OverviewLittle Walker Mountain is an extensive ridge that runs for about twenty miles in a generally northeast/southwest direction, forming a classic Blue Ridge profile. The ridge rises roughly one thousand feet above its base to both the east and west. On the northwestern side, the ridge is bordered by Stony Fork and Little Walker Creek. On the southern side there is just a general drainage of small creeks leading down into the watershed of the nearby city of Wytheville (pronounced as in "wistful" with a lisp).
The entire ridge lies within the Jefferson National Forest and so is afforded a degree of protection from development and urban encroachment. The coves and peaks are typical southern Appalachian hardwood forest dominated by Northern white oak, chestnut oak, Sugar maple, and other deciduous trees with scatterings of white pine groves. What few hemlocks are to be found are Carolina hemlocks. No native fraser firs or spruce are present at these elevations.
The dry, generally rocky understory is home to a wide host of wildflowers. Spring and summer find the peak alive with a huge number of colorful blossoms, so it's a great place to hike to view wildflowers.
If you're hunting for a relatively easy hike with a good opportunity to find peace and quiet in a southern woodland setting, then I know of few better places to do so than the Seven Sisters Trail that navigates roughly five miles of the highest ridges of Little Walker Mountain. It's a well marked but lightly used trail affording the hiker with a closeup of the southern Appalachian ecosystem with plenty of opportunity to do so with a degree of solitude.
Getting ThereFrom I-77 take exit 47 and head west on VA 717. Follow the signs to Stony Fork Recreation Area.
To hike the peak, take the Stony Fork Nature Trail. The trailhead is between campsites 30 and 32 in the campground. (There is parking for visitors at the front of the campground, so you needn't be a camper to use the trail.) Take the Stony Fork trail for six tenths of a mile until it meets the Seven Sisters Trail. From there, the trail follows the ridgeline for five miles before dropping down to the other terminus on VA 717.
Expect to gain about 1000 feet from either trailhead to the highest summit along the ridge. The going is easy, though, and I would rate the trail as moderately difficult for a novice hiker.
Red TapeNone. National Forest land. No fees of any kind. Some restrictions may apply in times of high fire risk.
CampingBack country camping is free and unregulated. There is developed camping at the Stony Fork Recreation Area. The campground there has varying degrees of sites--everything from no hookups, to sites with full water and electric. The campground also has hot showers and flush toilets, and a one-bedroom cabin is available for nightly rentals.
External LinksStony Fork Campground.
George Washington and Jefferson National Forest.
Pure Peace. Catawba rhododendron in a Springtime breeze.