Relaxation and adventure on the Jackson River

ALLEGHANY COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — Some people crave variety, even on vacation. There is a place in the Alleghany Highlands that just might provide the solution for those people seeking to do something different everyday. It’s the Jackson River, just north of Covington in Alleghany County.

You want world class fishing?


You want water sports like kayaking and tubing?


You want miles of hiking and biking trails?


How about golf?


And, maybe you would like to do all of that while staying at an historic inn?


According to Jen Mann, the manager and chef at the Cliff View Inn and Golf Course, “We can offer a place to stay and experience the outdoors with hiking, biking, trail walking, kayaking, fishing, and golfing.”

The cliffs rising above the Jackson River at Cliff View Inn. (Photo: George Noleff/WFXR News)

The Cliff View Inn has nine rooms for lodging, as well as a restaurant. The 18-hole golf course offers stunning views of the nearby cliffs towering above the Jackson River.

Cliff View works with other outfitters, including Alleghany Outdoors, which offers kayak, tube, and bike trips.

“We have the Jackson River Scenic Trail, which is a really nice zero to 1% grade trail and it goes up to 13 and a half miles,” said Alleghany Outdoors Manager Matt Fischer while gesturing to the nearby hiking and biking trail.

But, what about paddle sports and tubing on the Jackson?

The Jackson River is a prime paddle sports and tubing destination. (Photo: George Noleff/WFXR News)

“It’s pretty laid back for the most part; class ones, small class twos,” said Fischer. “It’s a wade fishing river, so you’ll see people walking in most of these rapids.”

Part of the reason those people are in there is because the Jackson rarely rises above 70 degrees, even in the heat of the summer. The flow comes from the cold water release from the dam at Lake Moomaw.

Those cool water temperatures also make the Jackson as prime fishing destination.

“This is a wild trout stream,” said Rob England of Appalachian Bronzeback Adventures Guide Service. “This is a very special place because of the wild nature of these fish and it is ranked as one of the top 25 wild trout fisheries in the United States.”

Rob England shows off a trophy brown trout caught on the Jackson River. (Photo: George Noleff/WFXR News)

The trout in the Jackson, browns and rainbows, are naturally sustaining. There is no stocking.

“There is a very good population of very big fish, so it’s not unusual to come out here and catch a citation brown or rainbow, which is 20 inches in this area,” England added.

On top of the fishing, golf, and other outdoors activities, there’s something for the indoor enthusiast, as well. Nearby Covington and Clifton Forge offer plenty of local history, and both are known as prime destinations for antique hunters.

Part of the beauty of the upper Jackson is that it is relatively unknown. You will not have to fight crowds, but staying entertained will never be an issue.

Cliff View Manager Jen Mann at the Brewhouse at Cliff View Golf Course. (Photo: George Noleff/WFXR News)

“This is a hidden gem,” said Mann. “You could come here for a week, and do something different everyday.”