Before You Visit

Virginia state forests are for the enjoyment of all citizens and visitors. We ask that all visitors respect our natural resources.

Plan Your Visit

Before you visit one of Virginia’s state forests:

  • Read state forest regulations below.
  • Check to see if a State Forest Use Permit is required for the activity you plan to do.
  • Read the state forest information for the forest you wish to visit, see if there are any special notices about that specific state forest. [link to find a state forest webpage]
  • If you’re not sure which state forest to visit, find a state forest.
  • Download or print the state forest map and directions for the forest you wish to visit – many state forests are remote with limited cell phone service. These maps will work with Avenza Maps™, a mobile map app that allows you to track your movements offline on your iOS and Android device without the need for cell service or internet connection. A free version of this app can be downloaded to your device through your app store.
  • Don’t forget to bring the essentials (e.g., backpack, water, trash bag, state forest use permit if needed, state licenses if required, any activity items).

State Forest Regulations

To ensure your safety, read state forest regulations before visiting any forest.

  • No trespassing after dark.
  • No campfires or open-air fires of any type.
  • No all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).
  • Dogs must be on a leash except for official service animals, per Administrative Code 4VAC10-30-230.
  • No removal of any plant or mineral material.
  • Hunting permitted on some select state forests with a valid State Forest Use Permit and valid hunting license in accordance with state hunting regulations.
  • Fishing permitted in designated areas only in accordance with state fishing regulations.
  • No motorized boats.
  • No cutting of timber without a Firewood Permit or having purchased an advertised timber sale.
    • Firewood permits are issued by DOF; firewood is generally sold by estimated cord, with DOF forester-designated tree or trees, or fallen trees on the ground in a given area. Contact the state forest headquarters about timber sales or Firewood Permits.
  • No injuring, defacing, disturbing, destroying, or disfiguring any part of the forest, nor any building, sign, equipment, or other property found therein.
  • No depositing in any part of the forest any garbage, sewerage, refuse, waste, fruit, vegetables, foodstuffs, boxes, tin cans, paper, or other litter except in designated containers for such purposes.
  • Alcoholic beverages of any type are prohibited. No person shall become intoxicated, or be under the influence of intoxicants or unlawful drugs, in public while within the confines of any forest. Public display or use of beer, wine, whiskey, or other intoxicating liquor, beverage or unlawful drugs, or the containers thereof prohibited.
  • Picnicking allowed only in the areas designated as picnic areas.
  • No camp, either temporary or permanent, may be maintained in any forest except with Camping Permit.
    • The state forest manager may issue special Camping Permits for organized groups or special events, such as Boy or Girl Scout Troops. Contact the state forest headquarters about group Camping Permits.
  • No person shall bring into or have in any forest any explosive or explosive substance. This regulation shall not apply to the lawful carrying of firearms and firearms ammunition.
  • No smoking in any structure or place where smoking is expressly prohibited.
  • No person shall drive a motorized vehicle in any forest during any period when signs erected along the particular road indicate that such road is closed to vehicular traffic, unless the persons are conducting state forest management or research.
  • No metal detectors.
  • No target shooting.
  • No firearms indoors at any state forest office (concealed carry or open carry), per Administrative Code 1VAC30-105-40.

View all Code of Virginia state forest regulations.

Contact Us

For more information or questions, e-mail us with “state forest name” in the subject line for specific state forest inquiries.