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Mountain Lake Wilderness – Jefferson National Forest, VA

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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
9.3 mls N/A
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:
4 hours with 30 minutes of breaks
1,560 ft
Jefferson National Forest
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Pearisburg, VA Weather Forecast
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Park on Mountain Lake Rd. VA 613. 37.39084, -80.50795

By Trail Contributor: Zach Robbins

Located in the Eastern Divide Ranger District of Jefferson National Forest, the Mountain Lake Wilderness is the largest wilderness entity in Virginia outside of Shenandoah National Park. The wilderness gets its name from Mountain Lake, the only naturally occurring mountain lake in Virginia and all of the southern Appalachian Mountains. However, the wilderness itself is located along the ridges and mountains above the lake and the Mountain Lake Conservancy property. Situated among 4,000 foot ridgelines of the Allegheny Mountains in northern Giles County, this wilderness features multiple outstanding viewpoints and unique upland bogs. Starting at the southern end of the wilderness you will travel through bogs mixed with saplings and grasses on the way to War Spur Overlook before heading north to connect with the Appalachian Trail. While on the AT you’ll pass by more upland bogs and an old-growth red spruce bog as a prelude for the expansive views from Wind Rock. There are many possible campsites along the Potts Mountain Trail, or you can call it a day by completing the loop. This is one of those rare hikes where the forest is just as interesting as the views.

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