Virginia's State Forests
Read and download our brochure about all of the Virginia State Forests (PDF, 2 pp., 2.2MB, July 2012).
Appomattox-Buckingham State Forest
This 19,808-acre forest is located in the piedmont of Virginia. Learn more about the Appomattox-Buckingham State Forest > > >
- Forest tree types: oak-hickory and pine forest.
- Primary Use: a geocache, hiking.
- Hunting: Permitted on the Appomattox-Buckingham State Forest.
Big Woods State Forest
This 2,200-acre forest was acquired in 2010. Learn more about the Big Woods State Forest > > >
- Hunting: Permitted on the Big Woods State Forest.
Bourassa State Forest
- Forest tree types: mixed hardwood forest.
- Primary Use: timber production, an outdoor laboratory, wildlife sanctuary and watershed protection.
- Hunting: Prohibited.
- Lat-Long: 37° 4’ 45.5”, 79° 31’ 26.5”
Browne State Forest
- Hunting: Permitted on the Browne State Forest - Hunter's Map.
Channels State Forest
Channels State Forest is located in Washington and Russell Counties, 15 miles north of Abingdon. The Channels Natural Area Preserve is located on the crest of the mountain and includes The Great Channels of Virginia sandstone outcrop. Read and download our brochure on the Channels State Forest (English; PDF format).
- Hunting: Permitted on the Channels State Forest.
- Lat-Long: 36° 49’ 40.9”, 81° 57’ 43.5 ”
Chilton Woods State Forest
Chilton Woods State Forest is the first State Forest located on the Northern Neck of the Commonwealth of Virginia. In July of 2000, Mrs. Catherine B. Chilton conveyed the 397-acre tract, known as Chilton Woods, to the Virginia Department of Forestry. Chilton Woods State Forest became the 15th State Forest under the stewardship of the VDOF. It is located in Lancaster County. On Virginia Highway 3, travel east from Warsaw approximately 15-20 miles. After entering Lancaster County, turn left onto Rt. 602 (Field Trial Road) and follow for approximately 1-2 miles. Pass the sign for Chilton Woods State Forest on your right, under the power line right-of-way, and drive into the gravel parking lot on the right.
The property is entirely in forestland of various aged loblolly pine stands, which were nurtured and maintained by the Chilton family for many decades. The VDOF assisted Mr. and Mrs. Chilton when they took possession of the property in 1954. The Chilton family managed Chilton Woods State Forest under the guidance of professional foresters, involving both the VDOF and private consultants. William “Ran” Chilton, who was a heating oil and fuel dealer and president of the Bank of Lancaster, did not cut any timber until it was fully mature and then was quick to reforest the land in pines. But, as much as Mr. Chilton managed the woods for income, he was also drawn by the beauty of the land and its wildlife.
Mr. Chilton died in 1973. His will left the forest to his wife in a lifetime trust with the provision that it be transferred at her death to the state and managed for timber and wildlife. Mrs. Chilton thought better of this and deeded the tract of Lancaster County land to the state to ensure her late husband’s wish was fulfilled for the Virginia Department of Forestry to receive it.
Streams in the woods drain into Lancaster Creek and Corrotoman River, both tributaries of the Rappahannock River. The Rappahannock empties into the Chesapeake Bay.
By integrating best management practices on this land, we're ensuring that this forest is helping keep the Chesapeake Bay alive and productive.
- Forest tree types: The forest is primarily a loblolly pine plantation with some areas of mixed pine and hardwood, including southern red oak, white oak, black oak, tulip poplar, sweet gum, and red maple.
- Flora: A rare wildflower, the showy orchis, is a unique feature of the forest. Pink lady slippers are also common and best seen in the first week of May.
- Primary Use: bird watching, demonstration of timber-growing techniques and conservation practices to protect wildlife habitats and streams during logging.
- Hunting: Archery and Black Powder only
- Parking and access: A small parking area can hold about five cars. No trails exist on the forest.
- Lat-Long: 37° 49’ 25.3”, 76° 32’ 7”
- Forest Map.
Conway Robinson State Forest
This 444-acre forest is a mixture of pine and old growth hardwood stands in Prince William County, adjacent to Manassas National Battlefield and Route 29. Read and download our brochure on the Conway Robinson State Forest (PDF, 2 pp., 2.2MB, July 2012). Learn more about the Conway Robinson State Forest > > >
- Forest tree types: Old growth hardwoods dominate this forest.
- Hunting: Permitted, by lottery permit only. Read the Hunter Protocol if you were selected to hunt.
- Parking and access: The forest has a small parking area adjacent to Route 29-S which can accommodate approximately 10 cars. Additional parking is permitted along the entrance/exit road unless it restricts through traffic.
- Map: Trail map for the forest (English; PDF format)
- Lat-Long: 38° 48’ 12.6”, 77° 35’ 16.7”
Crawfords State Forest
The 258-acre forest is located in New Kent County, near Providence Forge. Crawfords Tract was willed to trustees by Bessie R. Bocock for the purpose of establishing and maintaining a bird and game sanctuary and nature trail. Mrs. Bocock had expectations that the Crawford’s tract would serve as the eternal connection between her late parents, Robert Emmet Richardson and Julia Wickham Harrison Richardson, and the residents, both present and future, of New Kent County. Learn more about the Crawfords State Forest.
- Forest tree types: Primarily loblolly pine and mixed hardwoods, with very large and very old bald cypress and tupelo on the property that covers the Chickahominey Swamp.
- Flora/Fauna: Bird and wildlife sanctuary.
- Primary Use: Demonstration and education for forestry, ecology, history, forestry research, hiking, and canoeing.
- Hunting: Prohibited.
- Parking and access: A small grass parking lot 1.75 miles west of Providence Forge on the south side of Rt. 60, puts you at the only trailhead on the property.
- Lat-Long: North 37° 27’ 12.6", West 77° 4’ 48.6" | 37.4535 -77.080167
Cumberland State Forest
This 16,222-acre forest is located in the piedmont of Virginia. Read and download our brochure on the Cumberland State Forest (PDF, 2 pp., 2.2MB, July 2012). Take me to the Cumberland State Forest > > >
- Hunting: Permitted on the Cumberland State Forest.
Devil's Backbone State Forest
This 558-acre forest, located in Shenandoah County, was a gift to the commonwealth and is used for education and demonstration, research, timber production, watershed protection and a wildlife sanctuary. The main research focus has been for the restoration of the American Chestnut. Learn more about the Devil's Backbone State Forest.
- Forest tree types: The Devil's Backbone State Forest tree species include: white oak, chestnut oak, scarlet oak, black oak, Virginia pine, red maple, tablemountain pine, black gum, pignut hickory and black birch. The other distinct forest cover is a Southern Pine forest containing mainly loblolly pine and Virginia pine.
- Hunting: Not permitted on the forest.
- Horseback Riding: Not permitted on the forest.
- Parking and access: The Devil's Backbone State Forest is not open to the public.
Dragon Run State Forest
The 9,562-acre Dragon Run State Forest is located in King and Queen County, 15 miles north of West Point, and 20 miles southeast of Tappahannock. The property protects a significant water resource (Dragon Run Swamp) while allowing for traditional forest management activities.
As one of the Chesapeake Bay watershed’s most pristine waterways, the Dragon Run flows forty miles, northwest to southeast, along and through non-tidal and tidal bald cypress swamp situated in portions of Essex, King and Queen, Middlesex, and Gloucester counties that drain into the Piankatank River and out into the Chesapeake Bay. The Dragon Run plays a central role in the Middle Peninsula’s culture and identity. Natural resources - forestry and farming - have long been the bedrock of the watershed’s economy. These land uses, together with extensive swamps and unique natural resources, are the main reason that the Dragon Run remains wild and secluded.
The Dragon Run contains the northernmost example of the Baldcypress-Tupelo Swamp natural community in Virginia. Moreover, 25 rare species and 5 rare natural communities are found there. Based on his investigations of the watershed’s aquatic communities, one researcher observed that the Dragon Run is a “100 year old time capsule” resembling coastal plain streams of the Chesapeake Bay region at the turn of the 20th century. Learn more about the Dragon Run State Forest.
- Hunting: Permitted on the Dragon Run State Forest.
- Lat-Long: 37° 42’ 34.8”, 76° 48’ 26.9”
- Map: Download a map of the Dragon Run State Forest (English; PDF format)
Hawks State Forest
Located in Carroll County, this 121-acre area is used to demonstrate and manage forestry species indigenous to Southwest Virginia. Hawks State Forest offers watershed protection and wildlife habitat. Learn more about the Hawks State Forest.
- Hunting: Prohibited.
Lesesne State Forest
This 422-acre forest is located in the piedmont of Virginia. Take me to the Lesesne State Forest > > >
- Hunting: Archery and Black Powder deer hunting are permitted on the Lesesne State Forest.
- 2014/2015 Season:
October 4 – November 14: Early Archery Season
November 30 – January 3: Late Archery Season
November 1 – November 14: Early Muzzle Loader Season
December 13 – January 3: Late Muzzle Loader Season
- Lat-Long: 37° 50’ 9.3”, 78° 58’ 14.6”
Matthews State Forest
This 566-acre forest is located in Grayson County near the town of Galax. Read and download our brochure on the Matthews State Forest (PDF, 2 pp., 2.2MB, July 2012). Take me to the Matthews State Forest >>
- Hunting: Bow-hunting permitted on the Matthews State Forest in designated areas. Handicapped hunts on the forest mean not all dates are available for hunting.
- Lat-Long: 36° 38’ 34”, 80° 57’ 27.4”
Moore's Creek State Forest
This 2,353-acre forest is in Rockbridge County. Purchased from the City of Lexington, the tract features mountain vistas, scenic trails and abundant wildlife, including black bear, wild turkey and a host of migratory songbirds.
Because of the steep terrain and limited access, timber harvesting is not part of the nascent management plan at this time. But for those people who are willing to hike the moderate-to-difficult 2 1/4 –mile trail, they will be rewarded with some excellent brook trout fishing.
The City of Lexington owns the reservoir and associated dam. To fish in the reservoir, anglers pay $1 for a daily fishing pass instead of having to purchase an annual State Forest Use Permit – required for fishing on other State Forests – for $16 per year.
Access to the trailhead is via US Forest Service road off State Route 612 in southwestern Rockbridge County. A permit/stamp from the Forest Service is required when accessing the property and parking a vehicle. As with most of the State Forests, visitors should carry their own supplies, such as drinking water, and be advised that there are no facilities at the Moore’s Creek State Forest. Learn more about the Moore's Creek State Forest.
Niday Place State Forest
This 254-acre forest on John's Creek Mountain in Craig County has typical mountain hardwood stands. A gift to the commonwealth, the forest is a wildlife sanctuary and used as an outdoor laboratory, and for preservation of wildflowers.
Niday Place State Forest is managed by the Buckingham and Cumberland state forests. At Exit 141 on Interstate 81 near Salem, follow Route 311 for 19.2 miles to New Castle, and turn west onto Route 42 in New Castle. Niday Place is located on Rt. 658 approximately 1.5 miles from the intersection of Route 42 and Route 658. Learn more about the Niday Place State Forest.
- Hunting: Prohibited.
- Lat-Long: 37° 23’ 14.9”, 80° 23’ 36.2”
Old Flat State Forest
The Old Flat State Forest is 320 acres of highland meadows and upland forest with species typical of the northeastern US. It is located near the summit of Mount Rogers in Grayson county near the village of Whitetop, VA. The property borders a private Christmas tree farm, the United Sates Forest Service and the Grayson Highlands State Park. Old Flat was acquired by the Virginia Department of Forestry (DOF) to provide a site for a second cycle Fraser fir seed orchard and research opportunities for high elevation tree species. The property will be jointly managed by the Mount Rogers Area Christmas Tree Growers Association and the DOF. Learn more about the Old Flat State Forest.
- Hunting: Prohibited.
- Lat-Long: TBD
Paul State Forest
This 173-acre forest has a variety of hardwood species in Rockingham County. A gift to the commonwealth, the forest's primary uses include hardwood research and demonstration, timber production, hiking, and wildlife habitat protection. Learn more about the Paul State Forest.
- Hunting: Prohibited.
- Lat-Long: 38° 26’ 6.7”, 79° 2’ 10.4”
Prince Edward-Gallion State Forest
The 6,461-acre Prince Edward-Gallion State Forest is located in the piedmont of Virginia. The forest is located 15 miles southeast of Farmville, 5 miles southeast of Burkeville along state route 696 and 613. Take me to the Prince Edward-Gallion State Forest >>
- Hunting: Permitted on the Prince Edward-Gallion State Forest.
Sandy Point State Forest
The 2,043-acre Sandy Point State Forest is located in King William County, approximately 13 miles southeast of Central Garage off Route 30 at the end of Route 641. Take me to the Sandy Point State Forest >>
- Hunting: Permitted on the Sandy Point State Forest.
Whitney State Forest
This 148-acre forest, located in Fauquier County, is used for timber production, horseback riding, hiking, research and demonstration and as a wildlife sanctuary. Learn more about what we're doing on the Whitney. Learn more about the Whitney State Forest.
- Forest tree types: The Whitney State Forest is primarily a natural hardwood forest with yellow poplar, northern red oak, white oak, pignut hickory, red maple, and Virginia pine. There are two pine plantations, one loblolly pine and one white pine.
- Hunting: Prohibited.
- Parking and access: One parking lot is available, which can accommodate ten cars. Parking is not allowed on the road.
- Map: Trail map of the forest (English; PDF format)
- Lat-Long: 38° 40’ 20.1”, 77° 48’ 19.4”
Zoar State Forest
Zoar State Forest, near Aylett in King William County, was established in 1987 when 378 acres were donated to the VDOF. This land is used to grow timber and agricultural crops, maintain habitat for various species of wildlife, and to provide educational and recreational opportunities. Read and download our brochure on the Zoar State Forest (PDF, 2 pp., 2.2MB, July 2012). Take me to the Zoar State Forest >>
- Hunting: Prohibited.
State Forest Use Permit
As of July 1, 2009, a State Forest Use Permit is required for those persons aged 16 or older to practice the following activities on a state forest:
- ride horses
- ride mountain bikes
A valid Virginia hunting license or fishing license in addition to a State Forest Use Permit ($16 per year) are required for hunting, trapping or fishing on the forest.
A State Forest Use Permit is not required for forest visitors who practice the following activities on a state forest:
Permits can be purchased two ways
- Go to any location where you purchase a hunting license. Ask the clerk for the "State Forest Permit" to be added to your license.
- Use your credit card and purchase a permit online from the Virginia Department Of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) website. After signing in, find “Special Licenses” and then “State Forest Use Permit” $16.
About Your State Forests
The State Forests of Virginia are self-supporting and receive no taxpayer funds for operation. Operating funds are generated from the sale of forest products and hunting stamp sales. In addition, up to 25 percent of the revenue receive from the sale of forest products is returned to the counties in which the forests are located. You can support educational programs on your State Forests by donating a portion of your state tax refund to Virginia’s State Forests Fund.
All State Forests are managed by the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) for multiple-use purposes, including watershed protection, recreation, timber production, hunting, fishing, and applied forest research.
- George Washington and Jefferson National Forests
- Virginia's National Forest recreation sites
- State Parks in Virginia
- GORP (Great Outdoors Recreation Pages) - lists national forests and parks.
Last modified: Tuesday, 02-Sep-2014 15:36:34 EDT