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Since its initial establishment in 1918, the George Washington National Forest, formerly known as Shenandoah National Forest, has garnered attention for being part of a combination of forests that forms one of the largest areas of public land in the Eastern United States. The combination of national forests (George Washington and Jefferson), which were administratively combined in 1995, spans an impressive 1.8 million acres over three states.
When you’re pondering a trip through Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky, consider booking a rental RV to George Washington National Forest. The forest headquarters are conveniently located in Roanoke, VA. The historic forest has an intriguing story involving some pretty prolific people from the past and the timber industry. While conservation was at the heart of all efforts, the land was used and cleared according to the needs of the area at the time. Nowadays, one million acres are left untouched, while the remaining has been maintained and developed for public use. During your time here, you’ll drive your camper rental through scenic areas and have the opportunity to gallivant in the woods.
With over 2,200 miles of trails, it’s safe to say George Washington National Forest is an avid hiker’s dream playground. The elevation ranges, too, from 515 feet at the base of the Shenandoah River to 5,729 feet at Mount Roger’s peak. Of the miles of trails, you can walk along 325 miles of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. But that’s not all! Several National Recreation Trails weave through here as do scenic byways and recreation areas.
Some of those trails are also open to bikers. The open forest roads are the perfect spot because motorized vehicles are limited, and the forest is in constant view. Do stay on the designated biking trails as off-trail travel is prohibited.
While you’re out on the trails, do take note of your natural surroundings. Tree experts will gawk at some 40 species growing within the forest. Calling this land home are many different kinds of amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Over 100 types of fish swim in the 2,340 miles of streams. The rangers and volunteers protecting the wildlife here has reason to so; 53 threatened or endangered animals and plant species can be found at George Washington National Forest. Be sure to abide by any rules made to ensure conservation efforts are successful.
The streams are also an excellent place to fish and to cool off. Though there are designated parts along with the water network for these activities, you should definitely pack your swimming suit and rod on your rental RV. The sandy beach areas make for great sunbathing spots or to place some lawn games under the sun.
With an outdoor expanse such as George Washington National Forest, there are bound to be ample camping opportunities. There is nine separate RV-accessible campground spread between five of the ranger districts. Each campground has its own appeal-like being next to a body of water, having major trails right out your rental motorhome door, or taking advantage of recreation spaces (volleyball courts, green spaces, and playgrounds). Many of the offered sites have, at the very least electrical hookups, bathroom facilities, and showers.
Though if staying in the surrounding Augusta County is more appealing for your camping needs, there are plenty of options here too. You’ll have not only George Washington National Forest close by but also all the other attractions of the area should you want to explore more than the forest. No matter your choice, George Washington National Forest campers will have plenty to awe over.
Roanoke is an exciting place; you’ll be greeted with the famed Roanoke Star landmark. This independent city has several museums covering various topics to keep visitors entertained. The Mill Mountain Zoo and coral reef aquariums are great places to have a look at some cute animals as well as learn about their places in the natural world. In the town, people enjoy the Historic Roanoke City Market, which features produce and handcrafted goods.
Just to the northeast of Roanoke sits another popular Virginian city, Lynchburg. There is a more historical setting here with plenty of historic buildings that’ll take you back in time to the city’s early roots. The Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre is a fun way to get a taste of winter even in summer; they offer year-round skiing and other winter-themed activities. Similar to Roanoke, Lynchburg also features a community-type market where people gather for food and other goods.
George Washington National Forest also touches in West Virginia and Kentucky. So, depending on where you’ve decided to explore with your rental RV, there are plenty of other small towns and cities to see in those areas too. It’s a great trip to see a little bit of everything.