Saint Mary's Wilderness

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Saint Mary's Wilderness
Part of George Washington National Forest
Wilderness Area
Country United States
State Virginia
County Augusta
Elevation 3,400 ft (1,036.3 m)
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Highest point
 - elevation 3,640 ft (1,109.5 m)
Lowest point
 - elevation 1,780 ft (542.5 m)
Area 35,864 acres (14,513.6 ha) [1]
Established 1984
Management George Washington and Jefferson National Forests
Owner USDA Forest Service
IUCN category Ib - Wilderness Area
Nearest city Steele's Tavern, Virginia
Location of Saint Mary's Wilderness in Virginia
Website: George Washington and Jefferson National Forests - Saint Mary's Wilderness Area

Saint Mary's Wilderness is a U.S. Wilderness Area in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests. The wilderness area is located next to the Blue Ridge Parkway near the Parkway's northern terminus and consists of 35,864 acres (145.14 km2). Saint Mary's Wilderness is the largest Virginia Wilderness on national forest land,.[2] Saint Mary's Wilderness ranges in elevation from about 1,780 feet (543 m) to 3,640 feet (1,109 m). The area has about 27 miles (43 km) of hiking trails within or near its boundaries.

Saint Mary's Wilderness includes the drainages of Cellar Hollow, Spy Run, and the upper part of the Saint Mary's River. Each waterway is a tributary of the South River; via the Maury and James Rivers, which is part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.


The Saint Mary's River gorge was mined for manganese ore and iron ore from the early 1900s until the mines were abandoned in the 1950s. Scattered remains of the mining operations are still evident. Saint Mary's was designated a Wilderness as a part of the Virginia Wilderness Act of 1984.[3]


Saint Mary's Wilderness is particularly popular during summer due to a large number of waterfalls within its boundaries. See Saint Marys Waterfalls Photo Album. Fishermen can take native trout from the Saint Mary's River.[4]

There is an extensive network of hiking trails. Trails include:

  • Saint Mary's River Trail
  • Saint Mary's Waterfall Trail
  • Mine Bank Trail
  • Cellar Mountain Trail
  • Cold Springs Trail

See also


External links