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Things to Do

Relax. Recharge. Reset.

WanderLove: Check out six ideas and more as you schedule a road trip in Highland County.

Highland County offers a wide variety of activities to experience elevated mountain living.  Check out our annual events here.  Check out just some of our offerings below.  After just one visit, don’t be surprised by that feeling to return!  Explore other opportunities, lodging, restaurants and more with our member directory.

Barn Quilt Trail

What are those painted wooden quilt blocks adorned on barns and houses in Highland County?  They are barn quilts!  Beginning in 2011, Highland County was the first county in Virginia to have its very own Barn Quilt Trail.  With interesting names like “Five Reds,” “Colaw Apple,” or “Jacob’s Ladder,” each barn quilt tells a story, usually with significant special meaning about the owner, nature, family, business or design.  When you follow the Highland County Barn Quilt Trail, you’ll wind your way through our back roads with a purpose.  Can you spot them all?

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Virginia Maple Syrup Trail

Visit local Highland County Sugar Camps for a tour and taste of delicious maple syrup, get your passport stamped at each one, and receive a free gift!

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Get off the road and lace up your boots for some hiking in the clean mountain air of Highland County.  The Virginia Western Highland’s Trail Guide highlights four of Highland County’s hikes of varying difficulty.

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Biking opportunities in Highland County will bring you unspoiled views and challenging hills on our rural mountain roads.

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Fishing is a great way to get away!  Highland County offers three rivers for public fishing: the Bullpasture, the Potomac and Laurel Fork.  Favorites like rainbow, brown and brook trout swim the pure mountain streams.

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Hunting is a favorite pastime in Highland County in our rural, unspoiled mountains.  Whitetail deer, black bear, Eastern wild turkey, grouse and more can be found on private lands, George Washington and Jefferson National Forest and Highland Wildlife Management Areas.  Check with the Department of Wildlife Resources for regulations and season.

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Walking Photo


Take a stroll through our small towns and rural countryside to clear your mind.  Enjoy the Highland County Community Trail in Monterey for an easy loop that in Monterey.

Monterey Swimming Pool

Open from June to August, enjoy those summer days with the Highland County Recreation Commission pool, located next to the Highland County Public School complex in Monterey.

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Sounding Knob Fire Tower

Over 100 steps up the Sounding Knob Fire Tower will give you a lasting memory of one of the best views in Virginia, and maybe even some wobbly legs!  Restored by the generosity of Skip Jones and Steve Good in 2017, the tower sits just 1.3 miles up Sounding Knob Road from Rt. 250.  Open year-round from sunrise to sunset!

The Mansion House Museum

The Highland Historical Society runs a beautiful museum known as The Mansion House that served as a hospital during the Battle of McDowell in May of 1862.  Located at 161 Mansion House Road in McDowell, you can learn more about the significance of the Battle of McDowell during the Civil War with the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Orientation Center, get acquainted with local ancestors and the formation of the county, and catch a glimpse of the 1921 classic silent movie filmed in Highland County, Tol’able David.  The museum is typically open Thursdays through Saturdays from the first weekend of Maple Festival in March through the end of October, with other times by appointment.

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Valley Aerospace Team Rocket Launches

Join VAST for monthly rocket launches just south of Monterey, where visitors see models from only inches tall to over 6 feet tall take to the skies!

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Veterans Memorial Walk of Honor

Dedicated in 2007, the The Highland Veterans Memorial and Walk of Honor honors Veterans from all branches of service.  Visitors can stop, reflect and pay tribute with the commemorative engraved bricks, flags and plaques, located at the Monterey Courthouse Lawn at 165 West Main Street.

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