The smallest of Virginia's wilderness areas, Thunder Ridge sits high on the northeastern slope of the Blue Ridge, separated from James River Face Wilderness by Forest Service Road 35. It's bordered on the south by the famous Blue Ridge Parkway ("America's most scenic drive"), which runs from Shenandoah National Park to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 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 steep on the south. Up high, the vegetation is primarily mixed upland and cove hardwoods. In this section, you may see black bears and deer, squirrels and rabbits, raccoons and foxes, and wild turkeys and grouse. The U.S. Forest Service says the area may harbor several endangered or threatened species.

The Appalachian Trail runs through the Wilderness for approximately six miles. It takes in Thunder Ridge Overlook and leaves the area briefly on the south to reenter the southern corner. A second trail crosses a short piece of the northern section.

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c/o Glenwood-Pedlar Ranger District, P.O. Box 10
Natural Bridge Station, Virginia 24579

Visitor Information

Telephone Number: (540) 291-2188
The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

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