Mountain Lake, the only natural body of water in western Virginia, sits just outside the southwestern boundary of Mountain Lake Wilderness. Inside the boundary lies a highland plateau resting squarely on the Eastern Continental Divide, including isolated stands of virgin spruce and hemlock in a typical Appalachian hardwood forest, a mountain bog, and War Spur Overlook, which yields a panoramic view of this wilderness. Elevations range from about 2,200 feet to over 4,000 feet on Lone Pine Peak near the middle of the area. The diversity of flora and fauna is significant.
There are 21 miles of trail within the wilderness including about five miles of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (A.T., FT #1). Trail information is available on National Geographic-Trails Illustrated Map # 787 (Blacksburg-New River Valley).
Mountain Lake Wilderness is located in Craig and Giles Counties in southwest Virginia, and Monroe County, West Virginia. It is managed by the U.S. Forest Service as part of the Eastern Divide Ranger District 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 Mountain Lake 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.
Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 - Public law 111-11 (3/30/2009) An act to designate certain land as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System, to authorize certain programs and activities in the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture, and for other purposes.