Guest River Gorge Trail

Jefferson National Forest, Virginia 24230

Elevation Gain1,854ft
Trailhead Elevation1,961ft
Elevation Min/Max1388/2049ft
Elevation Start/End1961/1961ft

Guest River Gorge Trail

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."

"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."

"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."

"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."

Guest River Gorge Trail Reviews

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Great trail for walking or biking. Nice scenery with a nice wide trail. Coming back out of the trail is quite a climb though. most of it is uphill.
This is a very beautiful trail. I went down the trail on a Thursday and only saw a few folks. One down side, I know that four-wheelers are banned but there was evidence that this ban is being violated. There are several small water falls along the trail that adds to the overall enjoyment. I would recommend this trail for families and walkers, the tunnel is very cool.
This trail is well worth the diversion as you do the crooked road music trail. The summer wildflowers were amazing in the warmth and damp of August. Once you get a mile in to the walk, you should be very much by yourself to enjoy the silence of this remote setting.

Guest River Gorge Trail Photos

Trail Information

Jefferson National Forest
Nearby City
Jefferson National Forest
Dog-friendly, Stroller/Wheelchair Accessible
Boating, Fishing
Additional Use
Local Contacts

Activity Feed

Jul 2018