Life Outside Summer 2018 - 24

FROM VIRGINIA'S HIGHEST PEAK to an ancient river,

from zip lining to kayaking to fishing for a mystical
fish, from new breweries to award-winning wineries
to legal moonshine, Southwest Virginia's Wythe
and Smyth counties exert a magnetic attraction for
folks who like to play outdoors and to chase their
adventures with a local beverage.
Accessible outdoor recreation is this area's special
niche. Tucked up against big mountains and just
off Interstate 81, the county seats of Wytheville
and Marion have combined population of just under 15,000. Their outdoor adventure offerings are
outstanding, yet parking lots aren't crowded and
you won't meet a throng on the trail. Although
Wytheville's Wohlfahrt Haus dinner theatre requires
a reservation, few other venues and restaurants do.
The area has a not-quite-discovered feeling because
there's enough space for everyone.

WYTHEVILLE HIKING AND
BIKING
STEPPIN' HIGH
Bruce Wicker balances on
Monster Rock atop Big Walker
Mountain in Wythe County.

24

Wytheville, at the intersection of Interstates 81 and
77, sits under broad Sand Mountain. An energetic
cyclist can pedal a mountain bike up Broadway and
be on the mountain within minutes. On the other
side of the mountain at the end of Pump Hollow
Road, six hiking/biking trails coil through the town's
Crystal Springs Recreation Area, including a 4.5mile path to High Rocks summit's stunning view.

Summer 2018 \\ LifeOutside Magazine

Hikers and mountain cyclists can access much
of the mountain land here, thanks to Virginia's
7,500-acre Big Survey Wildlife Management Area
(day use permit required) and Wytheville's adjoining 1,800 acres at Crystal Springs. Best of all, at
Crystal Springs, everything-parking, picnicking,
even camping at the five primitive sites-is free.
Campers should register at Wytheville Recreation
Center (276-223-3378).

HIKING/BIKING:OUT IN WYTHE
COUNTY
Wander farther from town and the recreation
possibilities are just as enticing. Jefferson National
Forest's Seven Sisters Trail, starting at Stony Fork
Campground a few miles off I-77 north, gives both
hikers and mountain bikers a 4.8-mile workout on
Little Walker Mountain's seven ridges.
Just up U.S. 52 lies another enticing view-one
that doesn't require as much sweat. Big Walker Lookout, at 3,405 ft., is a privately owned observation
tower, country store, and weekend music venue.
It's also the place to enjoy creamy, local Homestead
Creamery ice cream, especially as a reward for hiking
Monster Rock Trail. The trail is 1.5 miles out and
back to a rock outcropping overlooking the Stony
Fork watershed.
Several long trails pass through Wythe County, most notably the Appalachian Trail (AT), the



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Life Outside Summer 2018

Life Outside Summer 2018 - 1
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 2
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 3
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 4
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 5
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 6
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 7
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 8
Life Outside Summer 2018 - 9
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/Life_Outside_Summer_2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/Life_Outside_Spring_2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/Life_Outside_Fall_2017
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