In the late 1800s and early 1900s iron ore was mined from some of the hillsides in the area, and trees were cut to make charcoal for the iron ore furnaces. Traces of this activity, including an old mountain homestead with a small orchard, remain today in Rich Hole Wilderness.
You'll find a mature hardwood ecosystem with large old hemlocks in the drainage bottoms, and chestnut oaks and pines on south-facing slopes where the Virginia sun warms them.
Rich Hole Trail takes the hiker into the Wilderness area. The trail passes old growth hardwoods and passes by several impressive vistas. To access the upper trailhead from westbound I-64 take exit 43 and go right at the stop sign at the end of the ramp. Turn right on VA 850. Drive approximately 3 miles to the trailhead parking area on the right.