Epic Road Trip along the New River Water Trail

Epic Road Trip along the New River Water Trail

Experience an epic outdoor road trip and staycation through Virginia’s Mountain Playground™. If you find yourself driving a motorcycle, convertible, or RV this is your map to epic outdoor adventures. Whatever your mode of transportation, Giles has your wide open adventure!

Not sure where to start on your motorcycle adventure? GearHead Moto Tours in Pearisburg can outfit your entire excursion. Looking for a totally guided experience, gear and bike included? They have that! Looking for great routes for your road or dual sport bike? They have that too! You can also pick up area motorcycle and adventure maps at their shop, GearHead Junction located in downtown Pearisburg. Motorcycle lovers bring a new sense of adventure to our playground! The Backcountry Discovery Route traverses through Giles and connects dual sport riders to the entire eastern seaboard of paved and dirt road riding.

Epic is one way to describe the feeling of experiencing Dirty Dancing for yourself! On your next staycation sleep and play at Mountain Lake Lodge. Not only is this the film location of the fan favorite film, but guests can also experience hiking trails, and the Treetop Adventure Center with archery tag, zip lines, and aerial obstacle course. Guests can enjoy access to the Appalachian Trail and the shooting sports with Clays at the Overlook. Stay in the historic stone lodge and any one of their cottages and cabins. The ride up the mountain and the sense of mountaintop escape must be added to your epic road trip! Find other great lodging options!

Sometimes the best way to experience the world around us is on foot. Park the vehicle and climb the gorge to witness the Cascades waterfall. Part of an approximate 4-mile round trip hike, this 69 foot waterfall is not to be missed. Then take it another step further- beyond the Cascades guests can hike farther up the mountain to see the Upper Cascades and even farther still to take in Barney’s Wall and the perfect views of Giles County and beyond. Be sure to be prepared for your hike and pack out what you pack in. Hike our Dismal Falls or Mill Creek Falls.

Time for a refresh and more adventure. Traveling to The Palisades Restaurant is an adventure on its own. The road trip to this destination dining experience is part of the fun! Follow mountain roads to the Village of Eggleston to enjoy contemporary, casual Appalachian food and libations in a renovate general store. Shopping next door while you wait at Gun Powder Springs Gift Shop. Also additional lodging is next door at Mr. Hunter’s Cottage. Find other Giles dining options!

Fish, float, paddle, or play along our 37 miles of the New River. Enjoy the New River Water Trail from any one of our public boat landings, or use one of our outfitters and guides to take all the guesswork out of an epic day on the water. Our outfitters and guides can direct you to the perfect section of the New River to view the majestic rock formations, enjoy still water, or the good fishing spots that don’t show up on the maps!

Wrap up your epic road trip by getting off-road to add a whole other level to your trip with ATV and UTV trails at Kairos Resort. With over 60 miles of trails on the private mountaintop resort, guests can rent a side-by-side or bring their own machines to the enjoy the trail, amazing scenic overlooks, and untouched wilderness. They have trails for dirtbikes, 4-wheelers, side-by-sides, and full size Jeeps or trucks.

So however you get here, and however your explore- whether by bike, boat, even bus! We’re right there with you, find what you love in Giles, on your epic staycation…


Improving New River access points in Giles County | WDBJ7

Improving New River access points in Giles County

GILES COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) The New River is a popular spot for people in Giles County. Now, officials are taking steps to make it easier for boats to come and go.

“I love the outdoors, I really love being on the water,” Randy Fuqua said, admiring the scene around him.


Fuqua and Austin Cunningham took a group of out-of-towners on a fishing tour of the New River in Giles County. They pushed off from the Whitt Riverbend boat landing in Ripplemead where there’s a concrete boat launch.


See full video HERE.



Boat landing in Giles County, Virginia
Picture from WDBJ7.

Randy and Austin guide fishing trips for New River Outdoor Company located in Pembroke. The New River Water Trail has pubic access points along the 37 miles of New River in Giles, approximately every 5-7 miles. The newest boat landings will improve safety, ease of access, and help minimize impacts on river banks.

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Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation & Friends Of Southwest Virginia Release 2017 Annual Report

Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation & Friends Of Southwest Virginia Release 2017 Annual Report


ABINGDON, VA – The Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation and the Friends of Southwest Virginia have released their 2017 Annual Report which outlines the regional economic impact of the tourism economy and spotlights economic, community and tourism development initiatives, regional marketing and branding and updates to Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway.


The report shows an increase of more than 56% in tourism spending throughout Southwest Virginia since 2004.


Southwest Virginia includes 19 counties, four independent cities and 54 towns located on the southern and western border of Virginia. Its 8,600 square miles – more than a fifth of Virginia’s total – is located along mountain ridges and in fertile valleys with two national parks, nine state parks and over a thousand square miles of national and state forests. The region is filled with innovators, artists and musicians.


To capitalize on these cultural and natural assets and in response to rapidly declining employment in Southwest Virginia’s historically prominent industries of farming, mining, and manufacturing, leaders around the region began to invest in developing the creative economy in the mid-2000s.

SWVA Annual Report Cover 2017The Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation was established in 2008 by the Virginia General Assembly to serve as the lead in developing a creative economy in Southwest Virginia through cultural and natural assets. Through a supporting non-profit, the Friends of Southwest Virginia, the regional team works as one organization to help localities, non-profits and entrepreneurs mobilize and succeed. Partner organizations include The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Music Heritage Trail and ‘Round the Mountain Artisan Network along with support from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. The complex nature of this model of public / private partnership is reflective of the complex economic issues in Southwest Virginia that the organization tackles on a daily basis.


The creative economy movement is defined by innovative business development techniques finding success without reliance on the limited resources of land, labor and capital. From the arts and music of the region to the natural assets capitalized through tourism, the joint work of the Foundation and the non-profit is revolutionizing the rural economic development system of Southwest Virginia and providing thousands of new jobs through small business to the people of this region.


The organization reports that a study from the U.S. Travel Association and Virginia Tourism Corporation shows that tourism spending in the region has grown by $363 million from 2004 to 2016, the most recent year that statistics are available. Tourism impact throughout the region exceeded $1 billion for the first time in history; in comparison, tourism expenditures were only $648.9 million in 2004.


Additionally, local tax revenues have increased by 46.51% and state tax revenues by 41.06% in the same time period. The upward trend in these travel related tax revenues has an impact at the local level through increasing meals and lodging tax revenues in the region’s towns. Overall employment in SWVA has dropped by 2.3% since 2001, but employment in the leisure and hospitality industry sector has increased by 14%.


“The work of the Foundation and Friends is truly a collaborative of the incredible leadership of our counties, cities and towns that are innovating their business eco-system through the creative economy,” said Chris Cannon, executive director of the Foundation and Friends of Southwest Virginia.


In addition to the significant increase in overall tourism impact, the report details current developments underway to increase future economic impact.


“Several years ago, visionaries across the region saw the potential of creative economy development using our natural assets – our unrivaled mountains, rivers, lakes, streams and fields,” said Cannon.


Since 2014, the SWVA Outdoors initiative has recruited millions in grant funding to develop tourism around 8 anchor areas: Mount Rogers, Appalachian Trail, Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail, Clinch River, New River, Blue Ridge Parkway, Breaks Interstate Park and High Knob.


Planning and construction projects are underway throughout the region to enhance and develop key natural assets. From the future construction of a new parking lot for Devil’s Bathtub in Scott County and a River Destination Center in Giles County to master planning for the High Knob region, these projects will all improve tourism through access to regional assets while protecting and preserving their natural significance.


Funding partners in these 16 development projects touching all of Southwest Virginia include the Commonwealth of Virginia, Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission, Appalachian Regional Commission, U.S. Economic Development Administration, Virginia Tourism Corporation and several private foundations.


In addition to the development initiatives, the organization serves as an official Destination Marketing Organization for the region. The SWVA brand introduced in 2016 has grown and developed over the past two years through aggressive marketing initiatives.


“Our social media following has exploded, but look for an increased presence across all digital platforms in 2018 as we improve and expand our marketing initiatives to share Southwest Virginia with the world,“ said Jenna Wagner, Director of Marketing.


The organization also operates and manages Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway located just off I-81 in Abingdon. The facility opened in 2011 to showcase and retail regional art through ‘Round the Mountain, present regional music through The Crooked Road, and serve as a destination center for the entire region. The report details that visitation and the sales of regional craft has increased over 2016.


“Heartwood was built to be a gateway to the entire Southwest Virginia region and visitor intercept studies conducted this fall showed us that over 60% of people who walked through the doors of Heartwood were inspired to get in their car and visit another community in Southwest Virginia,” said Cannon.


To access the full Annual Report, visit: https://issuu.com/southwestvirginia/docs/swva_annual_report_2017_final.


For more information on the SWVA Cultural Heritage Foundation and Friends of Southwest Virginia, visit www.myswva.org.




For more information, please contact Jenna Wagner with Friends of Southwest Virginia (276-492-2422).


About Southwest Virginia

Tucked in the mountains of Southwest Virginia is a vibrant culture of music, craft and stunning natural beauty. It’s a region of spectacular views and rich natural resources. Time spent in the region adds up to something much more than a simple getaway. A different side of Virginia. And a great place to visit for a week’s vacation – or to make a home for a lifetime. Authentic. Distinctive. Alive.


About the Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation and Friends of Southwest Virginia

The Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation is the coordinating body for cultural heritage tourism and economic development efforts fostering Southwest Virginia’s creative economy. Through a supporting non-profit, the Friends of Southwest Virginia, the combined entities help localities, businesses, individuals, artists, nonprofits and entrepreneurs mobilize and succeed.


A multifaceted plan identifies the cultural and natural assets of the region; coordinates initiatives, organizations and venues engaged in cultural and natural heritage toward more efficient operations for all partner organizations; and develops a comprehensive strategy and capital improvements plan to maximize the impact of state investments in this significant restructuring effort.


Key initiatives include:

  • Branding and marketing Southwest Virginia to the world as a distinct culture and destination
  • Developing and sustaining Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway
  • Expanding outdoor recreation development initiatives and marketing throughout the region
  • Planning and implementation of downtown revitalization throughout the region to instill a high quality of life within our communities and promote them to the world for a broad spectrum of economic development opportunities


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