The George Washington and Jefferson National Forests are U.S. National Forests that combine to form one of the largest areas of public land in the Eastern United States. They cover 1.8 million acres (7,300 km2) of land in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky. Approximately 1 million acres (4,000 km2) of the forest are remote and undeveloped and 139,461 acres (564 km2) have been designated as wilderness areas, which eliminates future development.
Washington National Forest was established on May 16, 1918 as the Shenandoah National Forest. The forest was renamed after the first President on June 28, 1932. Natural Bridge National Forest was added on July 22, 1933.
Jefferson National Forest was formed on April 21, 1936 by combining portions of the Unaka and George Washington National Forests with other land. In 1995, the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests were administratively combined. The border between the two forests roughly follows the James River. The combined forest is administered from its headquarters in Roanoke, Virginia.
The George Washington National Forest is a popular destination for trail runners. It is the location for several Ultramarathons, including the Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 miler, the Old Dominion 100 miler, and the Old Dominion Memorial 100 miler.
George Washington Forest is also the venue for Nature Camp, a natural science education-oriented summer camp for youth. The camp is located on national forest land near the town of Vesuvius, Virginia. It has operated at this location since the summer of 1953.
Counties are listed in descending order of forestland area within county. Note that Jefferson National Forest is located in 22 separate counties, more than any other National Forest except Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri, which lies in 29 counties. Note also that Botetourt, Monroe, and Rockbridge counties, at the dividing line between the two forests, include parts of both forests. Thirdly, note that the state of Kentucky actually has very little area, with its two counties bringing up the tail end of Jefferson National Forest. As of September 30, 2007 George Washington National Forest has a total area of 1,065,389 acres (4,311 km2). Local ranger district offices are located in Bridgewater, Covington, Edinburg, Hot Springs, and Staunton. Jefferson National Forest has a total area of 723,350 acres (2,927 km2).  Local ranger district offices are located in Blacksburg, Marion, Natural Bridge, New Castle, and Wise.
The first camp of the Civilian Conservation CorpsNF-1, Camp Roosevelt, was established in the George Washington National Forest near Luray, Virginia. It is now the site of the Camp Roosevelt Recreation Area.