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Explore Southwestern Virginia's Giles County

By Edited Sep 16, 2015 0 0

Exceptional Recreational Opportunities!

Extreme Outdoor Adventure!

Courthouse Pearlsburg, Virginia
Giles County, Virginia[1] is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you a seek an ideal destination for a romantic getaway or a stellar site for a family vacation, this delightful piece of Southwestern Virginia offers unforgettable recreational opportunities, spectacular scenery, solitude and serenity. Charming small towns are sprinkled across the countryside offering fine food and comfortable accommodations for every budget. From family campsites to quaint bed and breakfast inns, Giles County aims to please.


The Giles County Historical Society reports, “The first evidence of white settlers was found at Glen Lyn with an inscription identifying Mary Porter who was killed by Indians on November 24, 1742. Several years later, in 1745, Adam Harmon, a fur trapper, made the first permanent settlement in the county at Eggleston.” Drawn by natural springs, huge stands of timber, abundant game and fertile soil, Scots, Irish and German immigrants established farms and businesses in the bountiful river valleys.

Formed in 1806, Giles County was named in honor of William Branch Giles. A respected lawyer and politician, Giles various political offices including Governor and served the State of Virginia for more than 40 years.

Visitors wishing to learn more about the fascinating historical heritage and Appalachian culture of Giles County will enjoy visiting the numerous historical sites in the County, many of which are listed in the Virginia and National Register of Historic Places. For a map of points of interest and other information, contact Giles County Historical Society, 208 North Main Street, Pearisburg, Virginia, 24134 or call (540) 921-1050.


Recreational Opportunities

There is always an exciting adventure to be found in Giles County. The Giles County Administration extends a warm invitation, “Grab your fly rod, hiking boots, kayak paddle, running shoes and mountain bike. You are about to experience adventure "Giles Style".

360-square mile Giles County contains 92.4 square miles of the Jefferson National Forest providing a plethora of hiking, mountain bike riding and horseback riding trails. A 37-mile stretch of the New River bisects the county, offering exciting opportunities for swimming, rafting, paddling, kayaking, canoeing and fishing. Giles County is also home to Mountain Lake. The sparkling clear lake is one of only two freshwater lakes in Virginia.


Grab your lantern, rope and rock hammer and go exploring. Giles County presents numerous caverns and caves that attract caving groups from near and far. The limestone caverns, carved by centuries of wind and water, are exquisitely beautiful. The most popular cave in Giles County is New River Cave,[2] also known locally as Tawney’s Cave.


Giles County is a fisherman’s paradise. The Giles County Administration advises, “The New River is regarded as one of the top smallmouth rivers in the country and one of the best overall fishing rivers in Virginia. It supports outstanding populations of just about every major freshwater game fish in the state: smallmouth bass, spotted bass, largemouth bass, rock bass, striped bass, white bass, hybrid striped bass, muskellunge, walleye, black crappie, channel catfish, flathead catfish, yellow perch, redbreast sunfish, and bluegill.” At the end of a delightful day of fishing, there is nothing better than frying up a mess of fresh caught fish over the campfire.


Cascade Falls

Located in the Little Stony Creek Valley, the Cascades Recreation Area invites visitors to experience a 4-mile loop hike to beautiful Cascade Waterfalls. Little Stony Creek, which drains Mountain Lake, tumbles and spins before dramatically plunging 69 feet to the gorge below. The view of the creek as it catapults over Cascade Falls is breathtaking. Bring a picnic and your camera. You will want to enjoy the entire day in this enchanted dell. Kelly Knob Outlook, Angels Rest Overlook, Barney’s Wall, Dismal Falls and Mills Creek Falls offer scenic hikes ranging from an easy walk to a strenuous, invigorating climb.


An international sport, orienteering requires the use of a compass and topographic map to find markers or “controls” that are placed on trees or other stable objects and visible from a limited distance. The sport challenges contenders to locate all the markers on the course as quickly and efficiently as possible. The Mountain Lake Hotel is the location of a course designed and constructed by Mark Lattanzi, a mountain racer, for area orienteering enthusiasts and the visiting public. The Mountain Lake Orienteering Course offers 24 control points divided into 6 individual courses of increasing difficulty. Challenge yourself and your friends while you improve your map reading and compass skills. The course wanders deep into the mountains, some markers are alongside the trail, others buried deep in the woods. All of the intriguing courses are open to the public and begin on the grounds of the Mountain Lake Resort. Maps and complete competitive information are available from the Mountain Lake Resort Recreation office.

Appalachian Trail[3]

Hikers come from near and far to stretch their legs on the challenging 50-mile section of the Appalachian Trail that wanders through Giles County. The Appalachian Trail passes through Petersburg, the county seat. Petersburg is a key resupply point for trekkers headed north or south along the trail. Long distance hikers can have a hot meal, get a shower, do their laundry and stock up on supplies. Rustic hostels such as the Woods Hole Hostel in Pearisburg offer the trail-weary traveler a much need chance to rest.

Festivals And Celebrations

When planning your trip, call for brochures; trail maps and an up-to-date event calendar. Contact Giles County Administration, 315 North Main Street, Pearisburg, Virginia, 24134 or call (540) 921-2525 or (540) 626-4368.

“The Negro Spiritual” – A History And Performance

Join in a joyous celebration of old-time gospel music at the First Baptist Church of Virginia Heights. The church is located at 52 Ballard Street. Presented the 3rd weekend of September, by the First Baptist Church Choir, the resounding musical performance will warm your heart. The event is free and open to the public. Contact the church office for further information.

Mountain Top Trop 10-mile and 5K Trail Run

Celebrate the change of the season and delight in the fall foliage and clear mountain air. The annual September event is a fun challenge for both novice and experienced runners. The breathtaking vistas change constantly as you test your skills against the mountain. Two separate trails across the mountaintops are rated for difficultly. Take your pick. Either choice will be memorable.

Art On The Lawn

Held the second weekend in September, Art On The Lawn presents the works of local artists and craftsmen. Shop for a distinctive mountain treasure or the perfect gift for the folks back home. Fine art and Appalachian crafts will be featured.

Tour De Wolf Creek Cycling Event

Participate in an awesome autumn ride following the banks of Wolf Creek. Starting and finishing at Narrows, Virginia, the ride promises to be a fun event for the entire family. Choose from a 20-mile, 30- mile or 53-mile round trip adventure. The brilliant fall foliage and abundant wildlife along the trail encourage you to stop and explore.

Oktoberfest At Mountain Lake

Sample German beers and local wines with a “Celebration of Fall Toasting”. Indulge your taste buds as you feast on a savory mixture of German sausage and sauerkraut. Appalachian arts and crafts including pottery, baskets, quilts, woodcarvings and musical instruments will be available for purchase from local and regional artists. Oktoberfest is a time to celebrate, dance and sing. The event promises to be a grand time for young and old. For reservations, dates and times call (540) 626-7121.

Pearisburg, Virginia

A great destination for a summer vacation with the family.



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  1. "Welcome." Giles County Virginia. 12/04/2013 <Web >
  2. "Welcome." New River Cave. 12/04/2013 <Web >
  3. "Welcome." Appalachian Trail Conservancy. 12/04/2013 <Web >

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