The 2024 Winter Adventure Guide

Looking for some fun things to do while you’re in town? Kickstart your winter adventure here in Patrick County! From guided hikes to stargazing, we’ll share some of our favorite winter activities. Here are ten of our favorite things to do in Patrick County.

1. Conquer Rock Castle Gorge

The Rock Castel Gorge Recreation Area offers one of the most rewarding hikes in the County. The trail starts in Woolwine and works its way up to the Blue Ridge Parkway. The elevation ranges from 3,572 feet to 1,700 feet over the 10.8-mile loop. Sections of the trail are steep and rocky. One of the more challenging sections is a boulder field known as the Bare Rocks. While strenuous, hikers are rewarded with fantastic views of the Piedmont below.

2. Join a Ranger Led Hike

Meet a ranger at Fairy Stone State Park for a guided hike. These hikes are great ways to learn more about the environment and history of the park. One of our favorites is the Moonshine Hollow Hike, led by Ranger Danny Martin. This hike explores moonshining history and takes visitors to two former still sites. Learn more about Fairy Stone’s guided hikes on their website.

3. Paddle with a Pal

Brave the cold waters with a friend and explore Fairy Stone State Park, The Dan River, or Philpott Lake. This is a great way to liven up cold, winter days, especially for photographers. Winter is a great time to see local wildlife. In a 2020 blog post, one kayaker saw otters and a pair of bald eagles while paddling Fairy Stone Lake.

4. Go Trout Fishing

Winter is a great time to trout fish. Anglers can find trout in the Dan River, the Mayo River, and the Smith River. Many smaller streams also contain trout. Keep an eye out for DWR signage along river banks, they indicate which rivers are stocked. We recommend checking out the DWR’s Trout Fishing Guide before heading out.

5. Join in the Jam at Willis Gap

The Willis Gap Community Center hosts an open Jam every Friday night. Everyone is welcome to come and play, sing, dance, or listen. The jam started in 1995 and has hosted musicians from all over the world. Doors open at 6pm and music begins at 7pm. The Willis Gap Jam is an affiliate of the Crooked Road Heritage Music Trail.

6. Hit the Biking Trails at I.C. Dehart Park

I.C. Dehart Park in Woolwine is home to one of Southwest Virginia’s best-kept secrets. The park is home to thirteen miles of single-track mountain biking trails. The park has two loops, the 8-mile east and 5-mile west loop. Riders will enjoy the beautiful scenery and exciting twists and turns.

7. Stargaze at the Primland Observatory

The Primland Observatory takes stargazing to a whole new level. The powerful telescope lets viewers reach new heights in the night sky. Reservations are required. Please call 276-222-6837 to schedule a visit.

8. Go Glamping

Connect with nature and stay warm. Glamping is a fun way to get outdoors while still having the amenities of home. We recommend Mountain Waves Yurt, Stargazer Park, or the camper at Wolf Creek Farm. For an elevated experience, the Primland Tree Houses take glamping to new heights.

9. Dine at Pickle and Ash

Pickle and Ash offers locally inspired, farm-to-table dining in a casual setting. The menu changes regularly based on what is seasonally available. Pickle and Ash also serve local wines, craft beer, and craft cocktails.

10. Take the Road Less Traveled

Take advantage of Patrick County’s mountain roads and go sightseeing. Travel to one of our many overlooks or enjoy the scenery along the road. We recommend Squirrel Spur, Orchard Gap, and the Blue Ridge Parkway.