Located in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, Dickinson county has some of the most breathtaking sceneries that you can find in all of eastern United States. The county’s rugged albeit amazing terrain offers fabulous recreational opportunities for locals and visitors alike.
A prime example of this is the John W. Flannagan dam and reservoir. At the dam site, one is spoiled for choices given the campgrounds, picnic areas, boat ramps, and picnic shelters that are contained within.
As such, you could enjoy a whole array of activities such as hiking, fishing, hunting, boating and swimming. Furthermore, when water gets released into the Russell Fork River over each weekend in the month of October, it results in rapids. Ranging from class 3-5 when measured from a kayaking and rafting perspective, they provide the perfect getaway for water adventurers.
Similarly, hikers can take advantage of the Hiking Trail that spans 28-miles. This trail lets you enjoy the continuous scenic beauty of mountain crests from Virginia and Kentucky. Whereas equestrians would find themselves at home in the Cumberland & Pine Mountain Riding center.
John W. Flanagan Dam and Reservoir
Named after the late John Willis Flanagan, Jr., a Congressman who served between 1931-49, the dam is a standing testimony to this great man’s assistance in creating many flood control projects in the highlands of the Appalachian region during his tenure. The construction of this dam was completed in 1964.
Beyond its role in flood control, the John W. Flanagan dam provides a steady supply of clean drinking water to the residents of Buchanan and Dickenson counties. The lake acts as the ecological water body around which flora and fauna thrive, not forgetting the many forms of recreation it offers to the Dickinson county residents.
The Birch Knob Observation Tower
The Observation Tower at Birch Knob was finished sometime in December, 2003 by the U.S. Forest Service. It taking close to four years from start to finish. The main objective behind the project was to create a viewpoint that would serve as a source of recreation for the public. That said, you will have to climb 183 steps to reach the top of the observation tower, which is roughly 3,000-feet above sea level.
In terms of viewing distance, you could see Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, and if its clear skies, then Ohio too! At the ground level, there’s a trail (roughly 2-mile hike) down the mountain which leads to the gorgeous Jenny Falls.
In those days, the only way to get to the Knob was to sneak through a small and slender crack in the rock. Once you reached the site, you’d find a fifty-four-foot fire observation tower, overlooking the Pine Mountain area.
Constructed in 1964, the fire tower was finally brought down in 1980. While the tower no longer exists, you can still see the piers that once connected to it. Recently, a brand-new road was constructed to connect Birch Knob to the cliff that’s 200 feet directly below it.
As per latest renovations, a steel stairway, complete with safety features, has been constructed that lets you get to the top to reach the observation deck. The observatory sits atop a rocky outcrop, peering off the highest point of Pine Mountain.