Are you using a screen reader? Click here to view the navigation links for this site as a bulleted list.

Partner logos: BLM, FWS, FS, NPS, University of Montana Logo
Connecting federal employees, scientists, educators, and the public with their wilderness heritage
Text size: A | A | A  [Print]

Thunder Ridge Wilderness

General Maps Contacts Area Management Wilderness Laws Volunteer


The United States Congress designated the Thunder Ridge Wilderness (map) in 1984 and it now has a total of 2,428 acres. All of this wilderness is located in Virginia and is managed by the Forest Service. The Thunder Ridge Wilderness is bordered by the James River Face Wilderness to the north.


The smallest of Virginia's Wildernesses, Thunder Ridge sits high on the northwestern slope of the Blue Ridge, separated from James River Face Wilderness by Petites Gap Road (gravel, FR #35). it is bordered on the south and east by the Blue Ridge Parkway. Elevations range from 1,320 feet on the northwest corner to 4,200 feet on Apple Orchard Mountain at the southern tip. Thunder Ridge dominates the center of the area, falling away sharply on the north slope and not as steeply on the south. The vegetation is primarily mixed upland and cove hardwoods.

This wilderness contains five miles of trail including about 3.5 miles of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (A.T., FT #1). Trail information is available on National Geographic-Trails Illustrated Map #789 (Lexington-Blue Ridge Mts).

Thunder Ridge Wilderness is located in Bedford, Botetourt, and Rockbridge Counties, in west central Virginia. It is managed by the U.S. Forest Service as part of the Glenwood-Pedlar Ranger Districts of the George Washington & Jefferson National Forests.

Planning to Visit the Thunder Ridge Wilderness?

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 Thunder Ridge Wilderness.
  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors
For more information on Leave No Trace, Visit the Leave No Trace, Inc. website.

Give us your feedback