Fort Lewis Lodge lies amid the splendor of the George Washington National Forest, a more than 1 million-acre spread that’s popular for hiking, mountain biking, fishing, hunting and camping.
Established as a national forest in 1918, it was renamed for the nation’s first president in 1932 and extends into West Virginia. Locally, the stretch of forest includes recreational attractions such as Douthat State Park, Lake Moomaw and Goshen Pass, a gorge on the edge of Rockbridge County.
Combined with the Jefferson National Forest to the south, the two forests make up one of the largest areas of public land in the eastern United States. Much of the forest is remote and undeveloped. Overlooks on Airport Road in Hot Springs and on top of Warm Springs Mountain offer especially stunning views.
Besides the warm and hot springs for which the area is famous, within the forest you can also find Blowing Springs, where a unique geographical duct blows air out of the rocks at a constant 58 degrees.
Southeast of Millboro between routes 220 and 629 is Douthat State Park, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places because its design influenced the development of parks nationwide. Here you can find a sandy swimming beach along the 50-acre lake, along with trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding.
Further east in the Alleghany highlands is Lake Moomaw, a U.S Army Corp of Engineers-formed lake. The earthen dam and 2,500-acre lake (named for the local businessman who supported the project) were created in a former gorge to provide flood and water quality control, but also offer many recreational activities, including camping and trout fishing.
The forest includes many species of trees, plants, birds, amphibians, fish and mammals, from white-tailed deer to black bears.