Wytheville, Virginia, is unique, not only in name. It is true, no other town in the world shares this name but there is more that’s special about this Southwest Virginia town and its surroundings. One look around and it’s clear the beautiful landscapes, protected lands and pristine waters, along with an abundance of trails and public access, make it an outdoor lover’s dream. It’s a perfect spot for fishing or floating, hiking or biking or camping out and just taking it all in.
Located at the crossroads of two major interstates (I-77 and I-81), Wytheville has long been a popular stop for travelers passing through, but more and more visitors are now finding additional reasons to stay and explore! Beyond the interstates, the trails, waterways and public lands offer a world of access to outdoor adventure. Wytheville and Wythe County have an amazing slate of premier hiking trails and mountain biking areas along with trophy trout fishing and much more.
Just outside the city limits, Crystal Springs Recreation Area (723 Pump Hollow Road, Wytheville, Virginia 24382) consists of 1,800 acres of preserved land. Home to a natural reservoir, the area includes three trails, two loops and one connector. The landscape includes ridge tops with views of Sand Mountain or creekside trails leading to the reservoir. In 2019, a mountain bike terrain park, designed for beginners and experts alike, was added on the property. Designed with beginners and children in mind, the terrain park features novice obstacles, including balance beams, domes and launch and drop ramps, as well as skilled features for the more advanced trail bikers. There are also picnic areas and a few campsites here.
Walker Mountain Trail (8711 Stoney Fork Road, Wytheville, Virginia 24382) is a 15.5-mile trail that starts at the Big Walker Lookout Tower and follows the mountain ridge. Once a part of the Appalachian Trail, it now connects to the Crawfish Trail about a mile from the Appalachian Trail in Crawfish Valley. The trail is rated as difficult and primarily used for hiking, horses and mountain biking.
The New River Trail is nearly 58 miles long and is one of America’s premier rails-to-trails routes. The trail, which has been designated an official National Recreation Trail by the U.S. Department of the Interior, is also a state park which runs through Wythe and three other Southwest Virginia counties. Foster Falls, the New River Trail State Park headquarters, is located about midway along the trail and is a popular starting point.
The park’s Foster Falls Boat and Bike Livery (116 Orphanage Drive, Max Meadows, Virginia 24360) rents bikes and provides shuttle service and also offers guided horse rides. The livery rents canoes, kayaks and float tubes, for those who want to explore the trail from the water. And of course, the park has numerous opportunities for water access and fishing along its 32 miles of waterway.
Those waters and the many others in the region hold a bounty sought by many who love to cast a line. Brown, Brook and Rainbow Trout can all be found here. There are perfect spots for novices and family outings but among experienced anglers from near and far, this is known to be trophy trout country. There are plenty of fishing lodges and outfitters ready to share their prime spots on the area’s many waterways and lakes.
For those who chose to sleep under the stars, area campgrounds and RV parks offer all levels of outdoor enjoyment, from primitive sites to full hook-ups, and all give visitors access to the beautiful Southwest Virginia outdoors, trails and nearby waterways.
If you go: Be sure to schedule time to enjoy historic downtown Wytheville. Local breweries, unique eateries and lots of historic sites (historic walking tour suggested) combine to give today’s visitors an eclectic mix–modern fun and intriguing history combined.
Where to stay: There are unique lodging options in Wytheville. The Bolling Wilson Hotel (170 East Main Street, Wytheville, Virginia 24382) is part of the Ascend Hotel Collection and offers 30 luxurious guest rooms, Graze On Main restaurant and a rooftop lounge. Nearby, the Trinkle Mansion Bed and Breakfast (525 West Main Street, Wytheville, Virginia 24382), was named in the top 10 in the country in 2019 Trip Advisor reviews. This beautiful historic home features four guest rooms and a garden cottage. For a more rustic stay, one of the many nearby cabin and cottage rentals is the perfect solution but Wytheville has a full range of hotel properties in every price range. For a full list of local lodging options, check the Visit Wytheville lodging pages.
Photos courtesy of Visit Wytheville