Natural Wonders

You can’t come to Abingdon without experiencing its awe-inspiring natural landscape. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

Grayson Highlands State Park

Photo by Sam Dean

Kayak, Fish or Just Float

The rivers, lakes and streams around Abingdon offer lots of opportunities for serious outdoor enthusiasts. “Float the Fork” with a kayak trip on the North Fork of the Holston River or hook trout, bass and walleye in the river’s waters or on nearby South Holston Lake, a 7,580-acre reservoir spanning the Virginia-Tennessee border. Fly fishing is also popular in White Top Laurel Creek, which runs alongside the Virginia Creeper Trail.


Virginia is home to 544 miles of the Appalachian Trail, more than any other state. Some of the finest of those miles can be found around Abingdon and nearby Damascus. With the intersection of the Virginia Creeper National Recreational Trail and the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail right in town, it is fitting that the Appalachian Trail is one of the gateways into Abingdon. Check out trail information at


You won’t see anything like the Great Channels Natural Area Preserve anywhere else east of the Mississippi River: a 6.6 mile out-and-back trail into a network of maze-like crevices formed in soft sandstone. It’s about an hour’s drive from Abingdon, but the slot canyon views are unique and worth the trip. The Virginia Department of Conservation & Recreation offers helpful information and maps.

This article originally appeared in our October 2018 issue. For more on Abingdon, click here.

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