Lesesne State Forest


The upper research site is experiencing problems with Phytophthora, a soil-borne fungus that is easily spread on the shoes of people. Please do not enter this area!! Chestnut seedlings are being lost to Phytophthora, representing the loss of much work and progress toward restoring the American chestnut to Virginia’s forests.

Please visit the south gate (lower research area) to learn more about the ongoing chestnut research at Lesesne State Forest.

This 422-acre forest is located in Nelson County. A gift to the commonwealth, it is a wildlife sanctuary and designated for research on the American chestnut. Lesesne is open to the public during daylight hours for hiking and horseback riding. Learn more about what we're doing at Lesesne.

  • Hunting: Archery and black powder deer hunting are permitted on the Lesesne State Forest according to Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources hunting regulations and dates.

  • Lat-Long: 37° 50’ 9.3”, 78° 58’ 14.6”

Use Permit | Parking/Hours | Recreation | Regulations

State Forest Use Permit

A State Forest Use Permit may be required for visitors to the state forests.

Parking/Hours of Operation

  • Open daily from dawn to dusk.
  • Parking and access may be limited in certain areas. First come, first served basis.
  • Email the forest personnel.

Recreation Opportunities

All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs)

Motorized vehicles of any type are prohibited on all of the state forests.


Camping is not allowed.

Horseback Riding

Horses are permitted on the forest.

Coggins Test Certificates must be available for each horse on State lands.

We recommend that equestrians dismount and lead their horse over bridges and across streams.


Hunting is permitted on the Lesesne State Forest. All persons, except those legally exempt under Virginia law, must carry a valid Virginia hunting license AND a State Forest Use Permit to hunt or trap on the forest.

State Forest hunting regulations and seasons follow those of the county in which the State Forest is located. Check the Virginia Department Of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) Hunting & Trapping Regulations and Information for special restrictions on State Forest lands, such as Either-Sex Deer Hunting Days.

Wear blaze orange during hunting season.

State Forest Regulations

To ensure your safety, read our complete state forest regulations before visiting a forest.

  • No removal of any tree, plant or mineral.
  • Remove all trash.
  • Motorized vehicles of any type are prohibited
  • No camping or public display of alcohol.
  • No fireworks, campfires or open air fires of any type.
  • Lawful firearms are permitted.
  • Hunting is permitted with a valid State Forest Use Permit and valid hunting license in accordance with state hunting regulations.
  • Fishing in designated areas only in accordance with state fishing regulations.
  • Gasoline motorized boats are not permitted.
  • Vehicular traffic on established roads only; not permitted on gated roads.

Last modified: Tuesday, 29-Sep-2020 09:23:59 EDT