Appomattox-Buckingham State Forest

The Appomattox-Buckingham State Forest is open from dawn to dusk and offers opportunities for hiking, wildlife watching, biking, horseback riding, hunting, fishing, geocaching, and picnicking. Visitors are asked to adopt a “leave no trace” ethic when visiting the forest, as there are no restrooms or trashcans.

Holliday Lake State Park, operated by the Department of Conservation and Recreation, is located within the forest and provides a good starting point for visiting the State Forest. The Carter-Taylor multiple use trail begins in the park and makes a 12-mile loop through the forest. Hikers may also use the network of forest roads and trails that traverse the forest.

Use Permit | Parking/Hours | Recreation | Map | Regulations

Forest Features

  • Trails: 20.4 miles | ABSF Trail Map (PDF, 2 pp., 1MB, Nov. 2011)
  • Vehicle Roads: 22 miles
  • Gated Vehicle Trails: 92.5 miles
  • Ponds/Lakes: 2
  • Hunting/Fishing: Yes
  • Picnic Shelter: 2
  • Restrooms: No
  • Lat-Long: 37° 26’ 18.6”, 78° 39’ 52.3”
  • Read and download our brochure on the Appomattox-Buckingham State Forest and all of the Virginia State Forest .

Forest History

The land that now comprises Virginia’s largest State Forest, Appomattox-Buckingham, had a long history of farming. Evidence of the land’s former inhabitants can be seen in the cemeteries and old homesteads scattered throughout the forest. By the mid-1930s, much of this land had become unproductive and was highly eroded. At that time, the federal government began purchasing marginal farmland under the Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act, enacted to help conserve and restore the health of the land. Much of this purchased land was soon leased to the state. In 1954, the federal government deeded land to the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the Appomattox-Buckingham State Forest was born. Under VDOF's management, the forest grew to its present 19,808 acres, spanning parts of Appomattox and Buckingham counties.

Forest Management

Sustainable timber production is one management goal on the Appomattox-Buckingham State Forest. Wildlife habitat, recreation and watershed protection are all compatible with sound timber management strategies. The management activities on the forest demonstrate good forestry and conservation practices and serve as a site for applied research in forestry.

During the 1930s, much of today’s forest was open farmland. When farming ceased, native pines took over the abandoned fields. Actively managing the forest resulted in diverse forests containing a variety of tree species of varied ages. Biodiversity has significantly improved due to the application of scientific forest management practices and good conservation practices.

The Appomattox-Buckingham State Forest will continue to be managed to develop diverse timber stands that support biodiversity, as a demonstration of scientific forest management, to protect water quality, provide forest diversity for wildlife, and opportunities for outdoor recreation.

State Forest Use Permit

A State Forest Use Permit may be required for visitors to the state forests.

Parking/Hours of Operation

  • Open daily from dawn to dusk.
  • Parking is available at the Forestry Center and Holliday Lake State Park
  • Appomattox-Buckingham State Forest, 1685 Francisco Road, Dillwyn, Virginia 23936
  • Phone: 434.983.2175.
  • Email the forest personnel.
  • Holliday Lake State Park, Route 2 Box 622, Appomattox, Virginia 24522, 434.248.6308

Recreation Opportunities

All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs)

Motorized vehicles of any type are prohibited on all of the state forests.

Driving Tour

Learn about forestry from the comfort of your car! Listen to our self-guided driving tour as it takes you through 17 different locations on the Appomattox-Buckingham State Forest, revealing what's going on "behind the scenes."

  • Driving Tour: Appomattox-Buckingham State Forest (English; MP3 format; 27MB)
  • GPS Coordinates for the Driving Tour
  • Map of the Driving Tour (English; PDF format)
  • Script of the Driving Tour. Print out the script and follow along - not while driving, of course!


Holliday Creek Trout Fishing Area information. Fishing regulations at Holliday Creek: Only artificial lures with single hook may be used in these waters between October 1st and May 31st. During this time all trout must be immediately released unharmed. General statewide fishing regulations apply between June 1st and September 30th.


The Virginia Department of Forestry has a geocache on the Appomattox-Buckingham State Forest, along the Covington Forest Road. The title of the cache is “Farming, Forestry, and Bygone Days,” and it is considered a multiple or series geocache. Finding the first cache will lead you to the next, until you reach the traditional item exchange cache at the end. Along the way, you will learn about the history of land use in the area, from pages you will find in the caches.

The first waypoint for “Farming, Forestry, and Bygone Days” is N 37° 24.421 W 078° 45.096

For more information about this cache, and a clue to get you started, visit Geocaching - The Official Global GPS Cache Hunt Site.


There is one primary trail at Appomattox-Buckingham State Forest that is open for walking, hiking, horses, and mountain bikes. All motorized vehicles are prohibited on state forest lands. Trails are marked by blue blazes painted on trees approximately every 150-200 yards. The forest also has various gated trails and forest roads that can be used.

Carter Taylor Trail - Wildlife abounds in the ever-changing oak-hickory and pine forest. Deer, turkey, and even black bear make their homes in these woods.

Travelers hike through harvested areas that have either been replanted or protected so that nature is allowed to take its course.

  • Foot travel, non-motorized bikes, and horses are permitted.

Trail Rules

  • Be courteous to other trail users. Hikers should yield the right of way to equestrians. Bikers should yield to hikers and riders on horesback.
  • Please help us keep the trail clean.
  • Stay on the marked trail at all times.
  • Be extremely cautious at road crossings. Stop, look and listen, and then proceed only if you are sure it is safe to do so.

Horseback Riding

Coggins Test Certificates must be available for each horse on state lands. We recommend that equestrians dismount and lead their horse over bridges and across streams. A small corral with a water trough is located near the parking areas.


Hunting is permitted on the Appomattox-Buckingham State Forest. All persons, except those legally exempt under Virginia law, must carry a valid Virginia hunting license AND a State Forest Use Permit to hunt or trap on the forest.

State Forest hunting regulations and seasons follow those of the county in which the State Forest is located. Check the Virginia Department Of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) Hunting & Trapping Regulations and Information brochure or their website for special restrictions on State Forest lands, such as Either-Sex Deer Hunting Days.

Hunting is allowed on most of the forest. However, hunting is prohibited in the following safety zones (surrounding areas of):


Permanent structures are set up with Holliday Lake State Park. Two shelters available on the forest. They are located at:

  • Woolridge Wayside on the west end of Route 640.
  • Lee Wayside on Richmond Forest Road.

Map and Directions

View Larger Map

State Forest Regulations

To ensure your safety, read our complete state forest regulations before visiting a forest.

  • No removal of any tree, plant or mineral.
  • Remove all trash.
  • Motorized vehicles of any type are prohibited
  • No camping or public display of alcohol.
  • No fireworks, campfires or open air fires of any type.
  • Lawful firearms are permitted.
  • Hunting is permitted with a valid State Forest Use Permit and valid hunting license in accordance with state hunting regulations. ABSF hunting map.
  • Fishing in designated areas only in accordance with state fishing regulations.
  • Gasoline motorized boats are not permitted.
  • Vehicular traffic on established roads only; not permitted on gated roads.

Last modified: Wednesday, 27-Jan-2016 13:31:04 EST