Jefferson National Forest Passes & Permits
Welcome to Jefferson National Forest Passes & Permits
The George Washington National Forest and Jefferson National Forest were administratively combined in 1995 to form the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests. The two National Forests contain nearly 1.8 million acres of public land, representing one of the largest blocks of public land in the eastern United States.

The Jefferson National Forest is comprised of lands located in Virginia (690,106 Acres), West Virginia (18,526 Acres) and Kentucky (961 Acres). The George Washington National Forest is comprised of lands located in Virginia (956,222 Acres) and West Virginia (104,858 Acres). The totals for the combined George Washington and Jefferson National Forests are 1,646,328 acres in Virginia; 123,384 acres in West Virginia; and 961 acres in Kentucky.

The Jefferson National Forest contains four Ranger Districts: Clinch, Glenwood, and the Eastern Divide. Also on the Jefferson National Forest is the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. The George Washington National Forest contains Ranger Districts: North River, James River, Lee, Pedlar, and Warm Springs.

The George Washington and Jefferson National Forests are a part of the Appalachian Hardwood Forest which is located within the Eastern Deciduous Forest Province. There are over 40 tree species represented on the National Forests and over 2,000 species of shrubs and herbaceous plants. Hardwood-dominated forest types comprise approximately 80 percent of the acreage and conifers comprise about 20 percent. There is much variation in the vegetation and many natural changes are taking place as forest succession progresses.

  • 1.02 million acres of the National Forests are generally remote, undeveloped lands where a variety activities may occur.
  • 689,600 acres (39%) of the 1.8 million acres are actively managed for the production of timber and wood products.
  • 89,862 acres (5%) of the 1.8 million acres are currently classified as Wilderness, where limited human activity may occur.
A wide range of timber harvest cutting methods are utilized based on site-specific analysis. Virtually all reforestation techniques utilize natural regeneration of upland hardwood species. In the mid-1990s, timber harvests averaged about 4,000 acres annually to meet various resource objectives ranging from forest health to specific wildlife habitat requirements. The total value for timber sold in 1996 amounted to $3.4 million.

The Forests transportation network has nearly 3,000 miles of National Forest System Roads which range from paved highways to non-surfaced roads designed for high clearance vehicles. Many of these roads are available for pleasure driving, the removal of forest products, bicycling and scenic viewing. Interstate 81, U.S., and State highways also cross or adjoin the National Forests. In addition, three National Forest Scenic Byways traverse 90 miles of the Forests affording vehicular access to areas of scenic beauty.

The National Forests are traversed by the Blue Ridge Parkway and a portion of the Forests adjoin the Shenandoah National Park.

Because the National Forests are located in the Blue Ridge, Central Ridge and Valley, Allegheny, and Cumberland Plateau physiographic provinces, habitat is provided for a wide variety of species including at least 70 amphibian and reptiles and many neo-tropical birds. At 5,729 feet, Virginia's tallest peak (Mount Rogers) is located here.

The Forests also provide habitat for approximately 200 species of birds. Sixty percent of the neo-tropical birds are forest interior species and require large blocks of undisturbed forest habitat, while 40 percent of them require early successional habitat. The Forests are home to at least 55 species of mammals ranging from white-tailed deer to several very rare species, including the water shrew and rock vole. Twenty-seven of the plants and animals species found on the Forests are listed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service as threatened or endangered. The Forests afford excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing, as well as hunting and fishing.

The Forests are located within eight major river basins -- the Potomac, James, Roanoke, New, Big Sandy, Holston, Cumberland, and Clinch Rivers. Average discharge of surface water from National Forest lands is estimated to be 2.2 million acre feet. The Forests contain 2,340 miles of perennial streams, of which over 1,000 miles are trout waters. There are 82 reservoirs within or immediately downstream from the National Forests, 16 of which are used for municipal water supply. Lake Moomaw is among the largest reservoir (2530 acres) providing flood control, water quality control, and recreation opportunities.

The lakes, ponds and reservoirs located on the Forests support over 100 species of freshwater fishes and mussels, of which 26 species are listed as threatened, endangered, or sensitive. These aquatic habitats support a diverse recreational fishery supporting greater than 374,000 recreation user days each year.

Watersheds and stream channel stability are still recovering from the effects of historic land use practices, combined with major storms. Sedimentation, flooding, and low flow regimes are concerns in some watersheds. There is also concern about acidification of streams from acid deposition. Ten percent of trout streams are already acidified.

Developed recreation opportunities are offered at over 200 sites on the Forests. These opportunities vary from minimally developed sites such as ten unit picnic areas with vault toilets and hand pumps, small scenic overlooks, and small non-fee campgrounds to highly developed recreation complexes providing swimming beaches, camping spurs with utility hookups, warm showers, and flush toilets.

The Forests have approximately 2,000 miles of hiking trails. The internationally famous Appalachian National Scenic Trail extends over 330 miles across the Forests as it wends its way between Maine and Georgia. In addition, there are nine National Recreation Trails totaling nearly 90 miles.

The George Washington and Jefferson National Forests comprise approximately 80 percent of the public hunting lands located in Virginia. Nearly 75 percent of all Virginia hunters hunt on the National Forests, and hunting is among the most popular recreation activities on the Forests. Last year approximately 100,000 hunters visited the Forests. The Forests provide the majority of the black bear and ruffed grouse habitat in Virginia. The Forests have also constructed and maintain seven shooting ranges for the free use and enjoyment of our visitors.

The Forests include four active ATV routes totaling approximately 60 miles. All active routes are open to ATV's and unlicensed motorcycles, but use is restricted to designated trails. Certain routes are also open to full-sized 4-wheel-drive vehicles. Other routes are open during the hunting season for ATV use by disabled hunters. The Forests also feature several hundred miles of routes suitable for 4-wheel-drive vehiclesThe Forests manage 15 Wildernesses totaling approximately 90,000 acres. Wilderness use is estimated at nearly 100,000 recreation visitor days annually. The 7,580-acre Mount Pleasant National Scenic Area is located on the Forests, with primitive experiences emphasized. In addition, 32 special-interest areas on the Forests emphasize dispersed recreation opportunities.

Major insect pests include the gypsy moth, southern pine beetle, and hemlock woolly adelgid. Major disease problems include oak decline, dogwood anthracnose, and shoestring root rot.

The gypsy moth began its defoliation on the Forest in 1986. Since hardwood stands occur on about 80 percent of Forest acreage and because the health of many stands are impaired by oak decline, the gypsy moth has caused dramatic impacts across the Forests. Annual defoliation episodes exceeding 100,000 acres have occurred. Apart from the annual suppression action being taken to combat the gypsy moth, short- and long-term research is occurring to document the effects of this drastic change to forest conditions. Silvicultural techniques are being extensively applied, in conjunction with the timber sale program, to reduce the susceptibility and vulnerability of the forest to gypsy moth.
Get Passes & Permits
Image of the Interagency PassThe Interagency Pass is one of several pass options that allows you to gain access to many of standard amenity recreation sites managed by the National Park Service, the USDA Forest Service, the DOI Bureau of Land Management, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Click here for more information about the Interagency Pass.
Buy your Interagency Pass now

Location Information
Name: Jefferson National Forest
Address: 5162 Valleypointe Parkway
  Roanoke, VA 24019
Phone: (540) 265-5100
Visit the Jefferson National Forest Website

More Pass and Permit Sites:
Acadia National ParkAllegheny National Forest
Angeles National ForestAransas National Wildlife Refuge
Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife RefugeAshley National Forest
Assabet River National Wildlife RefugeBalcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge
Black Hills National ForestBlack Hills National Forest - Christmas Tree
Boise National ForestBridger-Teton National Forest
Cache National ForestCape Cod National Seashore
Caribbean National ForestCaribou-Targhee National Forest
Chattahoochee National ForestChequamegon-Nicolet National Forest
Chequamegon-Nicolet National ForestCherokee National Forest
Chincoteague National Wildlife RefugeChippewa National Forest
Chugach National ForestCibola National Forest
Cibola National Wildlife RefugeCleveland National Forest
Coconino National ForestColumbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
Coronado National ForestCuyahoga Valley National Park
Daniel Boone National ForestDenali National Park & Preserve
Deschutes National ForestDumont Dunes Off-Highway Vehicle Area
Eastern Massachusetts National Wildlife Refuge ComplexEl Mirage Off-Highway Vehicle Area
El Yunque National ForestEverglades National Park
Finger Lakes National ForestFlathead National Forest
Francis Marion National ForestGallatin National Forest
George Washington National ForestGifford Pinchot National Forest
Glacier National ParkGrand Canyon National Park
Grand Mesa National ForestGrand Teton National Park
Great Meadows National Wildlife RefugeGreat Smoky Mountains National Park
Green Mountain National ForestHaleakala National Park
Hawaii Volcanoes National ParkHobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge
Hot Springs National ParkHumboldt-Toiyabe National Forest
Huron-Manistee National ForestsImperial Sand Dunes Off-Highway Vehicle Area
Inyo National ForestJefferson National Forest
Joshua Tree National ParkKisatchie National Forest
Lake Mead National Recreation AreaLake Tahoe Basin Management Unit
Lassen National ForestLewis and Clark National Forest
Lolo National ForestLong Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex
Los Padres National ForestMammoth Cave National Park
Mark Twain National ForestMedicine Bow National Forest
Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and ParksMt. Baker National Forest
Mt. Hood National ForestMt. Rainer National Park
National ForestsNational Forests of Florida
National Forests of MississippiNational Forests of Nortch Carolina
National Forests of TexasNational Parks
Ninigret NWROconee National Forest
Okanogan National ForestOlympic National Forest
Olympic National ParkOuachita National Forest
Oxbow National Wildlife RefugeOzark National Forest
Ozark National Scenic RiverwaysPike National Forest
Prescott National ForestPrime Hook National Wildlife Refuge
Prime Hook National Wildlife RefugeRhode Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex
Rocky Mountain National ParkRogue River-Siskiyou National Forest
Roosevelt National ForestRoutt National Forest
Salmon-Challis National ForestSan Bernardino National Forest
San Isabel National ForestSanta Fe National Forest
Santa Fe National Historic TrailSantee National Wildlife Refuge
Sequoia National ForestSequoia National Park
Shasta-Trinity National ForestShenandoah National Park
Shoshone National ForestSiuslaw National Forest
Snoqualmie National ForestSouthern California National Forests
St. Francis National ForestSumter National Forest
Superior National ForestTahoe National Forest
Tongass National ForestTonto National Forest
Uinta National ForestUmpqua National Forest
Wasatch National ForestWayne National Forest
Wenatchee National ForestWhite Mountain National Forest
White River National ForestWhite River National Wildlife Refuge
Yellowstone National ParkYosemite National Park
Zion National Park
© 2016 Kinsail Corporation