Virginia City is a unique tourist attraction located on the Big Walker Mountain National Forest Scenic Byway in southwestern Virginia. Located within a few hours drive of Charlotte, North Carolina, Charleston, West Virginia, Richmond, Virginia, and Knoxville, Tennessee, Virginia City is an unexpected Old West town east of the Mississippi River.
According to Virginia City’s website, it was originally founded in 1961 as Dry Gulch Junction. Dry Gulch Junction dried up in the early 1980s but has been resurrected as Virginia City. The attraction is an Old West town complete with monthly shootouts, 1880s era buildings and shops, and a Gem and Mineral Museum. General admission to the town is free of charge. Virginia City offers many special seasonal events throughout its April 15th through October 31st season including mountain music and bluegrass events. The town is open to the public from 10 AM to 6 PM. Other dates and times may be available for groups upon request.
Virginia City offers the opportunity for would be prospectors to mine for gems. Virginia City offers buckets that can be purchased for reasonable fees and provides a covered sluice to search the contents of the bucket for treasure. The buckets are apparently “loaded” to assure a good time by even the unluckiest prospector. Gem prospecting is a great activity for the young (and young at heart) that provides an enjoyable and “hands on” learning experience. Virginia City offers a generous gem bucket discount to groups making it an ideal stop for bus tours.
Tucked into the scenic mountains of Virginia, Virginia City is located in the are of many other attractions. The Great Smokey Mountains, Pigeon forge, Gatlinburg, the home and grave of Andrew Johnson, and birthplace of Davy Crockett are in nearby Tennessee. Another great learning attraction is the Exhibition Coal Mine in Beckley, West Virginia about an hour and a half to the north. Visitors to the mine can ride in coal cars into the mine. The scenic vistas near Virginia City provide breathtaking views at all times of the year, but is especially magnificent during the fall foliage season.
To reach Virginia City from the north, follow Interstate 77 south. After going through the Big Walker Tunnel there will be sings on the interstate leading you to the attraction. From the south, follow Interstate 77 through Wytheville. Virginia City is about ten miles north of Wytheville, follow the signs from the interstate.
Virginia City provides a unique look into a bygone era of America’s past. So saddle up and head on into town, you won’t be disappointed.