The Heart of Appalachia Bike Route runs from Burke's Garden in Tazewell County to Guest River Gorge in Wise County on roughly half paved/half gravel roads. This 125 mile (with 40 miles of side trails) backroad and back country biking excursion. This route offers back roads, rails to trails, single track, historic sites, a natural preserve area, wilderness area, Amish general store, a pub, a swinging bridge, three scenic rivers, farms and coal country, and gorgeous views in Virginia's least crowded, friendliest region, the far southwestern counties of Tazewell, Bland, Russell, and Wise. This route crosses the Trans-America bike route along Route 80 in Russell Co. which provides the only winery within a 100 mile radius. The section through Tazewell County is the Garden Loop which takes Route 727, 667, 666, 625. Including side trips, the round trip is 18 miles.
Big Stone Gap provides biking opportunity in the mountains, The Heart of Appalachia Bike Route and Scenic Drive begins from Burke's Garden in Tazewell County to the Guest River Gorge in Wise County. 128 miles of breathtaking scenery.
Driving Tour: Fincastle/Cumberland Gap Turnpike
The Fincastle/Cumberland Gap Turnpike was established in 1834 by the Virginia General Assembly. The route begins by traveling on Route 11 to Route 220 north to Fincastle. The eastern terminus leaving Fincastle in Botetourt County on State 606, left on west Route 615 in Craig County through the Town of New Castle, thence on Route 42 to Giles County, right on 460, thence left on Scenic Byway Route 61 through Bland County west to Tazewell County, left onto west Route 19/460 through Tazewell County, thence on Route 19 through Russell County and the Town of Lebanon, thence west to Route 71 , Right on Alt 58, Left on Route 65 through Dungannon and Fort Blackmore, Right on Route 650 through Rye Cove, then right on Route 58 to connect with the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail, thence connecting to the Cumberland Gap at the Virginia State Line.
National / Virginia Rural Historical District: Burk's Garden
Sometimes referred to as "God's Thumbprint" because of its view from the air, this mountain-ringed bowl is 10 miles in diameter and filled with some of the most fertile farmland in the state. The area, which is the highest mountain valley in Virginia, was designated a National and Virginia Rural Historical District. The community can be viewed from the Appalachian Trail or by car from state route 623. Visitors can buy baked goods and vegetables, bike on area roads, hike and hunt in nearby Jefferson National Forest. First discovered in the 1740's by James Burke while hunting in the area. The name "Burke's Garden" was given to the valley as a joke in 1748 after Burke planted potato peelings by the campfire of a 1748 surveying party. The next year, a fine crop of potatoes was found.
Public Fishing Lakes: Laurel Bed Lake
Recreation area: Potential Recreation Area
County: Tazewell, Southwest Virginia Community College has a 100 acre tract suitable for some recreational development.
Recreation Area: Cavitt's Creek Park Recreation Area
The 54 acre lake is part of the 164 acre Cavitt's Creek Park. Lake Witten is classified as a "Class A" lake. The Virginia Game Commission stocks trout nine times a year. Open for fishing, camping, picnicking, hiking and boating (only electric motor boats are permitted). The campground has 12 spaces for recreational vehicles but has no electrical hookups. Primitive camping spaces are also available. Boats and paddleboats are available for rent. Summer hours 7am-10pm.
Scenic River: Big Cedar Creek
Big Cedar Creek near Lebanon, 5.8 miles to confluence with the Clinch River has been designated a scenic river.
State Natural Area Preserves: Lick Creek Natural Area
Exists, Proposed (251)
State Natural Area Preserves: Red Rock Mountain
Counties: Tazewell (near)/ Russell (near)
State Park: Potential State Park
A need exists for additional park land in this region of the state.
Recommend to explore the options of acquiring land in Tazewell County for a state park in the vicinity of Pait Lick Mt, Knob Mt and Thompson Valley.
State WMA: Clinch Mountain (also horseback riding, hiking, boating, fishing)
Hunting: deer, bear, turkey, grouse, gray and fox squirrel, rabbit, and wood duck hunters usually enjoy success on these ponds, particularly during the first season that opens each fall. Fishing: Clinch Mountain Wildlife Management Area offers anglers the opportunity to fish roaring mountain streams or placid, picturesque, 300 acre Laurel Bed Lake. A daily fee is charged for fishing some of the area's waters. Facilities: There is amply parking space. Two boat ramps are available at Laurel Bed Lake. A shooting range for archery is near the resident manager's house. There is a developed campground on the area and Raven Ridge Campground and B&B is just minutes away. Other popular uses of the area include: horseback riding, wildlife viewing, hiking and nature photography. A wide range of wildflowers attract visitors in the spring.