With its breathtaking mountain views, impeccable gardens, and pristine lakes, Virginia is filled to the brim with enchanting spots. You don’t have to travel far to find yourself surrounded by a landscape that seems straight out of a dream. The Chief Benge Trail in southwestern Virginia’s Wise County is a relatively little-known spot that offers scenery bordering on magical. Here’s more information about the hike you’ll want to take soon:
The Chief Benge Scout trail is named for Chief Robert Benge, a Cherokee leader who caused great fear in the early Appalachia explorers of the 1700s. Benge was killed in 1794 in present-day Wise County, the same area which now honors his life with this scenic trail.
The trail begins at High Knob Observation Tower, the peak of Stone Mountain where viewers can see across state borders and several different mountain ranges of the Appalachia. While the trail is long, approximately 18.7 miles, there are plenty of features that can split the hike into shorter portions. Many hikers also leave one car at the trail’s end, the Little Stony Falls trailhead, to ensure their trip is all downhill.
The high elevation forests that surround the Chief Benge Trail are filled with rare flora and fauna. Some plants, such as the Yellow Birch, that are typically found in New England also appear in this part of the state. The first portion of the trail will lead you to High Knob Lake, a beautiful pool of water surrounded by a world of green. Photographed above is the dam at High Knob Lake.
As the trail continues, hikers will be submerged deeper into this enchanted forest alive with birds and activity. During the proper season, you’ll notice plenty of blooms from rhododendrons and other wildflowers. After passing the popular recreation area known as Bark Camp Lake, the norther hardwood forests will be behind you and Appalachian forest will be ahead. This is another part of the state with exceedingly rare blooms and buds.
While the trail technically ends at the Little Stoney Falls Trailhead, it might be worth the extra half mild hike to see these spectacular falls in action. The footbridge offers a unique perspective of the rushing water, simply beautiful any time of year.
If you’ve recently hiked Chief Benge Scout Trail, we’d love to hear about your experience there! For more of Virginia’s magic, be sure to check out these
11 Enchanting Spots You Never Knew Existed.