The mountains of Southwest Virginia are calling.
Smyth County, VA
Credit: Visit Smyth County, Virginia

Set out on a drive along I-81 in Southwest Virginia, and you'll find yourself on curving mountain roads surrounded by deep forests of spruces and oaks. You'll also sense that you're getting closer and closer to mountain adventure. That's because Smyth County, Virginia, is a destination for outdoor recreation, including hiking, camping, mountain biking, fly fishing, and much more. Do you hear it? The mountains of Southwest Virginia are calling.

Explore State Parks

State parks are favorite stops in and around Smyth County. One of the best loved is Hungry Mother State Park, which has verdant forests and a picturesque lake that stretches over 100 acres. Nearby Grayson Highlands State Park is another a great spot for adventuring in nature. There, you'll find a herd of roaming wild ponies meandering the landscape. Don't miss your opportunity to explore Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, where you can walk part of the Virginia Creeper Trail, a rail-to-recreation trail that runs over 30 miles between Abingdon and Whitetop, Virginia. Virginia's highest peaks are nearby, including Mount Rogers, the highest at 5,728 feet, and Whitetop Mountain, which comes in second at 5,518 feet.

Dive into Outdoor Activities

In addition to hiking the trails running through the parks that surround Smyth County, there are abundant opportunities for fly fishing in the clear mountain streams where wild trout congregate. Check out the seasonal swimming beach at Hungry Mother State Park, and don a suit to go for a bracing dip in the summer months. It's also a popular spot for canoeing and paddle boarding.

Visitors can also go waterfall watching since several area trails lead to deluges. Try Rowland Creek Falls or Cabin Creek Falls for a challenging hike, or drive out to Big Tumbling Creek via scenic byways through the forests, glimpsing mountain vistas as you go. If you visit in summer, you may catch Smyth County during rhododendron season, which you can enjoy on a hike, nature walk, or drive along the Mount Rogers Scenic Byway. If your interests bend toward the ecological, you can book into a guided salamander hike to Elk Garden with White Blaze Outdoors.

Smyth County, VA
Credit: Visit Smyth County, Virginia

Bunk in Nature

There's a lodging option for everyone in Smyth County. Area hotels and historic inns always offer up a warm welcome, but there are also cozy cabins available to rent. In Hungry Mother State Park, you can book a stay at one of the original log cabins constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps when the park opened in the 1930s.

Pack your hiking boots and fishing rod, and set out for adventure. Stay for the weekend, and you'll be tempted to make a permanent move into the green hills of Southwest Virginia.  For more information and to plan your trip to Smyth County, check out

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What outdoor adventures do your family look forward to in spring and summer? What nearby state parks call your name?