Named in honor of Richard Bland, a respected Revolutionary War patriot, the county is situated adjacent to the West Virginia border. During the Civil War, loyalties of the local residents were bitterly divided. For parties seeking to trace their ancestral roots, the county has 26 separate cemeteries, many with records dating back to the Civil War era. Throughout the county, from humble farmhouses to magnificent mansions, historic plaques tell the stories of each structure’s significance in the rich historical tapestry of the area. The Junius Maracellus Updyke farmhouse located near Point Pleasant, Virginia is but one of the many sites that capture a prominent spot in the National Registry of Historic Places. For more information and for assistance in mapping your journey through the past, contact the Bland County Historical Society, 19 Courthouse Square, PO Box 416, Bland, Virginia 24315 or call (276) 688-0088.
Hiking and Biking Trails
Follow the footsteps of the Eastern Woodland Indian Tribes, the brave explorers that opened the frontier and the steadfast settlers that settled the fertile river valley regions.
The Appalachian Trail is a timeworn 2,160-mile pathway that goes from Katahdin, Maine to Springer Mountain, Georgia. As the Appalachian Trail passes through Bland County, Virginia is wanders across the mountain ridgelines within the Jefferson National Forest. The Bland County section of the Appalachian covers approximately 70 miles of trail from Virginia State Route 670 starting at the south fork of the Holston River north to U.S Highway 52 near Bland. The trail includes 6 shelters and the picturesque observation point on Chestnut Ridge that overlooks Burkes Garden. Local volunteers maintain the extensive trail system. For trail conditions, information and detailed maps of the Appalachian Trail and the spider web of other adventurous trails that crisscross Bland County, contact Piedmont Appalachian Trail Hikers, PO Box 4423, Greensboro, North Carolina, 27404.
Chesnutt Knob is a bit of a challenge even for the most experienced mountain trekker. In places, the trail is steep and narrow. The 9-mile hike takes one to heights of 4,400 feet. However, efforts are rewarded with stellar scenery that includes mountain crests, roaring rivers, abundant wildlife, solitude and serenity.
Trail Boss Trail
The moderately rated Trail Boss Trail combines with a short section of the Appalachian Trail to form an elongated 4-mile loop. Vegetation along the trail varies from dense stands of laurel and blueberries to the dense forest of Brushy Mountain’s high ridges. Part of the trail includes a walk alongside a raging, boulder strew stream and crossing a bridge to ford the stream. For those that wish to extend their hike, The Trail Boss Trail connects to the High Water Trail, adding an extra 2.5 miles to the walk. To access the trail, from Bland take Route 52 west for 3.25 miles to Route 615. From that point, travel north for 2.75 miles to the trailhead.
Wolf Creek Indian Village And Museum
For travelers seeking to learn more about the lives of the Eastern Woodland Indian Tribes that inhabited this pristine wilderness 500 years ago, the Wolf Creek Indian Village and Museum offers an exacting replicated village. The style and dimensions are a duplication of an actual archeological evacuation commonly known as the Brown-Johnson site. Although the majority of the impressive collection of artifacts is representative of the Eastern Woodland Indian Tribes, artifacts from other tribes throughout the United States are also on prominent display. Located just off of Interstate 77 near Bastian, Virginia, Wolf Creek provides ample picnic shelters, a gift shop, a network of hiking trails and interpretive guides. For hours and driving directions, contact Wolf Creek Indian Village and Museum, 6394 North Scenic Highway, Bastian, Virginia, 24314 or call the Museum office at (276) 688-3438.
Bland County Fair And Horse Show
Held the last weekend of July, the annual Bland County Fair features livestock and agricultural exhibits, a parade, contests and competitions. The fair offers thrilling midway rides, delicious food, memorable music performances, Appalachian arts and crafts and much, much more. Horse events include judging, classes and seminars. Even if you don’t ride, it is always fun to watch. Bring the whole family and enjoy the fun. The County Fair is held at the fairgrounds in Bland, Virginia. Call (276) 688-4622 for complete information.
Bland County Festival Of Leaves
Centered around activities hosted at the Fairgrounds and on the Courthouse lawn, the Bland County Festival of Leaves celebrates the changing of the seasons. Held in early October, the event provides mountain music including bluegrass and gospel groups: games, tasty treats, arts and crafts and lively entertainment make this festival a popular destination for a fun family weekend getaway. For dates and other information contact the Bland County Fairgrounds, 133 Fairground Street, Bland, Virginia 24315 or call (276) 688-4622.
Bland County Rivers And Streams
Canoeing, kayaking, river rafting, tubing and swimming are popular summer activities in Bland County. Locals suggest the best fishing holes are to be found at Big Walker Creek, Bluestone River, Hunting Creek Camp, Laurel Creek, Little Wolf Cree, No Business Creek, Link Creek and the north fork of the Holston River that has its headwaters in Bland County, Virginia.