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.
Rivers & Forests
Towering cliffs, sheer limestone ledges, and waterfalls are but a few of the spectacular features of this preserve. Located near the confluence of the Clinch River and Big Cedar Creek, the topography of Pinnacle NAP has been modified by the forces of weather, water, and time to create this dramatic landscape. Towering above Big Cedar Creek is an impressive rock formation, the Pinnacle, from which the area derives its name. Cut from dolomite, the Pinnacle rises 400 feet above Big Cedar Creek. The Preserve's unique habitats support at least nine rare species and two rare natural communities.
Glen Alton has beautiful trails and fishing access in Jefferson National Forest in Giles County.
Peaceful and easy to access, Dismal Falls is located in Bland County in Jefferson National Forest.
Estonoa began as a wet cornfield in the 1900s, when the owner dammed a stream and turned it into a swimming hole. Beginning in spring 1999, students at St. Paul High School began studying the lake's history and present condition.With the help of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the students began protecting and conserving Wetlands Estonoa. The Town of St. Paul partners in the preservation and protection of this natural treasure. Today, the project includes a learning center, bridges, picnic tables and a floating dock.
This spectacular area is recognized as a National Recreational Trail due to the great biological diversity, the historical significance, and the challenging nature of the 10.8-mile loop trail. Located adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway, this area features 60 species of native trees, 25 species of delicate ferns, and over 200 species of wildflowers. It also provides insight into a community of 30 families that carved out a living among these 4,000 acres over a century ago. In the springtime to early summer, nearly 200 varieties of wildflowers are visible along the trail area.