George Washington and Jefferson National Forests
Eagle Rock - Roaring Run Falls
Spend some time in Virginia and you will hear the names George Washington National Forest and Jefferson National Forest. But what are they? Where are they? And what can you do there?
Named for two founders of our country, the George Washington National Forest and Jefferson National Forest (GWJNF) were combined in 1995 and are now managed as one unit of the national forest system, with a whopping 1,664,110 acres in Virginia. These massive swaths of land stretch in parcels extending up the spine of the Appalachians roughly from the Tennessee state line following the northwest Virginia boundary with Kentucky and West Virginia. They are also found along the Blue Ridge from Roanoke to Waynesboro, as well a few small parcels in Kentucky and West Virginia.
Virginia’s GWJNF has a myriad recreation opportunities – hiking, paddling, bicycling, camping, wildlife viewing, fishing, scenic driving, and more. GWJNF boasts over 2,300 miles of streams, over 40 species of trees, over 60 species of animals and over 50 endangered plant species. It is a land with around 200 recreation sites such as campgrounds and picnic areas.
Over 2,200 miles of trails lace the GWJNF, allowing hikers, bicyclers and equestrians enough pathways for a lifetime. There are 23 federally designated wildernesses within mountainous terrain ranging from 515 feet in elevation near the Shenandoah River all the way up to Virginia’s highest point of 5,729 feet at Mount Rogers.