The 566 acres that now comprise the Matthews State Forest was originally settled by the Nuckolls family in the late 1700s. The Nuckolls family cemetery sits on a ridge overlooking the homestead. Judge Jack Matthews purchased the property from a Nuckolls heir in 1946. The Judge enjoyed all types of wildlife, gardening, what he called “old-time apples” and planting trees of any kind. One of his passions was for the American chestnut, and he had a strong desire to see its return.
Parks & Forests
Walk a trail. Cycle downhill or up. Kayak or raft over rapids or float on still waters in our rivers, streams and lakes. Camp, or stay in a cabin, or maybe you'd prefer a bed-and-breakfast with all the amenities. No matter where you stay, we guarantee you'll wake up to some of the best outdoor recreation anywhere.
A part of and just off the Big Walker National Scenic Byway, this is a recreation area of the Jefferson National Forest.
Cascade Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Virginia and possibly on the entire East Coast. Little Stony Creek falls over a vertical cliff in several different streams. Several streams cascade a couple times on the way down while others fall the whole distance of the falls. The 69 ft. falls crash into a large pool surrounded by two hundred foot cliff walls from which large ice formations hang in the winter. The scene is both breathtaking and peaceful as the falls combine both power and beauty.
The first great gateway to the west, Cumberland Gap is a mountain pass that was used by wildlife, Native Indian tribes, and later by settlers moving west. Daniel Boone was hired to blaze a trail beginning in Southwest Virginia through Cumberland Gap known as the Wilderness Road. It became the route westward for pioneers who travelled west through the mountains into the wilderness of Kentucky. Both the North and the South vied for control of the Cumberland Gap during the Civil War. Today the park consists of approximately 20,000 acres and 70 miles of hiking trails.
The high country contains over 25,000 acres of the highest lands in Virginia with Little Pinnacle reaching 5,089 feet above sea level. The Mount Rogers NRA manages approximately 20,000 acres providing ample outdoor opportunities for hikers and wildlife watchers. There are over 400 miles of designated trails on the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. Trails in the high country as well as the Virginia Creeper and Appalachian Trail are popular destinations, particularly on weekends. Please be sure you use only those trails open to your particular type of travel.