The first designated wilderness in Virginia (1975), James River Face is bounded on the northeast by the James River and on the south by Petites Gap Road (gravel, FS #35). Immediately south of FR #35 lies Thunder Ridge Wilderness. James River Face reaches a high point of 3,073 feet on Highcock Knob near the southern boundary, and a low point of about 650 feet near the river. Vegetation is dominated by a typical Appalachian hardwood forest. The Devil's Marbleyard, a unique quartzite boulder field, lies within this wilderness. James River Face is a Class 1 airshed.
The James River Face Wilderness contains about 32 miles of trails. The Appalachian National Scenic Trail (A.T., FT #1) meanders through the wilderness for about 11 miles. Trails information is available on National Geographic-Trails Illustrated Map #789 (Lexington-Blue Ridge Mts).
James River Face Wilderness is located in Bedford and Rockbridge Counties in west central Virginia. It is managed by the U.S. Forest Service as a part of the Glenwood-Pedlar Ranger Districts of the George Washington & Jefferson National Forests.
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the James River Face Wilderness.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.
(Known as the Eastern Wilderness Areas Act) - Public law 93-622 (1/3/1975) To further the purposes of the Wilderness Act by designating certain acquired lands for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System, to provide for study of certain additional lands for such inclusion, and for other purposes