Norton Virginia Road Trip & WanderLOVE Destination
Adventure is the destination.
WanderLove is about reconnecting with what you love: the world-renowned wineries, the rolling countryside, and the winding roads in between. Plan your next road trip to Norton Virginia. It is WanderLOVE, and in Southwest Virginia, there are many wonderful destinations picked just for you! Today we are taking a look at scenic Norton, Virginia, and two amazing outdoor locations you must visit.
A couple of weeks ago, I had the chance to explore Norton during my weekend excursion to the Wise County area. I began my trip by visiting St. Paul where I enjoyed great food, an adventurous tubing trip, and a fantastic overnight stay. I was looking for a true visitor experience that I could share with you. I wanted to visit the area with some idea of what to do, while also taking the time to simply explore.
Norton, Virginia is one of Virginia’s most western front cities as well as one of the smallest with a population just under 4,000. Do not let this size fool you, because Norton has a lot of great amenities to offer travelers and tourists. Rather you are visiting for outdoor recreation, rest and relaxation, or to just head somewhere new, Norton will not disappoint.
Outdoor Recreation: Flag Rock
After driving around the City of Norton and becoming familiar with a few locations I wanted to visit, I decided to work up and appetite by heading to Flag Rock. Flag Rock is a recreation area just a few miles outside the City of Norton. It’s a beautiful scenic drive full of winding roads, lush vegetation, and many picnic shelters (I wish I had packed a lunch). The thousand-acre area is full of outdoor fun including hiking, camping and picnicking, paddling and fishing, climbing, and mountain biking. It is safe to say, there are a lot of options to fit everyone’s idea of fun.
One spot you cannot pass on is the Flag Rock overlook, which allows you to oversee the City of Norton and surrounding mountain ranges. The view from the overlook is simply stunning. You’ll know you reached the overlook by nicely displayed signage and a “Woodbooger” statue. This statue was put in place due to an Animal Planet episode of Finding Bigfoot being filmed in the area back in 2011.
The short walk to the overlook builds excitement along the way. With each step you take, a little more of the view comes to focus. After you cross a small bridge that leads on to the rocks, you have finally arrived. Now is the time to take out your camera and start soaking up some Southwest Virginia landscapes.
Outdoor Recreation: High Knob
After you visit the Flag Rock overlook, you can then head a little farther up the road to the High Knob Observation Tower for even more awe-inspiring views. The peace I found up there was like nowhere I had ever experienced. It was an overcast day however, the views were still nothing short of stunning. I was lucky enough to visit the area while no one else was there. My first intent was to pull out my camera and start capturing photos, but I instead chose to soak in the views for myself before making an attempt at capturing the moment.
The original tower was built in the 30s and was unfortunately burned down about 40 years later. In 1978, a new tower was erected to once again burn down, this time due to arson. Fortunately, the community came together a third time and built a final tower, this time out of stone. It’s truly a wondrous sight to see. On a clear day, you can see the five states of Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, and North Carolina.
Other things to See and Do
Aside from these two lovely locations, there are many other things to do in Norton and the surrounding area such as:
- Visit Sugar Hill Cidery for some great craft beverages
- Norton Farmers Market
- Powell Valley Overlook
- Visit the Country Cabin II – Part of The Crooked Road
- Visit the Mountain Rose Vineyard in Wise for some delicious wine
- Grab a bite at one of the local restaurants
- Stay at one of the campgrounds or recreation areas
If you want to view a video experience of Flag Rock and High Knob, we have a fun little YouTube video you can view here.