Weekend Outdoor Getaway

Photo of High Knob Observation Tower walkway

Weekend Outdoor Getaway


Searching for a weekend outdoor adventure? We've got you covered. See suggested trips below. Visit the Outdoor Recreation page for more ideas.

Weekend Warrior: Day One: High Knob Edition

Sunrise Sightseeing: Flag Rock Recreation Area

Flag Rock view.jpgFlag Rock

Spend the morning exploring Flag Rock Recreation Area, a city park located three miles above downtown Norton on the lower slopes of High Knob.

  • Visit the Flag Rock Overlook, which offers a sweeping view of downtown Norton and beyond. Driving Directions.
  • Want to work for your view? Leave your car at Legion Park and climb 1.1 miles to the recreation area. More information on the Flag Rock Trail.
  • Snap a photo with the city's popular "Woodbooger" statue as you walk the gravel footpath back to the parking area. 
  • Get your heart pumping by hiking or mountain biking the eight-mile Flag Rock Area Trails system, canoeing or kayaking the city's 9.8-acre Upper Reservoir, or bouldering/rock climbing the sandstone cliffs and boulders that span the recreation area. If seeking a more relaxing excursion, go fishing in the city's Upper and Lower Reservoirs. See the Flag Rock Recreation Area page for more information on each activity and driving directions.
  • Head back to downtown Norton for lunch at one of these Local Eateries.

Afternoon Adventure: High Knob

High Knob tower.jpgHigh Knob Observation Tower

Spend the afternoon exploring more recreation opportunities on High Knob.

  • Visit the High Knob Observation Tower. Located atop the mountain's 4,230-foot summit and five miles above downtown Norton, enjoy views of distant peaks as far away as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and West Virginia. Driving Directions. Find out more about what you can see from the Observation Deck.
  • Hike to High Knob Recreation Area. A one-mile trail (also the start of the almost 19-mile Chief Benge Trail) travels from the High Knob Observation Tower parking lot to High Knob Recreation Area. Learn more about the Chief Benge Trail. Learn more about High Knob Recreation Area.
  • Take a scenic drive back to downtown Norton. Stop by Bark Camp Lake Recreation Area in neighboring Scott County on the return trip by following this Driving Route. Note: This route does include some Forest Service gravel roads that are generally kept in good condition. Bark Camp Recreation Area includes a 61-acre lake, campground, as well as fishing, boating, mountain biking, and hiking opportunities.
  • Eat Dinner in downtown Norton.

Evening Exploration: Southwest Virginia Sunset

High Knob Sunset.jpgLooking toward Powell Valley from the High Knob summit

Check out these overlooks for exceptional sunsets.

  • Powell Valley Overlook: Located on U.S. 23 North between Big Stone Gap and Norton, this overlook offers sweeping views of Powell Valley and surrounding mountains. Driving Directions.
  • High Knob Observation Tower: Standing atop the 4,230-foot summit offers a great vantage of Southwest Virginia's spectacular sunsets, as pictured above. See previous section for driving directions.
  • Flag Rock Overlook: Resting at 3,200 feet in elevation, the overlook also provides a great vantage to watch the sun slip below the horizon as the lights in downtown Norton illuminate the surrounding hillsides. See above listing for driving directions.

Overnight Accommodations

Photo of downtown Norton at sunsetView of Downtown Norton

Norton Lodging

  • If seeking the great indoors, check out these Hotels.
  • If wanting to camp, Flag Rock Recreation Area has an 18-site campground open April 1-Oct. 30. See the Campground Page for details. Also check out these other Area Campgrounds.

Weekend Warrior: Day Two: Lakes and Rivers Edition

Sunrise Sightseeing: Little Stony Falls National Recreation Trail

little stony falls.JPGLittle Stony Falls

  • Take a hike: A 2.7-mile (one-way) footpath meanders along Little Stony Creek downstream to Hanging Rock Recreation Area. The trail passes several waterfalls, including Little Stony Falls, pictured above. The trailhead closest to Little Stony Falls is located outside Coeburn in Scott County about 17 miles from downtown Norton. Driving Directions to the trailhead from downtown Norton.
  • Love to fish? Little Stony Creek is also a special regulation trout water and is strictly catch and release. It includes the portion of Little Stony Creek and its tributaries within the Jefferson National Forest from the Falls of Little Stony Creek downstream to a posted sign at the Hanging Rock Recreation Area. See the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Website for more information. Park at Hanging Rock Recreation Area, which offers easy access to the creek. Driving Directions to the recreation area.
  • Scenic drive. Take the scenic route back to downtown Norton, if parked at the upper trailhead for Little Stony Falls. Note: This route includes gravel roads that might not be suitable for some vehicles. Some Forest Service roads may be gated during winter months.
    -- From the trailhead parking lot turn right back onto Forest Road 701. Take this road approximately eight-tenths of a mile until reaching an intersection with Forest Road 700.
    -- Turn left on to FR 700. Travel this road for about 3.5 miles until it intersects State Route 822. Turn right.
    -- Follow SR 822 for approximately 2.6 miles to its intersection with State Route 699 (Pine Camp Road). **Note: After traveling about a mile on SR 822, you'll pass the turn off for Bark Camp Lake Recreation Area. If you have time, take the road to the recreation area, which offers a campground, fishing, boating, and hiking opportunities. There is a $3 day use fee.
    -- At the SR 822/SR 699 intersection, turn left. After a short time on SR 699, you'll intersect SR 706. Turn left.
    -- Follow SR 706 for about 1.2 miles and continue onto Forest Road 238. Stay on this road approximately 5 miles. At this time you'll reach the approach road to the High Knob observation tower. Take a detour for a visit to the tower or continue on FR 238 for another half mile to its intersection with State Route 619. Turn right and stay on SR 619 almost four miles to get back to downtown Norton.
  • Eat lunch at one of these Local Restaurants in downtown Norton.

Afternoon Adventure: North Fork of Pound Reservoir

Photo of Pound ReservoirNorth Fork of Pound Reservoir as seen from the Laurel Fork Trail

Explore the North Fork of Pound Reservoir: The 154-acre lake offers 13.5 miles of wooded shoreline and is located about 17 miles from downtown Norton outside Pound.

Evening Exploration: Norton Reservoir

reservoir.jpgNorton's Upper Reservoir as seen from the Lake Lake Show Trail

Spend a late afternoon/early evening exploring Norton's 9.8-acre Upper Reservoir and its 7.8-acre Lower Reservoir. Driving Directions.

  • If opting to visit Norton's Upper Reservoir earlier in the day, canoe or kayak. Bring your own boat or head downtown to Pathfinders Outdoor Adventures and rent one.
  • Cast a line. Norton's Upper Reservoir is a state-stocked trout water. Visit the city's Fishing Page for more information and regulations.
  • Take a stroll around the Upper Reservoir via the Lake Lake Show Trail, an almost one-mile hiking and mountain biking trail that circles the lake and also offers views of the Lower Reservoir. See the city's Flag Rock Area Trails page for more information.
  • Either head back to downtown Norton for dinner at one of these Local Eateries or get dinner to go and have a picnic along the Reservoir's shoreline.

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