The Channels Natural Area Preserve

Within  the boundary of the 4,836-acre Channels State Forest is a 721-acre  parcel that has been dedicated in perpetuity as the  Channels Natural Area Preserve under the provisions  of the Natural Area Preserve Act of 1989 to be  managed by the Department of Forestry in partnership  with the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

At the crest of the mountain, within the Natural  Area Preserve, are the Great Channels of Virginia,  impressive formations of 400-million-year-old  sandstone outcroppings. Geologists conclude that the  Channels were likely formed while the high-elevation  sandstone cap was under the influence of permafrost  and ice wedging during the last ice age. These forces  shattered and enlarged joints in the sandstone caprock.

Located on the southern slope of Clinch Mountain,  elevations on the Channels State Forest range from  1,800 feet to more than 4,200 feet. Ecological  communities and forest types change significantly  with elevation. A diversity of forest types from cove  hardwoods to northern hardwoods are present.  Continuing studies indicate the presence  of rare and imperiled plant  species.

Find multiple parking locations off of the Brumley Gap Road entrance. See the brochure linked above for a map.