Outdoor Recreation

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The Great Channels of Virginia were formed while the high elevation sandstone cap was under the influence of permafrost and ice wedging some 400 million years ago. Today, it’s a natural area preserve that welcomes adventuresome hikers and site-seers.
Virginia Tourism Corporation, www.Virginia.org

If you love the great outdoors, then Russell County will be your ultimate playground. In addition to having six recreational parks, a community pool and a YMCA, we’re blessed to have some of the nation’s most amazing natural wonders right in our own backyard. Read below for the highlights.

Tourism and the Clinch River

The beautiful 712-acre Pinnacle Natural Area Preserve is located in our county – situated at the confluence of the Clinch River and Big Cedar Creek, both of which are on Virginia’s Scenic Rivers list and the National Park Service’s Nationwide Rivers Inventory.

In particular, we’re proud of the Clinch River, which is known for being the most bio-diverse river in the Northern Hemisphere. The waterway is also the focal point for work underway by the Clinch River Valley Initiative – a multi-group organization dedicated to growing recreation and ecotourism-related entrepreneurship in Southwest Virginia. This initiative has set in motion a vision to make the Clinch River Valley a global destination by 2020, based on its natural resources and variety of water recreation.

The organization’s plans include establishing a Clinch River State Park at some point, which would offer access points, trails and campgrounds that connect easily to our river downtowns.

Town of St. Paul: Water Adventures and Spearhead Trails

In the town of St. Paul, Clinch River Adventures, a tubing, canoeing and kayaking outfitter located in Matthews Park, is drawing hundreds of visitors annually and represents the kind of outdoor tourism that is emerging in Russell County.

The town is also where a trailhead lies for accessing the 90-mile Mountain View Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) trail system, the first of several being developed by the Southwest Regional Recreation Authority, also known as Spearhead Trails.

St Paul also provides easy access to Oxbow Lake, in addition to several hiking/biking trails. Nearby Laurel Bed Lake, located in the Clinch Mountain Wildlife Area, also covers more than 300 acres in Russell County and provides excellent angling for trout, in addition to majestic waterfalls.

Town of Honaker:  Access to the TransAmerica Bike Route

In Honaker, camping and birding opportunities abound, and you’ll also have access to the TransAmerica Bike Route, which runs from Astoria, Oregon, to Yorktown, Virginia, and is considered the best and most-ridden bike route in America. In addition, the town holds a Redbud Festival annually, offering the amazing spectacle of thousands of blooming Redbud trees – as well as music, games, canoe races and more.

The Channels

Partially located in Russell County, The Channels is a natural area preserve found in the Channels State Forest. Its name comes from an impressive formation of 400-million-year-old sandstone outcropping where water has eroded deep crevices or “channels” in between massive boulders.  In additional to hiking, this area provides opportunities for wildlife watching, biking, horseback riding, hunting and picnicking.

Heart of Appalachia Tourism Authority (HOA)

To find out more about Russell County’s outdoor recreation, visit the Heart of Appalachia Tourism Authority (HOA) website.

Organized in 1993 by the Virginia General Assembly, the HOA promotes tourism assets in the Coalfield Region. Recently, the organization launched a marketing initiative called “Fish to Your Heart’s Content,” which celebrates fishing by offering anglers inside information about some of the best fishing spots in the region.


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