Deep in the heart of Virginia’s Botetourt County is a secluded outdoor enthusiast playground called Arcadia. To most it’s just an exit off Interstate 81 with a gas station and little motel up on the hill. To those of us who know better it is a hidden gem in the National Forest. Three miles off the exit is the Jefferson National Forest and this small area known as Arcadia.
You won’t walk into a fly shop anywhere in the state that they don’t know about Arcadia. Fly fishermen from all over the state travel here to fish these waters.
Three bodies of water are represented here;
- North Creek,
- Middle Creek and
- Jennings Creek.
All are stocked multiple times a year with Rainbow Trout. There are also native brook trout in these waters as well. Because these creeks are spring feed (cold water) fly fishing is good in this area most of the year. Just a warning, you will need a fresh water & trout license as well as a National Forest stamp to fish legally in Arcadia (the rangers patrol regularly).
Camping is just about anywhere you want to pitch a tent. If you aren’t into that much nature there are two campgrounds which are a little more traditional.
North Creek – National Forest Owned
- 16 Sites
- Fire pits and picnic tables.
- No water and electric on the camping
- Water is available on the campground
- Vault bathrooms
- Open March 15 through November 30
- $10.00/ site
- Camp host on site (usually)
Middle Creek – Privately owned
- Campsites with water and electric
- Cabins available
- Swimming pool
- Fish Pond
- Camp Store
- Bath house
- Game Room
Their phone number is 540-254-2550
Apple Orchard Falls – Turn left at the North Creek sign and follow the road to the end. The road turns in to a gravel road, continue following until you get to the very end. This is a 3 mile hike to the falls. The closer you get to the falls the rougher the terrain. This is a very nice hike.
AT – The Appalachian Trail also comes through this area of the National forest and makes a nice day hike in and back.
There are many deep spots along the way to stop and swim. There are also a few very private swimming holes. One of these is blue hole (as the locals call it). Turn left onto Middle Creek rd and travel half a mile. There is only a pull off on the side of the road for one or two cards. To get to the spot you will need to trek down a pretty steep bank but I promise it is well worth it.
Directions: From I-81: Take exit 168 (Arcadia). Follow VA 614 (Jennings Creek Road) for 2.9 miles.
Latitude : 37.54139 Longitude : -79.584724
The forest is operated by: Glenwood and Pedlar Ranger Districts: 540-291-2188