Enjoy eight miles of maintained trails along the Scenic Clinch River, the Sugar Hill Loop Trail and Oxbow Lake that start at the Oxbow Dam in St. Paul, Virginia. Dozens of tree species are identified along the trails. The Sugar Hill and Clinch River Trails have been nominated as state birding and wildlife viewing trails because of the wide variety of flora and fauna found along the way.
Hike, Bike, Fish
The Town of St. Paul and Wise County offer Virginia’s only publicly accessible fishing, biking and hiking trails along the Clinch River, one of the cleanest rivers in the Eastern United States.
Canoe the Clinch
The Clinch River offers miles of free-flowing canoeing opportunities. A canoe launch site is available at Oxbow Dam. This region has been called one of the “last great places” on earth by The Nature Conservancy.
Lake Estonoa is a nationally acclaimed student-based wetlands and outdoor educational center in St. Paul. A short loop trail and bridges provide access.
Scenic Clinch River
The Clinch is home to rare and endangered freshwater mussels, some found only in Virginia. A festival celebrating this unique river is held in St. Paul the first weekend of June each year.
Preserving a Treasure
Our goal in offering public access to the trails along the Clinch River is to protect this biological treasure, while sharing it with you and your family. You can help all watersheds by properly disposing of chemicals and petroleums, planting trees to prevent erosion, keeping livestock fenced out of waterways, installing and maintaining septic systems, and, of course, not littering.
St. Paul Falls
The sights and sounds of St. Paul Falls on the Scenic Clinch River can be enjoyed at the end of the River Trail.
Established by French settlers in 1791, this area, marked by standing chimneys, was once called St. Marie on the Clinch. Later owners farmed the land, and in the 1930s, created a maple syrup and sugar operation known as Sugar Hill.
From Pete’s Rock along the River Trail, evidence of the Clinch region’s unique geological features can be seen. The area is part of the St. Paul Fault, a fault system that roughly divides limestone from coal country for several miles along the Russell-Wise County border.
From many points along the trail like Bryce Beach, hikers and bikers get an up-close view of the Clinch River, one of the oldest and cleanest rivers in the United States. The river heads up in Tazewell County, Virginia from three mountain sources, some of which flow from caves. The state has designated the Clinch as a Scenic River from St. Paul to the mouth of another scenic river, the Guest.
Sugar Hill Loop Trail is linked to the Guest River Gorge Trail for an intermediate 16-mile, biking or walking experience. Bikers and motorists can travel along the Heart of Appalachia Trail, a 128-mile bike route and scenic drive connecting Burkes Garden and St. Paul. For a detailed map of the Heart of Appalachia route, call 1-888-SWVAFUN (888-798-2386) or log onto www.heartofappalachia.com.