The Highland Center © 2015
The Highland Inn
"Pride of the Mountains" since 1904
68 West Main Street
Post Office Box 40
Monterey, Virginia 24465
For Room Reservations please call us direct at
Find out more on our rooms and reservations pages.
Highland County is still one of the most remote locales in Virginia. Activities can be spread out across two states. We will use up to a 60 minute driving time limit to tell you of activities in our area. Click on highlighted subjects for more information.
The Great Outdoors
A good place to start enjoying the outdoors in Highland County is to visit the Virginia WMA in Highland County. There are two main Wildlife Management Areas; part of Jack Mountain about five miles from Monterey and the Bullpasture River Gorge area which is about 11 miles south of McDowell. The above website link will also provide you with a map to go along with the description of the areas. If you are not a hunter, keep track of hunting season as this would not be the best time for a hike. Some gates are open seasonally for cars but low water crossings are usually involved and should be used with caution. The pedestrian suspension bridge at the Gorge keeps your feet dry if you are hiking.
The George Washington section of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests makes up a good portion of Highland County. The eastern part is managed by the North River Ranger District which includes the Confederate Breastworks on Shenandoah Mountain which is a good place for a hike (and restrooms). The western part along with Highland County's Laurel Forks Special Management Area is managed by the Warm Springs Ranger District. The Warm Springs District covers activities and information from Lake Mooma and Bolar Mountain in Bath County all the Way to the Laurel Forks SMA. Laurel Forks was the home of the 2004 Capitol Holiday Tree, a huge red spruce. The drive alone to Laurel Forks makes visiting this special area more than worthwhile, but it is remote and not the first choice for casual hikers.
Several Audobon and Birding Clubs visit Highland County for excellent opportunies of seeing a diversity of birds including some that are rare. The Bath-Highland Bird Club (468-2700) is happy to touch base with other clubs. Excellent information on Nature Trails, Wildflower Trails and Birding Trails can be found on the Chamber's Activities page.
Suspension Bridge at the Bullpasture River Gorge
Swimming in Highland County can be a "refreshing" experience considering the water temperature. Officially VDGIF discourages swimming at the Bullpasture River Gorge but it will take more than being “discouraged” to keep locals from enjoying this traditional swimming hole. The Bath County Pump Storage Station maintains a seasonal 325 acre recreation site just south of the Highland County Line at Sunrise on CR 600. A swimming lake has a beach and can be used for a nominal fee. The link will also tell you about this unique power generating station. Since 9/11 the station itself is no longer accessible.
The age old Virginia mountains tradition of "taking the waters" can still be enjoyed at the Jefferson Pools. Operated by the Homestead the two bath houses are on the site of the long gone Warm Springs Hotel in Bath County. This is truly a historic soak as the men's bath house is the same building used by Thomas Jefferson. An hour soak is about $17 and is only about 30 miles from the Inn. Spa services are available. Here is a link for Bath County.
The Bull Pasture, South Branch of the Potomac and Jackson Rivers offers several choices for fishing. The Virginia Trout Company has fishing next to their trout ponds. For other hunting, fishing or supplies checkout the Chamber's Fishing & Hunting Directory. For more information on licenses and seasons this is the VDGIF Hunting webpage and the VDGIF Fishing webpage.
Thinking about a horseback trail ride? Bull Pasture Mountain Ranch has spectacular views. In West Virginia, Yokums Stables provides rides to the top of Seneca Rocks. Shaws Fork Equestrian Campground, is a trail head used by many who have their own horses. If you want to do some caving or rock climbing check out Highland Adventures.
A new course has opened about 26 miles away outside of Franklin WV called The Highlands Golf Club. The Homestead Courses including the PGA Cascades course in Bath County were ranked #1 in Virginia by Golf Magazine. Some of our guests like to stay with us and visit the Homestead in one direction and drive a little further and visit Canaan Valley for golfing in the other direction, about 70 miles from Monterey. Snowshoe Mountain has the Raven Golf Club which reportedly will give you a work out.
Highland County and a good part of the neighboring areas of West Virginia provide some of the darkest skies in the mid-Atlantic region. The Northern Virginia Astronomy Club has excellent maps of light pollution for this area. That really dark spot you can barely see on the Virginia map is Highland County! We appreciate NOVAC’s efforts to minimize light pollution.
Highland County is host to the Annual Mountain Mamma Road Bike Challenge. The Chamber has maps to routes in Highland County on their Bike Highland County Page. Bike the Valley will give you a large map and route information to the central Shenandoah area which includes Highland County.
Winter sports in our area include downhill skiing, snowboarding, snowtubing and cross-country skiing. Laurel Forks Special Management Area is used by cross country skiers and the Homestead Winter Activities have skiing with their guests having priority. Ask for "Day Guest Rates". We are about halfway between Staunton at Interstate 81 and Snowshoe Mountain. We get several winter guests that will break up the 96 mile mountain trip by stopping with us for the night. Here is a page with directions from the Inn to Snowshoe. Some guests will stay with us and visit both Snowshoe and Canaan Valley.
The north and west borders of Highland County are West Virginia and several attractions are in the counties just across the state line. Ready for a train ride? You have two choices within a 50 mile drive. Cass Scenic Railroad State Park is a regular attraction and day trip for our guests. Just north of Cass and a little closer to the Inn is the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad. Both railroads have something different to offer, so check them both out. Between Durbin and Cass is the Green Bank National Radio Astronomy Observatory. The NRAO has a new visitors program and just wait until you see the world's largest fully steerable single aperture antenna!
The Monongahela National Forest offers the Spruce Knob - Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area just across the Virginia border into West Virginia. Spruce Knob is the highest point in West Virginia while Seneca Rocks is one of the most magnificent rock outcroppings you will see. Another popular day trip for our guests. Nearby are the spectacular Seneca Caverns and Smoke Hole Caverns. Here are links to neighboring Pendleton County and Pocahontas County.