George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, Virginia
Pedal to the Top of a Shenandoah Peak
The George Washington and Jefferson National Forests compose part of the largest block of public forestland in the eastern U.S., totaling nearly 1.8 million acres. But it could soon be divided by the proposed 600-mile natural-gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
The Appalachian Trail runs through the forest, as do hundreds of other trails, and the landscape is pocked with rivers and streams that are home to sensitive critters, including the Appalachian brook trout. Conservationists fear that the pipeline, in the event of a leak, could jeopardize it all.
Go Now: The forest contains near-endless camping, hiking, and fishing options. But it’s also home to an underrated, epic road-cycling challenge: an 81⁄2-mile climb to the top of the 4,400-foot Reddish Knob of Shenandoah Mountain, one of the highest points in the state. —M.R.S.Back to top