Traversing the mountains of Bath is an awakening, of sorts. Surrounded by fertile forests replete with native flora and fauna, you eventually recognize the obvious: This place is a slice of heaven.
The County of Bath is free of modern congestion; there are no strip malls or stoplights here. Rather, there is an abundance of unspoiled, sweeping views. Every road is scenic but several are officially designated as such. Traveling the Scenic Road of Route 220 delivers you to Bath from points north and south while the Virginia Byway of Route 39 ushers in travelers from the east and west. These roadways intersect in the county seat of Warm Springs, so named for the natural, warm, mineral springs found within the county.
In contrast to the mention of warm springs are the crisp rivers and lakes. The clear mountain waters are popular among locals and visitors as they’re ideal for fishing and paddling. In fact, a portion of the Jackson River is qualified for Virginia Scenic River status, and both Back Creek and Cowpasture River are potential Virginia Scenic Rivers. This means the water quality, vegetation, streambed, character of the fishery, and landscape are appreciable and worth protecting.
Bath County’s lakes – Douthat and Moomaw – are excellent for fishing and watersports. Lake Moomaw is a 2,530-acre man-made lake at the southern end of the Jackson River offering two-story fishing for both cold and warm water species. There are no boating restrictions at Lake Moomaw. Six U.S. Forest Service campgrounds are available, including the primitive hike-in or boat-in Greenwood Point sites.
Fifty-acre Douthat Lake is within Douthat State Park. It too offers abundant fishing. Boats sans gasoline engines are welcome. Expect to haul in trout, bass, catfish, and plenty more at either lake. Camping, cabins, hiking, and other recreational opportunities are offered at Douthat, one of the first parks in the Virginia State Parks collection.
Not to sound cliché, but the air in the County of Bath is mountain fresh. Hike hard, pedal hard, and take a deep breath without fear of inhaling pollution. Simply put, there are neither crowds nor big industrial complexes to disturb the centuries-old natural beauty and way of life in Bath. It’s an exceptional destination for road trips and getaways, and the fall season tends to be one of the most spectacular times for just that.
Plan your getaway at DiscoverBath.com to create your own Made in Bath County outdoor experiences.