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James River Face Wilderness

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The United States Congress designated the James River Face Wilderness (map) in 1975 and it now has a total of 8,907 acres. All of this wilderness is located in Virginia and is managed by the Forest Service. The James River Face Wilderness is bordered by the Thunder Ridge Wilderness to the south.


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.

Planning to Visit the James River Face 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 James River Face 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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