Open to the Public
Explore the trails at Warm Springs Mountain Preserve. View All
View preserve guidelines, download trail maps, and make the most of your visit to Warm Springs Mountain. Don't forget your binoculars! View All
Warm Springs Mountain Preserve helps stitch together thousands of acres of forest and conservation lands in western Virginia’s Allegheny Highlands. The preserve anchors our efforts to protect and restore a key wildlife corridor and habitat for an amazing diversity of natural communities, plants and animals.
9,269 acres on and around Warm Springs Mountain
The preserve features Virginia’s only substantial montane pine barren, a globally rare, arid, fire-dependent landscape. The mountain harbors at least two other rare natural communities, three rare plants and eight rare invertebrates. Situated within a 77,000-acre unfragmented, largely roadless forest block, the preserve helps maintain healthy, breeding populations of interior-forest-dwelling songbirds, provides key habitat for wide-ranging mammals, and protects headwater tributaries of both the Jackson and Cowpasture rivers.
Through diverse conservation partnerships, the Conservancy continues to research, protect and, in certain areas, restore the rich ecology of Warm Springs Mountain and the Allegheny Highlands. Currently, our key strategies include:
- Collaboration with federal and state agencies to restore the historic fire regime of fire-adapted and fire-dependent pine and oak forest communities
- Inventory, monitoring, and control of non-native invasive plant species
- Working with the George Washington National Forest to build and manage a network of resilient forest sites critical to the preservation of biodiversity within the Central Appalachians
We have ongoing fundraising needs to support our conservation work on the mountain. If you are interested in contributing or learning more about what your funds could support, please contact Virginia’s director of philanthropy, Catherine Holley.
March 2012 marks the 10th anniversary of the preserve: View our anniversary slideshow.
LEAF Interns assist in clearing trails at Warm Springs.
Ingalls Overlook Trail
See how the Conservancy conducts prescribed fires at Warm Springs Mountain.
Two trails are currently open to the public: the Ingalls Overlook Trail and the Sandy Gap Trail.
Ingalls Overlook Trail — At the northern end of the preserve, park at the Dan Ingalls Overlook, located on Route 39 just outside the village of Warm Springs. Here you will find the trailhead for the Ingalls Overlook Trail. Interpretive signs along the trail (2.4-mile round trip) provide an excellent introduction to the mountain.
Sandy Gap Trail — At the southern end of the preserve, park at the small gravel lot on Route 703 (Airport Road) just past the south entrance to Bald Knob. Cross the paved road to the gravel Bald Knob service road and you will find the trailhead for the Sandy Gap Trail. Built by the Civilian Conservation Corp in the 1930’s, this trail (3.2-mile one-way trip) provides excellent views to the east, travels through the George Washington National Forest, and connects to Douthat State Park.
Go on a treasure hunt with your family! What will you find?
Visit Warm Springs for outdoor adventures and an inspiring conservation story. Learn more in our Passport to Nature: Escape to Warm Springs Mountain.
Local Conservancy staff members periodically offer guided hikes, providing visitors with opportunities to explore many facets of the mountain. Contact our Warm Springs office to inquire about group tours: (540) 839-3599.
Please stay on the hiking trails to avoid harming sensitive habitat. Download trail brochures before your trip to Warm Springs Mountain Preserve:
Warm Springs Mountain Preserve is located in Bath County, Virginia - approximately 60 minutes west of Lexington, 75 minutes southwest of Staunton, and 30 minutes north of Covington. The Preserve’s public trails are best accessed from either State Route 39 just east of the village of Warm Springs at the Dan Ingalls Overlook, or from State Route 703 near Ingalls Field Airport.
Download a vicinity map to help plan your visit.