New River Trail is a 57-mile linear park that follows an abandoned railroad right-of-way. The park parallels the scenic New River for 39 miles and passes through four counties and the city of Galax. The trail’s gentle slope makes it great for visitors of all ages to hike, bike and ride horseback. Several places in the park provide horse, canoe, and bike rentals, boat launches and gift shops. Fishing is popular, and primitive camping sites dot the trail. The park hosts a horse arena, and guided horseback trips are available. The access points nearest to the Blue Ridge Music Center are at Galax, Cliffview, and Fries. Horse trailer parking is available at Allisonia, Austinville, Cliffview, Dora Junction, Draper, Fries, and Foster Falls.
Grayson Highlands State Park offers scenic views of alpine-like peaks, including Virginia’s two tallest mountains Mount Rogers and Whitetop Mountain, which reach more than 5,500 feet in elevation. More than 100 wild ponies roam Grayson Highlands and the neighboring Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, a portion of the Jefferson National Forest. Facilities include a visitor center, campgrounds, and hiking trails leading to waterfalls and overlooks. Scenic horse trails and a horse camping area with electricity and water hookups, stables, and parking for trailers are available. The park provides year-round access to the Appalachian Trail and the Virginia Highlands Horse Trail. The park also hosts the Wayne C. Henderson Music Festival and Guitar Competition annually on the third Saturday of June.
The Virginia Creeper Trail stretches 34 miles from Abingdon down through the lovely town of Damascus (known as the Heart of the Virginia Creeper) along the Whitetop Laurel River and up to its highest point at Whitetop Station near the North Carolina state line. The Virginia Creeper Trail is open year round to hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding.
Rising abruptly more than 2,000 feet, Pilot Mountain has been a navigational landmark for centuries. The park is a haven for recreational activities, offering miles of trails, camping, climbing, and spectacular scenery. In addition to the mountain summit, the park includes 6.5-mile trail corridor to the Yadkin River section. The extensive trail network is augmented by a bridle trail and a canoe trail.
Visitors can enjoy a wealth of activities at Stewarts Creek Wildlife Management Area, including trout fishing, hiking, horseback riding, birding, primitive camping, and hunting. The wildlife area is about seven miles southeast of Galax, Virginia. To reach the upper parking area, take the Blue Ridge Parkway to milepost 209, and turn south on State Route 715, then left on Route 975 to its end.
Featuring a massive granite dome, Stone Mountain State Park offers camping, hiking, climbing, fishing, picnicking, horseback riding, and more. This park near the Blue Ridge Parkway features more than 18 miles of hiking trails and more than 20 miles of designated trout waters. A campground offers 90 sites, some with utility hookups, and group and backpacking campsites are nearby. Rock climbing is allowed by permit on the towering, 600-foot granite face of the landmark mountain. Visitors can also explore the Hutchinson Homestead, a restored mid-19th century mountain farm.