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Raccoon Branch Wilderness

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The United States Congress designated the Raccoon Branch Wilderness (map) in 2009 and it now has a total of 4,225 acres. All of this wilderness is located in Virginia and is managed by the Forest Service.


Raccoon Branch Wilderness is located in Smyth County in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area in southwest Virginia. It contains extremely rugged country rising to a height of 4,000 feet on the high point of Dickey Ridge. The ridges are capped with resistant lower Cambrian quartzite, which is responsible for the great variations in altitude within the area. The area is dissected by numerous high gradient and deeply incised streams, all of which flow into the South Fork of the Holston River. The vegetation is diverse with cove hardwoods in the protected valleys and more xeric oak-pine on the ridges. Fraser fir is found at the highest elevations.

Six trails totaling 16 miles provide access to the area for hunters, fishermen, hikers and horseback riders. The Appalachian National Scenic Trail (A.T., FT #1) traverses the area for about 4 miles. Trail information is available on National Geographic-Trails Illustrated Maps # 786 (Mount Rogers), and # 318 (Mount Rogers High Country). The Hurricane and Raccoon Branch campgrounds, located just outside the wilderness, are convenient access points for visiting the wilderness.

Planning to Visit the Raccoon Branch 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 Raccoon Branch 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.

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