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Daylong Outdoor Getaway
Picture of view from High Knob observation tower

Searching for a daylong outdoor adventure? We've got you covered.
See below for suggested trip itineraries and check out the Outdoor Recreation page for more ideas.

 Day Tripper: High Knob Edition
Sunrise Sightseeing: Flag Rock Recreation Area
Picture of Flag Rock landmark
Flag Rock Recreation Area: Spend the morning exploring this city park, located three miles above downtown Norton on the lower slopes of High Knob. Pictured above is the Flag Rock.
  • Visit the Flag Rock Overlook, which offers a sweeping view of downtown Norton and beyond. Click here for driving directions.
  • Want to work for your view? Leave your car at Legion Park and climb 1.5 miles to the recreation area. Click here for 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
Picture of High Knob Observation Tower
High Knob: Spend the afternoon exploring more recreation opportunities on High Knob.
  • Visit the High Knob Observation Tower, pictured above. 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. Click here for driving directions. Find out more about what you can see from the observation deck here.
  • 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. Find more information about the Chief Benge Trail here. More information about High Knob Recreation Area can be found here.
  • 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
Picture of sunset from High Knob
Spectacular Sunsets: 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. Click here for driving directions from any location.
  • 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 first section for driving directions.
If seeking alternative outdoor adventures or planning for your next trip, check out the below sites.
Searching for more ideas? Visit the Outdoor Recreation page.
 Picture of Little Stony Falls
Little Stony Falls: This 2.7-mile one-way hike meanders along Little Stony Creek downstream to Hanging Rock Recreation Area. The trail passes several waterfalls, including Little Stony Falls, pictured above.
Devil's Fork: This popular hiking trail, located in Scott County, is a three-mile round-trip hike to the Devil's Bathtub landmark.
Trail Notes: Technical terrain and multiple stream crossings. Check weather conditions before starting as water levels could be high following a significant rainfall. Start your trek early enough to complete this trail before sunset. Allow at least 3 hours to complete the trail. Multiple hikers have had to be rescued from this trail because they did not take proper precautions before hiking. 
Parking: Trailhead parking is also limited, though infrastructure and trail improvements are planned. If the parking lot is full, please do not opt to park along State Route 619. There are plenty of other equally beautiful places to explore in this area. Be respectful of neighboring private property owners and of the trail.
Bark Camp Recreation Area: Hiking, fishing, and boating opportunities abound at this recreation area. A 3.5-mile trail loops Bark Camp Lake. The .64-mile Kitchen Rock Trail passes by a rock shelter. Canoe or kayak the 61-acre lake or fish from the lakeshore. 

Day Tripper: Lakes and Rivers Edition 
Sunrise Sightseeing: Norton's Upper and Lower Reservoir 
 Picture of canoeists on Norton's Upper Reservoir
Norton Reservoir:  Spend the morning exploring Norton's 9.8-acre Upper Reservoir and its 7.8-acre Lower Reservoir. Click here for driving directions.
  • Canoe or kayak Norton's Upper Reservoir. Bring your own boat or head downtown to Pathfinders Outdoor Adventures and rent one for the day.
  • 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.
  • If time, drive a few more miles up the mountain and visit High Knob Recreation Area. Launch your canoe or kayak in its four-acre lake or hike the one-mile Lakeshore Loop Trail.
  • Head back to downtown Norton for lunch at one of these local eateries.
 Afternoon Adventure: Guest River Gorge
Picture of Guest River Picture of Guest River Gorge Trail 
Guest River Gorge Trail: Spend the afternoon walking, running, or biking the 5.5-mile Guest River Gorge Trail.
  • This crushed gravel path travels along the Guest River to its confluence with the Clinch River. Gentle grades accompany the footpath that is characterized by giant sandstone clifflines that tower above the trail and bring the sound of the Guest River to a thunderous roar in some sections along the footpath. 
  • The trail follows the former route of the Interstate Railroad, which had a line that ran from Miller Yard near Dungannon to Coeburn. After the line was abandoned, a group of local residents partnered with the U.S. Forest Service to build the trail along the railroad's former route. The trail celebrated its 25th anniversary in June 2015.
  • Visit this online trail guide for more details and background on the Guest River Gorge Trail.
Evening Exploration: Clinch River
Picture of Clinch River
Visit the Clinch River in St. Paul:
  • Grab a bite to eat in St. Paul, maybe at Sugar Hill Brewing Co. or Fat Boy's BBQ. Take your food to A.R. Matthews Memorial Park for a riverside picnic.
  • If arriving in town early, check out Clinch River Adventures. The outfitter, located adjacent to A.R. Matthews Memorial Park in a red caboose, offers canoe/kayak and tubing trips on the river.
  • If seeking a late afternoon/evening stroll, also check out the Sugar Hill Trail System, which offers eight miles of trails that travel along the Clinch River and through downtown St. Paul. 

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