With hiking trails of varying difficulty, Scott County, Virginia is an outdoor enthusiasts’ dream.
Depending on your personal needs, you can either grab your tent and sleeping bag and “rough it” at camping accommodations within Natural Tunnel State Park or pile up along the banks of the Clinch River at Camp Clinch. Both offer primitive camping and RV hook-ups and Natural Tunnel has primitive Yurts available for rental.
After a day-long hike, those who prefer a nice long soak in a Jacuzzi tub are encouraged to make Appalachian Mountain Cabins home base for their foray into the wilderness. Locally-owned and operated, Appalachian Mountain Cabins features four cabins with sleeping accommodations for four to eight persons. Cabins are fully furnished and include satellite television and free WiFi.
Day 1: Devil’s Bathtub
For years, one of the county’s greatest treasures remained hidden and relatively unvisited except by locals. Today, visitors from all over the world have made the two-mile, 13-creek crossing trek to the Devil’s Bathtub.
The Devil’s Bathtub is a natural rock formation in the Jefferson National Forest of Scott County and is part of a longer, seven-mile trail known as the Devil’s Fork Loop. Dispersed camping is allowed in the Jefferson National Forest, but campers are recommended to stay on the longer, four-mile trail away from the water. Water to the Bathtub is supplied by the Big Cherry Reservoir atop High Knob and is a dynamic water force prone to flash flooding.
After your hike, grab a hearty meal at the Front Porch Store & Deli in Fort Blackmore or the Black Diamond Market in Dungannon. For fresh, local produce stop in at Mann’s produce stand in Ft. Blackmore.
Day 2: The Falls at Little Stony
Make sure to pack a camera for this hike to The Falls at Little Stony. The Little Stony National Recreation Trail is a 2.8 mile trail with an upper trailhead at Falls of Little Stony Creek and a lower trailhead at Hanging Rock Picnic Area.
This trail follows Little Stony Creek through a 400’ deep and 1700’ wide gorge. Large outcrops, rock ledges and boulders form the scenic edges along Stony Creek. In some areas, hikers will need to climb around/over boulders and large rocks to remain on the trail. A scenic 27’ waterfall, along with two smaller waterfalls, gives this site its name.
With several covered shelters, Hanging Rock Picnic area is a great spot to enjoy a picnic lunch. Fresh, homemade lunches are available at the Family Bakery in downtown Gate City. Featuring mouth-watering cupcakes, the Family Bakery was voted the “Best Bakery” in the 2016 Virginia Culinary Challenge.
Little Stony Falls Photo by Scott Jerrell Scott County Extension Agent
Head into Gate City before your hike and treat yourself to a country breakfast at Campus Drive-in or grab a biscuit and cheddar rounds on the run at Pal’s, a locally-owned, limited franchise that is the only restaurant ever to win the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. A run thru Pal’s is not complete without a Southern “sweet tea.”
Day 3: Kane Gap
This historic footpath is the only trail today where you can walk in the actual footsteps of frontiersman Daniel Boone. It was up this mountain and through the Kane Gap that Boone and his 30 axemen blazed the Wilderness Road Trail, opening the way for thousands of migrants to make their way west.
The Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail Association has marked Boone’s historic trail, where you can still see the pioneer “hotel” that housed thousands crossing over into Wallen’s Valley and then onward to Kentucky. Once used as a mail route, the trail is fairly easy to traverse but includes a somewhat steep zig-zag ascent to the top of the gap.
Once off the mountain, stop by the Duffield Grille for an old-time griddle hamburger or drive a little further to the Hob Nob for a wider variety of diner fare.
For more information or help planning your trip to Scott County, Virginia, please call 276-386-6521.