Outdoor Adventures near The Inn at Gristmill Square
Bath County is a great site for fishing, hiking, mountain biking, and other outdoor activities. You'll love the local scenery.
422 Forestry Road
Hot Springs, VA 24445
Take a beautiful, scenic 30 minute drive from the Inn at Gristmill Square to Lake Moomaw, a 2,530-acre lake almost completely surrounded by the Allegheny Mountains of the George Washington National Forest. There are 43 miles of undeveloped, wooded shoreline. This drive will take you to the Bolar Flat recreation area with a picnic area and a four-lane boat ramp, courtesy dock, marina, picnic areas and Bolar Beach, with bath houses open Memorial Day through Labor Day. At the marina, you can rent pontoon boats and canoes. There are about 10 miles of maintained hiking trails here. The Loop Trail (2.1 miles) leads you to two outstanding views of Lake Moomaw: the Grouse Point Overlook and the Islands Overlook.
Fishing is fantastic. The reservoir is deep enough for both warm water fish (bass, catfish, sunfish, crappie) and coldwater fish (trout). With this in mind, the lake is stocked with thousands of largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, black crappie, yellow perch and channel catfish. The Jackson River was already home to wild populations of smallmouth bass, rock bass, and chain pickerel.
PO Box 270
Covington, VA 24426 www.escatawbaflyfishing.com
Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, Escatawba Farms is cradled in the heart of the George Washington National Forest. They offer a secluded fishing experience on Dunlap Creek, a freestone stream that ambles its way through two miles of wooded mountains and fenced pastures.
To ensure peaceful, ideal angling, they limit the number of rods on the stream each day. For novice anglers and stillwater enthusiasts, Escatawba Farms boasts a one and a half-acre, spring-fed lake. So whether you fish the stream or the lake, you’ll be casting your line into waters holding dozens of big, cruising rainbows and brook trout, many of them citation size.
Escatawba Farms is located less than 30 minutes from The Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Virginia and from The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, WV.
Just six miles from The Inn at Gristmill Square is beautiful Hidden Valley, surrounded by the Allegheny Mountains of Virginia. Part of the George Washington National Forest, Hidden Valley has changed so little since the Warwick Mansion was built there in the mid-1800s that the area was used to film the 1993 post-Civil War movie Sommersby. According to publicity releases, after a search in 15 states, Hidden Valley was chosen because "its rugged and remote hill overlooking the pristine Jackson River presented an unspoiled, stark but picturesque setting. You could shoot 360 degrees and not know you were in the 20th century."
The 6.5 miles of the Jackson River offer excellent fishing for stocked and native trout and other cold water fish species. Approximately 2 miles of the Jackson River is a Special Regulation Area with restrictions on fishing methods and size. Contact the District for an update about fish stocking.
The 20 miles of hiking trails offer excellent opportunities for enjoying scenic views, fishing and hunting access, and for mountain biking. From the parking area, you can take a fairly easy loop hike of 5.5 miles that takes you along the Jackson River on one side and cross a suspension bridge to return on the other.How To Get There:
From Warm Springs, take State Route 39 west for 3 miles. Turn right onto McGuffin Rd. (State Route 621) and travel 1 mile and turn left on Hidden Valley Rd. Travel 2 miles to enter Hidden Valley.
Douthat State Park
The Outside Family
Vacation Guide named Virginia’s Douthat State Park one of the nation's 10 best. The park, which straddles Bath and Alleghany counties, is on the National Register of Historic Places. Douthat is one of the original six Virginia State Parks that opened June 15, 1936. It's nestled in the Allegheny Mountains and features some of Virginia’s most outstanding scenery. In addition, a 50-acre lake offers swimming, boating and seasonal trout fishing. It's a scenic 45-minute drive from the Inn at Gristmill Square bed and breakfast.Hiking Trails:
There are more than 40 miles of wooded hiking trails to choose from throughout the year, with hikes ranging from easy to difficult. No bridle (horse) trails. Many park trails are open to mountain bikers, however hikers have the right-of-way. Mountain Biking:
The Douthat State Park Mountain Bike Trail is an excellent single track. Middle Mountain Momma Mt. Bike Race is held here. Stony Run trail is a 2000' climb, Middle Mountain Trail takes you along the top, and there are a number of trails leading down the mountain on very technical single-track. Mountain side and Mountain view trails are great on the other side of the Park.
From the Inn at Gristmill Square, drive East on Rte. 39 about five miles to the Dan Ingalls Overlook for a spectacular view of the Allegheny Mountains, part of the Warm Springs Mountain Preserve. The view was much the same for the native Algonquin people, who called these mountains Allegheny, meaning “endless.” Since the 1800s, people have sought rejuvenation and recreation here, including Thomas Jefferson, who found these highlands both therapeutic and inspiring. Today, these historic highlands are also recognized as one of North America’s richest natural treasures. At Warm Springs Mountain and across the Allegheny Highlands, The Nature Conservancy works to preserve the region’s beauty and diversity of life for future generations.
A great hike of just 2.4 miles roundtrip begins at the Overlook. The Ingalls Overlook Trail is a well-marked interpretive hiking trail that provides an excellent introduction to the mountain. The trail climbs among a series of scenic rock formations before looping back to the main trail with another scenic view before returning to the overlook parking area.
Wildlife in the area includes migratory songbirds, raptors, black bear, bobcat, wild turkey, ruffed grouse, timber rattlesnake, wood frog, red-spotted newt. Plants include stunted pitch pine, Catawba rhododendron, mountain laurel, scrub oak, variable sedge, bunchberry, Fraser’s marsh St. John’s-wort.
Outfitter Rentals with Natural Retreats
Located at the Milk House Market on Route 220 in Warm Springs (1 mile from the Gristmill), Natural Retreats offers rentals for Fly-Fishing, Biking, Paddle Boarding, and Kayaking/Canoeing.
• Kayak and Canoe Rentals
• Mountain Bike Rentals (Daily and Weekly Rates Available)
• Guided Fly-Fishing or Rod, Reel, Line, Boots, and Wader Rentals
• Stand-Up Paddle Board Rentals
Please call them directly at 540-839-MILK to book
for the rental flyer and price sheet
Falling Springs Falls
A short 20-minute drive takes you in to Alleghany County and to the Falling Springs Falls. The scenic waterfall is located on Route 220, just five miles north of Covington, Virginia. The property has had extensive renovations to the overlook and grounds so that visitors can more safely stop and enjoy the view, making it one of the most visited spots in the Alleghany Highlands. The water from the falls flows into the Jackson River at the popular gathering spot of Camp Kyle on land owned by the R. W. Kyle family in the beautiful Falling Springs Valley.