Powell Valley Overlook

The Great Appalachian Road Trip

The Gems of Southwest Virginia – Love the Outdoors

There’s so much to love about Virginia’s Appalachian Mountains. But don’t take our word for it! Take the Great Appalachian Road Trip and find out why, particularly here in the beautiful southwest, Virginia is for Lovers. From “God’s Thumbprint” to the Great Stone Face, there’s a world of fun to explore in the Heart of Appalachia.

As you travel around the region, add some love to your vacation with photos at any of our 25 LOVEworks! Scattered throughout our Appalachian Mountains, you’ll find unique stops and breathtaking views all along the way.

Plus, with over 300 LOVEworks across the Commonwealth, join the hashtag #LOVEVA and spread the love.

So go ahead… Find something new to adore in the Heart of Appalachia.

“Love to Bike”

Burke’s Garden

37.1251  -81.3573

Burkes Garden Ariel View

Just a short drive from the town of Tazewell, you will find the largest Rural Historic District in the state, as well as Virginia’s highest valley, with the floor looming over 3,000 feet above sea level. From the air, the bowl-shaped valley closely resembles a volcanic crater, resulting from the collapse of an ancient limestone cave. The Heart of Appalachia Touring & Bicycle Route begins in this serene, pastoral landscape and winds over 100 miles through three counties to Saint Paul, VA. As you make your way into the Garden, pause for a photo op at the Virginia is for Lovers LOVEworks Barn Quilt on your right. After descending into the valley, you can set out for a leisurely exploration by bike or by car. On the Eastern loop, the Burke’s Garden Artisan Guild is housed in the historic Post Office.  Access to the famed Appalachian Trail lies at the end of West End Road and rewards you with a picturesque view over the Garden following a steep, 1.6-mile, southbound hike. In addition to the breathtaking scenery you’ll find Mattie’s Place – a true Amish owned and operated general store offering fresh local food and baked goods you won’t soon forget. Enjoy your meal on the log-cabin-style covered porch as you watch the farm animals graze peacefully nearby. If you’re in the mood for a different atmosphere, head back to Tazewell where you will find several small retail shops and restaurants. Located outside of town on the way to your next stop is Fisher and Company. Renowned for their barbecue and desserts among the locals, they are situated just off Route 460 in a historic, stand-alone building near the Crab Orchard Museum & Pioneer Park.

Discover more to love…

“Love to Off-Road”

Southern Gap 

37.2450  -82.1685

Southern Gap Cabins

One of the premier outdoor recreation attractions in the Southeast United States, Southern Gap is home to the Coal Canyon ATV Trail. Here you can rent UTVs and enjoy a day of off-roading on over 200 miles of trails where you can ride into the nearby towns Haysi, Grundy, or even the Breaks Interstate Park for lunch, moonshine tastings and more. Southern Gap is home to another unique LOVEworks piece, which is a great photo opportunity and attracts many wedding photographers! While enjoying the morning mist and dramatic evening sunsets, you may be rewarded with an amazing sight not often seen in the Eastern United States – a majestic herd of elk, which is a successful repopulation project of the Virginia Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. During the day we recommend you try out the Birding Trail, with over 220 documented species having been spotted. At night, you will find yourself under a blanket of stars. Southern Gap Outdoor Adventure offers RV and primitive camping, as well as several cozy cabins with excellent views!

Breaks Park Fence View

“Love to Hike”

Breaks Interstate Park

37.2863  -82.2945

Breaks Interstate Park is one of only two interstate parks in the entire United States. Gracing the park entrance is another unique LOVEworks… so don’t miss this photo op! Once inside the park, you will find hiking trails, rock climbing, a plethora of lodging options, the Russell Fork Gorge, which is also known as the “Grand Canyon of the South”, the Rhododendron Restaurant overlooking the Gorge, and (when not closed due to COVID 19), a Splash Pad for the kids and Ziplines for all those who dare. Soon, construction will begin on North America’s Longest Pedestrian Bridge, which will take the not-so-faint-of-heart on a trek high above the gorge, where you will cross from Virginia into Kentucky! Plan a visit to Haysi Supply Company for all your rental needs to float the river. Also visit the locally owned Pizza Factory in Haysi for lunch, where you will find unique daily specials – not just pizza!

Other nearby LOVEworks:

Dickenson-Bundy Log House