WanderLove is about reconnecting with what you love. Experience scenic mountains, flowing waters, and all of the winding roads in between when you road trip through Buchanan County, Va.
Located in southwest Virginia, bordered by Kentuck and West Virginia, it’s a quiet spot to get away to while enjoying the majestic landscape around you. Discover the best spots to play, eat, and stay in this guide to Buchanan County.
Go Outside and Play
With miles of trails and waterways to explore, you can find a new adventure every day. Hikers, bikers, and UTV riders can expect a variety of easy, moderate, and hard trails to get outside and test their skills on the Coal Canyon Trail System. This system boasts a total of 114 miles of multi-use trails, plus more than 200 connected miles of trails around the county and surrounding area for multiple full days of fun.
Straddling the Virginia-Kentucky border, you’ll find an additional 25 miles of hiking trails at Breaks Interstate Park. Referred to as the Grand Canyon of the South, take in the wonder of the Russell Fork running through the five-mile gorge. Discover other activities in the park, including mountain bike rentals, geocaching, fishing Laurel Lake, and more.
Stop by the new Southern Gap Visitor Center for interactive wildlife displays and an observation deck with panoramic views of the mountains. Several all-purpose trails start from the parking lot, giving nature lovers the chance to watch for the 220 bird species that call the county home and beautiful views of the night sky. Cabins, RV hookups, and campsites are open for those who want to stay close to the action.
The waters of Buchanan County offer a variety of other recreational opportunities. Head to the Levisa River for some terrific smallmouth bass fishing from the river’s banks or Dismal Creek for stocked rainbow trout. Kayak or whitewater raft sections of the Russell Fork that feature class V rapids on the weekends of October.
Take some time to watch the elk from one of the public wildlife viewing shelters at the visitor center. In 2012, 71 elk were reintroduced to the area after an almost 100-year absence. That population has expanded to several hundred elk today. The best time to visit is sunrise or sunset when these magnificent animals are the most active.
Head into the town of Grundy at the end of the day for a variety of delicious dining options. Sit down for a home cooked meal or grab food to go for a scenic picnic.
Visit the LOVEwork at Southern Gap Outdoor Adventures made with logs and galvanized tin to reflect the county’s Appalachian heritage and coal mining history. Set against a mountainous backdrop, it’s the perfect spot to get a photo to remember your trip.
Relax and Unwind
Choose from a wide variety of lodging options to complete your stay. From rustic cabins and primitive campsites to hotels and motels, you’ll find something that fits your adventure and your budget.
Experience WanderLove for yourself when you visit “Wild” Buchanan County, Va.
Please check local guidelines and regulations before making plans to get outside. Remember to practice social distancing guidelines, wear a mask, and respect others’ health when outside.
Photos courtesy of Buchanan County Tourism