The 147-acre Whitney State Forest is the perfect size for an early morning walk or an evening bike ride. The forest holds over six miles of trails that weave their way back and forth around a central fire road. These woods are primarily deciduous, making a beautiful spectacle come fall when the leaves change colors. The forest holds many familiar residents, with blue jay regularly heard scolding year- round and yellow-rumped warblers and ruby-crowned kinglets coming in thick as the weather begins to get colder. Spring is the most exciting time in the forest when many neotropical songbirds stop in. In addition to a variety of warblers and vireos, visitors should look out for scarlet tanagers and stunning rose-breasted grosbeaks. Summer is the best time to search for butterflies here when red-spotted purples flutter along the paths and tiny pearl crescents scatter through the wildflowers. Dragonflies to look out for include common whitetails and ebony jewelwings, especially along the streambed.
The forest is open daily from sunrise to sunset.
(Note: Many places fill to capacity on busy, nice weather days, especially holiday weekends. Please call ahead or visit the official website to get the most up-to-date information before visiting.)
Walking, Hiking and Boating: A State Forest Use Permit is not required for forest visitors who walk, hike or boat on a state forest.
Riding Bicycles and Riding Horses: On forests where these activities are allowed, a valid State Forest Use Permit is required for persons aged 16 years-old or older.
Hunting and Fishing: On forests where these activities are allowed, a valid State Forest Use Permit and valid hunting or fishing license are required for persons aged 16 years-old or older in accordance with state regulations.
State Forest Use Permits: Permits cost $16 USD and are valid for one year from date of purchase. Permits can be purchased two ways:
1.Go to any location where you purchase a hunting license. Ask the clerk for the “State Forest Permit” to be added to your license.
2. Use your credit card and purchase a permit online from the Virginia Department Of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) website. After you sign in, find “Special Licenses” and select “State Forest use Permit.”
Activities include hiking, biking, and nature viewing.