Moore’s Creek State Forest

Overview

Moore’s Creek State Forest sits in a beautiful high-elevation valley in Rockbridge County, just outside Lexington. The 2,353-acre tract features mountain vistas, scenic trails, and abundant wildlife, including black bear, wild turkey, and a host of migratory songbirds. It is managed primarily for watershed protection and recreation.

The forest contains the headwaters of Moore’s Creek, and Lexington Reservoir is in the center of the state forest. The reservoir and immediate lands surrounding it are the property of the City of Lexington. Moore’s Creek above the reservoir provides habitat for trout. A large rock formation overlooks the reservoir and state forest. The property is adjacent to the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest.

×To ensure your safety and enjoyment, please read Before You Visit when planning your trip to a state forest.

At a Glance

Access Status:Open to the Public; but no direct access
Hours: Open daily from dawn until dusk

Physical Address:
Latitude/Longitude:
37° 44’ 54” N, 79° 39’ 24” W

Parking/Access: Only access is by parking on and hiking across the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest. From the intersection of Routes 11 and 60, in Lexington, head southwest on Route 11 for 0.9 miles; continue straight onto Route 251 north for 5.6 miles; continue straight onto Route 677 for 1.9 miles; continue onto Route 612 for 8.3 miles; make a right (North) onto USFS Road 3079.

Parking is available at the end of USFS Road 3079 (1 mile to large gate) in a couple of pull-offs along the road.

Walk down the hill past the gate, cross Smith Branch, and the first trail on your right will take you to Moore’s Creek State Forest.

Restroom Facilities: None

Visitors are asked to adopt a “leave-no-trace” ethic when visiting the forest, as there are no restrooms or trash cans on the forest itself. ​ ​

Other Facilities: None
Seasonal Closures: The USDA Forest Service does not clear USFS Road 3079, so the Moore’s Creek State Forest may be inaccessible due to snow in winter.

VDOF recommends that all forest visitors wear blaze orange or pink during hunting seasons.

Forest History

Moore’s Creek became a state forest in 2010. VDOF purchased it from the City of Lexington in 2008 with monies from the State Conservation Bond Fund. The city used the land primarily to protect the watershed around the city’s reservoir, but did conduct some timber harvesting below the south end of the lake, around the year 2000.

Forest Management

Having no direct management or public access to the forest has limited the amount of forest management on the Moore’s Creek State Forest. Recreational trail development and maintenance, along with some trout stream habitat improvements, comprise the bulk of forest management activities. The mixed hardwood forest provides watershed protection for the Lexington Reservoir.

Recreational Opportunities

Recreational uses of the Moore’s Creek State Forest are limited to primarily passive recreation, such as hiking and wildlife watching, due to accessibility issues.

The only access is by hiking from the George Washington Jefferson National Forest.

Visitors are asked to adopt a “leave-no-trace” ethic when visiting the forest, as there are no restrooms or trash cans on the forest itself.

ATV/ORV use, camping, and swimming are prohibited on all State Forests.

A State Forest Use Permit* is required for individuals aged 16 and older to hunt, fish, trap, horseback ride, or mountain bike on state forest lands. The permit can be purchased online at or where hunting licenses are sold.

Trails and Roads

  • 5 miles of forest trails – no vehicles
  • 2.8 miles of gated forest roads – no vehicles

Hiking

Hiking is permitted on all forest roads and trails.

The only access is by hiking from the George Washington Jefferson National Forest.

Mountain Biking

None

Horseback Riding

None

Fishing and Boating

The only access is by hiking from the George Washington Jefferson National Forest.

The City of Lexington owns the reservoir and associated dam. To fish in the reservoir, anglers pay $1 for a daily fishing pass instead of having to purchase an annual State Forest Use Permit – required for fishing on other State Forests.

The headwaters of Moore’s Creek (above the Reservoir) can be fished in accordance with state fishing regulations. Both a State Forest Use Permit and Virginia fishing license are required.

Hunting and Trapping

The only access is by hiking from the George Washington Jefferson National Forest.

Hunting and trapping are permitted with a valid State Forest Use Permit and valid hunting/trapping license in accordance with state regulations. Note that some regulations may be different than on private land, so check Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources Hunting Regulations for specific state forest details.

Other Recreational Opportunities

Other passive recreational opportunities, such as wildlife watching and nature photography, are available.

Educational Opportunities
  • Self-learning opportunities are available.
Contact Us

For more information or questions, e-mail us or use our contact form.

State Forest Main Office
Located at Cumberland State Forest
751 Oak Hill Road, Cumberland, VA 23040-2511
E-mail | (804) 492-4121

Local Contact
Zach Olinger, Forest Management and Education Specialist
106 Forestry Lane, Galax, VA 24333
E-mail | (276) 236-2322

Maps and Additional Resources
ImageTitleIDDescriptionContent Typedocument-category_hfilter