Saint Mary's Wilderness-Milepost 221

Vesuvius, Virginia

Saint Mary's Wilderness-Milepost 221

Saint Mary's Wilderness-Milepost 22.1 Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"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."

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Saint Mary's Wilderness-Milepost 22.1 Trail Trip Reports

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Richmond, VA
Adventurer | 251 pts
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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.

Trail Information

Nearby City
3.8-10.3 miles
1,400 feet
Elevation Gain
Several options
Trail Type
Moderate to Difficult
Skill Level
Additional Use
The Blue Ridge Parkway 199 Hemphill Knob Road Asheville, NC 28803-8686 (828) 271-4779 (828) 298-0398
Local Contacts
USGS Big Levels, VA; USFS Saint Mary’s Wilderness map
Local Maps