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A View of History

 Powell Valley overlook boasts dramatic scenery

August 2023

 IF YOU FOLLOW VIRGINIA’S POWELL RIVER WEST TOWARD THE TENNESSEE BORDER, you will eventually find yourself in majestic Powell Valley; a geologic wonder that boasts one of the most dramatic elevation changes in Virginia. Powell Valley is a picturesque geographic locale, part of the High Knob Landform, with an overlook accessible from the northbound lanes of U.S. Route 23. 

The valley begins between Powell Mountain and Little Stone Mountain, where the waters of the Powell River flow down from the rugged mountains of western Wise County. The immense exposed rock face where Stone Mountain and Powell Mountain come together, near Grindstone Ridge to the southeast, yields a striking visual change in altitude. 

Within less than 1 mile, the vertical elevation changes by 2,000 feet across the northern face of the Grindstone Ridge Dome of the High Knob Massif, marking one of the greatest short-distance vertical elevation changes in the southern Appalachians. 

It was in these mountains that Cherokee Chief Robert “Bob” Benge led Native American raids against Americans in the late 1700s. A historical marker detailing his exploits has been placed at the overlook on the northbound lanes of U.S. Route 23. From this same vantage point, a number of homes, farms and a church can also be seen down in the valley below. The overlook was recently named for former Virginia Del. James Walker Robinson. 

Robinson was a member of the Virginia House from 1983 through 1987, representing Wise and Dickenson counties. 

 For more, go to visitwisecounty.com.