Saint Mary's Wilderness-Milepost 221

Vesuvius, Virginia

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1 Review
3 out of 5
This 10,090-acre parcel is the largest of Virginia’s federal wilderness areas. The tract lies west of the Blue Ridge Parkway between Milepost 22.1 (Bald Mountain Overlook) and Milepost 27.2 (Tye River Gap). The Saint Mary’s area was never logged. But although the forests may be virgin, rugged slopes and thin soil have not produced towering trees. Many trails in the area were once railroad grades; manganese and other mines operated from the early 1900s to the 1950s. The scenery is nevertheless impressive, and ruins from the mining era are part of the appeal. Oak and hickory forests predominate, and the summits are covered with pitch pine, table mountain pine, bear oak, and mountain laurel. Barren talus fields appear as gray jumbles of rock on otherwise lush, green slopes.
Hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway

by Randy Johnson (Falcon Guides)

This 10,090-acre parcel is the largest of Virginia’s federal wilderness areas. The tract lies west of the Blue Ridge Parkway between Milepost 22.1 (Bald Mountain Overlook) and Milepost 27.2 (Tye River Gap). The Saint Mary’s area was never logged. But although the forests may be virgin, rugged slopes and thin soil have not produced towering trees. Many trails in the area were once railroad grades; manganese and other mines operated from the early 1900s to the 1950s.

The scenery is nevertheless impressive, and ruins from the mining era are part of the appeal. Oak and hickory forests predominate, and the summits are covered with pitch pine, table mountain pine, bear oak, and mountain laurel. Barren talus fields appear as gray jumbles of rock on otherwise lush, green slopes.

© 2017 Randy Johnson/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Vesuvius
Distance: 3.8-10.3 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,400 feet
Trail Type: Several options
Skill Level: Moderate to Difficult
Additional Use: Swimming
Features: Waterfalls
Accessibility: Dog-friendly
Local Contacts: The Blue Ridge Parkway 199 Hemphill Knob Road Asheville, NC 28803-8686 (828) 271-4779 (828) 298-0398
Local Maps: USGS Big Levels, VA; USFS Saint Mary’s Wilderness map
Driving Directions: Directions to Saint Mary's Wilderness-Milepost 22.1

Recent Trail Reviews

8/13/2008
1

This a beautiful hike. We hiked this trail a few times last fall as the trees were changing color, and it was amazing. There were so many paik leaves just floating down from the mountain that gave this place an truly mesmerizing aura. Because of the hurricanes from years past all of this trail has been washed out, so most of the trail is on the river bed. Ankle supportive hiking shoes are a must. Just look for the man-made trail markers along the way to the waterfalls. ---- Update: Work of caution, the north side of this hike that leads up to "green pond" is quite a hike. Be preparred to take a few rests, stay hydrated and nourished. Also, green pond should be renamed "green sludge," so a filtration system and MSR sweetwater (or equivalent) is must. Keep an eye out for black bears as well.



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Apr 2018