Lesesne State Forest


The upper research site is experiencing problems with Phytophthora, a soil-borne fungus that is easily spread on the shoes of people. Please do not enter this area!! Chestnut seedlings are being lost to Phytophthora, representing the loss of much work and progress toward restoring the American chestnut to Virginia’s forests.

Please visit the south gate (lower research area) to learn more about the ongoing chestnut research at Lesesne State Forest.

This 422-acre forest is located in Nelson County. A gift to the commonwealth, it is a wildlife sanctuary and designated for research on the American Chestnut. Lesesne is open to the public during daylight hours for hiking and horseback riding. Learn more about what we're doing at Lesesne.

  • Hunting: Archery and Black Powder deer hunting are permitted on the Lesesne State Forest. First come, first served basis.
    • Lesesne State Forest will be open for Archery and Black Powder Deer Hunting.
      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”

All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) | Camping | Horesback Riding | Hunting

State Forest Use Permit

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

Hours of Operation / Scheduling

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

  • Lesesne State Forest is open daily from dawn to dusk. Email the forest personnel.


Hunting is permitted on the Lesesne 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 for special restrictions on State Forest lands, such as Either-Sex Deer Hunting Days.

Wear blaze orange during hunting season.

All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs)

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


Camping is not allowed.

Horseback Riding

Horses are permitted on the forest.

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.

About the State Forest System

State Forests provide a working demonstration of forests and forest management techniques. The Virginia State Forest System follows these forest management guidelines:

  • Contribute to the conservation of biological diversity of the forest and the landscape in which it resides.
  • Maintain or improve the productive capacity of the forest.
  • Maintain the health and vigor of the forest, its landscape and its watershed.
  • Provide resources for cleaner air by absorbing carbon dioxide, known as carbon cycles.
  • Provide socioeconomic benefits.
  • Protect soil productivity and water quality.

Last modified: Thursday, 06-Nov-2014 10:36:50 EST