The Alleghany Highlands Blueway

Most people know that the Alleghany Highlands of Virginia is a rural region in the mountains of Virginia between the Blue Ridge and Allegheny ranges. With nearly 50% of the land owned by the national forest service, the Alleghany Highlands has breathtaking natural beauty and lots of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. The scenery, the convenient location and the charming towns have lured visitors to the area for many years. In 2013, the Alleghany Highlands Blueway launched giving outdoor lovers even more reasons to love the Alleghany Highlands.



The Alleghany Highlands Blueway is a unique attraction that offers a lot of great opportunities for water recreation for people of all ages and abilities. The blueway consists of not just one, but two wonderful rivers and two scenic lakes surrounded by mountains. Paddlers who want to ride some white water can usually find it on the Jackson River. Others who want a leisurely float or one that is suitable for families will enjoy the Cowpasture River. Douthat Lake and Lake Moomaw are the other two paddling opportunities. On these lakes, you can explore quiet coves and undeveloped shoreline and simply enjoy the views and watch the wildlife on shore. Camping is available near both lakes.


With all that beautiful lakeshore and roughly 40 miles of river, the Alleghany Highlands Blueway offers lots of paddling fun. But that’s not the full story. The fishing in the region is world class. Largemouth and smallmouth bass, sunfish, catfish and crappie are abundant. Some sections of the Jackson River draw fly fishermen from all over.

Trip planning advice, maps and FAQs about the blueway can be found at

The secret is out. With so many opportunities for outdoor recreation on the water, trails and all across the region, people have discovered that the Alleghany Highlands is the perfect place to go for outdoor fun.



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