Recreation Sites Open for Visitors on the Clinch Ranger District

Recreation area, trailhead access and conditions for the 2021 season

Norton, VA. 05.05.2021 — The George Washington & Jefferson National Forests will soon be opening additional developed recreation sites on the Clinch Ranger District in Lee, Scott and Wise Counties, Virginia.

The Cane Patch Campground is scheduled to open May 16. Phillips Creek Day Use Area and Cave Springs Campground are scheduled to open May 23. 

The High Knob Recreation Area, including the day use area and campground, is normally opened on Memorial Day (May 31.)  The opening date of the High Knob Recreation Area for the 2021 season, however, is expected to be delayed due to a major water-distribution system improvement project. Work is currently underway to replace the recreation area’s old and leaking water lines. These water lines have resulted in the need to close or provide reduced services at the High Knob Recreation Area multiple times in the past.

The Bark Camp Campground is planned to open on May 23, although this may be delayed as we are working to address several issues with the new water system.

Visitors are encouraged to check the Forests’ website for the most current information before planning to visit as there may be changes to the planned openings:

“We depend on partners and volunteers to be able to maintain and keep these sites open,” said Clinch District Ranger Michelle Davalos. “Thank you to Spearhead Trails, the Virginia public corporation which operates the Cave Springs and Lake Keokee recreation areas; to the Wise County Public Services Authority, Wise County and the City of Norton, who are leading the project to update the aging High Knob Recreation Area water distribution system; and to the volunteer camp hosts whom we depend on to operate the campgrounds.”

Many recreation sites, including hiking and biking trails, are open year-round. Other recreation sites on the Clinch Ranger District that are currently open include:

  • Birch Knob Observation Tower: While the site is open, the restroom is closed. Access to the tower will be limited during weekdays this summer as FSR 616 (Mullins Road) is repaired. 
  • Devils Fork Trailhead: Users are encouraged to park at Scott County’s Stony Creek Park; the access road is in poor shape and requires a high clearance vehicle.
  • Guest River Gorge Trailhead
  • Hanging Rock Day Use Area
  • High Knob Observation Tower
  • High Knob Multi-Use Trailhead (accesses High Knob Loop Trail): The access road is in poor shape and requires a high clearance vehicle.
  • Lake Keokee Day Use Area
  • Little Stony Trailhead (accesses High Knob Loop Trail)
  • McGhee Creek Trailhead (accesses High Knob Loop Trail)
  • Little Stony National Recreation Trail: The portion of the trail from the Little Stony Trailhead parking lot to the second waterfall is open. The remainder of the trail is closed due to landslides; plans are underway to repair damage.
  • North Fork of Pound Boat Launch
  • Wise Boat Launch

For more information, please contact the Clinch Ranger District at (276) 220-1670, visit our website, or follow us on Twitter:

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