Scott County’s trails offer the hiker an endless range of options from multi-day backpacking trips down the Chief Benge Scout Trail to half hour jaunts from car to vistas on the Bear Rock Trail. Mountain views, sparkling waterfalls and forest floors dotted with wildflowers are just a few of the many attractions.
The nature enthusiast will be thrilled to discover that Scott County is part of southwest Virginia and northeast Tennessee’s “biodiversity hotspot” — an area with more types of plants and animals than can be found anywhere else in the continental United States. Every season of the year has its wild treasures, from brilliantly colored migrating birds in May to stunning fall foliage in October.
Two large protected areas offer the best hiking opportunities in the county. The Jefferson National Forest covers most of High Knob in northern Scott County and expands north from there. High Knob is one of the tallest mountains in Virginia and boasts high elevation plant communities more like those found in New England. Campgrounds, lakes, and trout streams round out the recreation opportunities.
On the western end of the county, Natural Tunnel State Park is named after a water-carved tunnel which is now used by the railroad. In addition to miles of hiking trails, Natural Tunnel State Park offers a chairlift, campground, swimming pool, and many other amenities.