Gay Beach/Swimming Holes

Matts Creek Area

Lexington, VA
United States
Phone: 800 Phone: Fax:

Swimming places on the Appalachian Trail near the James River and near an A.T. shelter. From I-81 at Exit 180 (Natural Bridge) go south on RT 11 to Natural Bridge, then east on RT 130 to Glasgow then south on RT 501 to a large parking area on the right (by the James River) for the Appalachian Trail. Cross the James River (impounded here behind a dam) on the spectacular foot bridge (a foot bridge named after Mr. William T. Foot, go figure!) From here it is about a 2.5 mile hike (one way) to the Matts Creek Shelter as follows: You could actually swim in the James River under the footbridge before you cross over. I was told there that some crazy local folk jump off the footbridge into the river but dont do it! After you cross the footbridge, you will come to a sign that says "A.T. S" (south) - keep walking. Very shortly you will come to a sign that says "A.T. N" (north) here you turn RIGHT (not left) and follow the trail upstream along the bank of the James River. In about 1 mile, you will pass signs that say "Camping Allowed" and "James River Face Wilderness". After this, the trail turns left (away from the James River) and begins following Matts Creek uphill. (Just before it turns left, there are some nice primitive camp sites on the right along the James River where one might camp and/or swim in the James. Continue hiking up the trail with Matts Creek on your right. DO NOT take a left at the sign which says "Matts Creek trail-RT 501" keep on straight and very soon you will come to the shelter and 2 little swimming holes. There may not be much of a swimming hole late in the summer when the water level is low.

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