Virginia Wilderness - Keeping it like it is
The Raccoon Branch Proposed Wilderness is located in Smyth County in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. It contains 4,223 acres of extremely rugged country rising to a height of 4,000 feet on the High Point of Dickey Ridge. The ridges are capped with resistant lower Cambrian quartzite, which is responsible for the great variations in altitude within the area.
The area is dissected by numerous high gradient and deeply incised streams, all of which flow into the South Fork of the Holston River. The vegetation is diverse with cove hardwoods in the protected valleys and more xeric oak-pine on the ridges. Fraser fir is found at the highest elevations accompanied by other rare plants such as five-rowed peatmoss and Appalachian fir clubmoss.
Eight major trails provide access to the area for hunters, fishermen, hikers and horseback riders. The Appalachian Trail traverses the area with about 4.5 miles of trail. The Hurricane and Raccoon Branch campgrounds, located just outside, are convenient trailheads for visiting the proposed wilderness.