Garden Mountain Wilderness lies on the southern flank of Garden Mountain extending around the unique geological structure of Burkes Garden. The Burkes Garden geological feature began as a dome of Clinch sandstone. Its center has been eroded away to form the bowl of Burkes Garden, while the resulting scarp forms a backbone from which the wilderness extends. The wilderness surrounds the headwaters of Lick Creek, a native trout stream which also harbors the endangered Tennessee dace, and extends to the summit ridge of Brushy Mountain to the south. The forest varies by elevation and aspect. The beaver workings and alluvial soils along Lick Creek have developed dense thickets of rose-bay rhododendron below a canopy of tulip tree, red and white oak, red maple, basswood and cucumber tree. The drier ridges are home to Catawba rhododendron, flame azalea and the xeric oaks and hickories. Much of the terrain is rugged and steep.
There is one developed trail, totaling 2.5 miles. The Appalachian National Scenic Trail (A.T., FT #1) parallels the northern boundary of the area along the summit of Garden Mountain, while the Lick Creek Trail (FT #6522) provides access to the valley bottom within the wilderness. Both attract moderate to heavy use, since this is a prime destination for hikers, hunters and campers. Trail information is available on National Geographic-Trails Illustrated Map # 787 (Blacksburg-New River Valley).
Garden Mountain Wilderness is located in Bland County in southwest 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 Garden Mountain 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.