ft.
Skull’s Gap Overlook is a small site with a fantastic view. The Iron Mountain Trail is an extensive trail that can be accessed from this site. For wildlife watchers, Skull’s Gap is probably best suited for hawk-watching during fall migration. The scattered woodlands of the area might also produce a few songbirds during both spring and fall. The hillsides are vegetated with flowering shrubs and wildflowers. On a sunny summer day, this is a good spot to find a diversity of butterflies. White-tailed deer and wild turkey might also be seen in the distance from the overlook. Panoramic views are also conducive for spying more elusive wildlife such as bobcat.