These national forests make up one of the largest areas of public land in the entire United States.
The George Washington and Jefferson National Forests are located in west-central and southwest Virginia, respectively. They were combined under a single management in the mid-1990s and together they are comprised of 1.8 million acres of outstanding and dense forest. It’s estimated that there are 40 different species of trees, 78 types of reptiles and amphibians, and 60 mammal species that call the forests home. Portions of the forest are also in West Virginia and Kentucky. These forests offer phenomenal recreational opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts who want to explore this beautiful portion of the Appalachian Mountains.
About 325 miles of the Appalachian Trail run through these forests and there are 12 other National Recreation hiking trails of varying levels that add up to around 143 miles. There are plenty of scenic areas, campsites, boat launches, and picnic areas throughout the grounds for visitors to take advantage of. Other fun activities include fishing, horseback riding, cycling, snow sports in the wintertime, and of course photography. The George Washington and Jefferson National Forests are undoubtedly two of the most special regions of public land in the US and anyone passing through on the Blue Ridge Parkway should take time out to explore and discover the remarkable natural beauty here.