Guest River Gorge Trail is a hiking and biking trail in Russell County, Scott County, and Wise County, Virginia. It is within Jefferson National Forest. It is 5.5 miles long and begins at 1,961 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 11.0 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,854 feet.
Guest River Gorge Trail Professional Reviews and Guides
"Vaunting high rock bluffs, cascading waters, and hardwood forest, this rail-trail follows the Guest River through a magnificent sandstone gorge. Located in Jefferson National Forest, the area is isolated and remote—chances are you won’t meet a soul. The trail follows a mild downhill grade from trailhead to trail’s end; keep in mind the uphill return. The large, loose gravel can be hard for beginning bikers (and makes for a noisy bike ride). Surface: The first 1.5 miles are hard-packed gravel, while the last miles are original gravel ballast."
--Barbara A. Noe, Rails To Trails: Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia (The Globe Pequot Press).
"This hike combines history and natural beauty in the rugged mountains of southwest Virginia. Here in the Jefferson National Forest, you will hike a trail that was once a railroad grade. First pass through the Swede Tunnel, then cross the Guest River—a Virginia State Scenic River—on a high bridge. Continue down the cliff- and bluffrimmed canyon, viewing giant streamside boulders. Pass your first waterfall, then come to a stair-step cascade set in a rock-rimmed glen before turning around. The Guest River Gorge Trail, like many rail trails, took a while to come into being. Fortunately, the Jefferson National Forest saw an opportunity when this leg of the Interstate Line was abandoned. After hiking this rail-turned-trail, you will see why the term “gorge” is used when describing the valley of the Guest River."
--Johnny Molloy, Hiking through History Virginia (Falcon Guides).
"The Guest River Gorge Trail meanders beside 300-million-year-old sandstone cliffs that plunge 400 feet to the pristine waters below. The Guest River, now designated as a state scenic river, tunneled through Stone Mountain on its way toward the Clinch River, creating the deep gorge.
The gentle grade of this trail and its gravel surface make it ideal for a comfortable walk or bike ride. Benches along the route offer more than a place to rest; they yield stunning views of crystal-clear currents that, when interrupted sporadically by boulders, turn into impressive rapids."
--Various Authors, Rail-Trails Mid-Atlantic (Wilderness Press).
"This ride's general location is 10 miles southeast of Wise. Scenery includes the scenic Guest River as it flows through a magnificent sandstone gorge. Converting a railroad bed to a recreational trail provides a smooth trail for non-motorized users but, less obviously, it also provides access to otherwise inaccessible settings of incredible natural beauty. This is certainly the case with the Guest River Trail. Families and beginning riders will enjoy this ride, especially the downhill on the way to the Clinch."
--Randy Porter, Mountain Bike! Virginia (Menasha Ridge Press).
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