Wintering in Franklin County

When it comes to outdoor recreation, Franklin County has no off-season. With two lakes and four rivers, from the crest of the Blue Ridge to the Piedmont and the foothills in-between, it is a literal Winter Wonderland for you to explore.

Hikers at Smart View, Trail Family Cabin

Hikers at Smart View, Trail Family Cabin (Photo by Matt Ross)

View of the Trail Family log house taken in March 2017 when the Crooked Trail of Franklin County hiking series visited the site. According to the Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway, the house was built of hewn logs in 1890 and occupied until 1925 when it was stripped of flooring and used as a barn.

The house site is part of the Smart View Overlook and Recreation Area along the Blue Ridge Parkway at Mile Post 154.5. With 500 acres, this is Franklin County’s largest asset along the parkway. Smart View features a 3-mile main trial loop, with the option of shorter 2.1 or 1.6 mile loops which have been described as moderate in difficulty. The area includes picnic facilities and restrooms. In the distance, on a clear day you can see Philpott Lake 1,000 feet below. For more information, visit

Hiking, Biking & Paddling

Walking Trail sign

Walking Trail sign (Photo by Matt Ross)

Booker T. Washington National Monument
12130 Booker T Washington Hwy., Hardy, VA
199-acre tract with visitor center, 1850 historic farm complex with period animals, 2-miles of hiking trails.

Franklin County Park Recreation Park
2150 Sontag Rd., Rocky Mount, VA
150 acres, over 5.5 miles of hiking trails, nationally recognized disc golf course in a wooded recreational setting.

Grassy Hill Nature Preserve
Technology Dr., Rocky Mount, VA
1,440 acre tract with a 6.6-mile trail hosting old growth trees, rare and unusual plants with a fantastic view of Rocky Mount.

Paddling on the blueway

Paddling on the blueway (Photo by Matt Ross)

Jamison Mill Park Recreation Area
2000 Jamison Mill Rd., Henry, VA
300-acre wooded tract along the shores of Philpott Lake with over 6.25-miles of hiking/biking trails.

Smith Mountain Lake Community Park
1480 Parkway Ave., Moneta, VA
37-acre wooded tract along lake shore hosting 1.7-miles of hiking trails and fishing pier.

Smart View Recreation Area
Blue Ridge Parkway MP 154.5
500-acre wooded tract along Blue Ridge Parkway with 1890 log house and 3-miles of hiking trails.

Biking at Jamison Mill

Biking at Jamison Mill Park (Photo by Matt Ross)

Turkeycock Mountain Wildlife Management Area
Sontag Rd. (CR 619), Martinsville, VA
2,679 acres, hiking, horseback riding and wildlife viewing opportunities, dense hardwood covered mountain.

Twin Ridge Recreation Area
1052 Twin Ridge Marina Rd., Henry, VA
167-acre tranquil peninsula tract flanked by Philpott Lake with walking areas and scenic vista.

Waid Park Recreation Area
701 Waid Park Rd., Rocky Mount,VA
220-acre area along Pigg River with over 10-miles of multi-use trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. View a historic wagon road.

Birding & Wildlife Watching

Any season is perfect for watchable wildlife. Franklin County is part of Virginia’s Birding & Wildlife Trail Network that features over 600 viewing sites. The county is part of three different trail loops within the networks’ Mountain Region: Turkeycock, Southwest Piedmont, and Fairystone. For more information, visit