Are you ready to experience something sweet?

 

Welcome to the Virginia Maple Syrup Trail!

 The Virginia Maple Syrup Trail highlights pure maple syrup in the central Appalachia area where the delicacy can be consistently made.  Maple syrup starts by collecting sugar water, or “sap”, from maple trees in late winter and early spring during the freezing and thawing cycle.  That sugar water is then boiled down to make delicious syrup.  The syrup producers’ sugar camps remain up year-round even outside of their busy processing season, and you can hear their stories, view their equipment and enjoy their tasty syrup.

 

Your passport begins in Highland County, home to the official maple festival of Virginia.  You’re invited to visit eight sugar camps in Highland County throughout the year, excluding the busy Maple Festival weeks and weekends in March, to learn the techniques of how maple syrup is uniquely produced at each one.  Call ahead to the sugar camps, schedule a visit for a tour, taste their syrup and get a stamp on your physical passport.  Passports are available at the sugar camps themselves upon arrival, at local businesses or at select Virginia Welcome Centers.  After all eight camps are visited, there will be a prize, but the real incentive is to have more one-on-one interaction with the farmers who run the camps.  Discover all that happens even beyond maple syrup on these these farms and in the scenic, unspoiled mountains of Highland County.  If you want to know where your food comes from, this a great family agritourism opportunity!

 

*** Calling All Interested in Producing Maple and Other Tree Syrups! ***

Virginia Tech is trying to locate all producers of maple and other tree syrups, no matter the size or scale of their production (from hobbyists to full-scale commercial producers) in the region. One goal of this project supported by VDACS is to start a syrup producers association to help those interested in maple and other syrups like yourself find assistance, equipment, and markets for your syrup. If you want to learn more about producing syrups from maple and other tree species and the new association, please contact Guinevere Unterbrink at guinevereu@vt.edu

Virginia’s Sweet Spot, Highland County, is waiting for you to explore!

  • Pick up your passport
  • Schedule your tour
  • Visit a sugar camp
  • Get a custom stamp
  • Collect ALL 8 stamps
  • Get your free gifts
Tap Now for Full Passport Details

Our Sugar Camps

Puffenbarger’s Sugar Orchard

In the heart of the Blue Grass Valley, the Puffenbarger’s Sugar Orchard is a multigenerational family owned business that produces “sugar water” in to sweet maple syrup! –Read More–

Laurel Fork Sapsuckers

Laurel Fork Sapsuckers is a family-run sugar camp that you can join for high elevation views of western Highland County and a tour of the maple syrup making process. They have used materials from their farm, as well as equipment from the county that folks used over 100 years ago.  –Read More–

Mill Gap Farms

Mill Gap Farms is the only producer in Virginia who is certified Organic by the USDA. They utilize the latest technology from Vermont and Quebec to produce their maple syrup.  –Read More–

Duff’s Sugar House

Duff’s Sugar House is a small family-run, old-time sugar house where the trees are still “opened” by hand and the sugar water collected in buckets.  –Read More–

Back Creek Farms

The Lowry family has been making maple syrup since before the Civil War, and they still use the open pan passed down from Pat Lowry’s great-grandmother.  –Read More–

Sugar Tree Country Store & Sugar House

They utilize reverse osmosis techniques for making syrup but value the importance of old-fashioned family time to bring you a full range of maple products.  –Read More–

Bruce’s Syrup and Candies

Advancing beyond just old-fashioned buckets and kettles in the early days, they now utilize a vacuum system, reverse osmosis, state-of-the-art evaporator, filtration and bottling equipment.  –Read More–

Tonoloway Farm

Virginia’s only commercial producer of black walnut syrup. Visitors are welcome to taste the unique flavors of walnut syrup, hickory syrup, as well as classic wood-fired maple syrup.  –Read More–

Upcoming Events

Southern Syrup Research Symposium: September 24 – 25, 2021

The Southern Syrup Research Symposium on September 24th and 25th focuses attention on research and extension needs to expand the tree sap industry in “the southern tier” of syrup producing states. This year’s get-together is at WVU in Morgantown, West Virginia.  Join for updates on research and development grants our region has received, to hear from researchers on problems and opportunities specific to our region, and to take part in discussions on the adaptations sap and syrup producers are making to increase yields and maintain quality.  Register at by clicking here!  Get more details and schedule at wvmspa.org/event/southern-syrup-research-symposium-back-again/.

Hands & Harvest Festival: October 8 – 10, 2021

Celebrate the beauty and bounty of fall with the annual Hands & Harvest Festival in beautiful Highland County, Virginia!
Enjoy a Harvest Trail with tours of farms and some Virginia Maple Syrup Trail sugar camps for the tastes and sights of fall like freshly-cooked apple butter and freshly-pressed cider. Live entertainment includes Larnell Starkey and the Spiritual Seven and the Little Switzerland Cloggers.  Shop uinique, one-of-a-kind gifts from arts & crafts vendors, watch artist demonstrations, climb over 100 steps up the Sounding Knob Fire Tower for breathtaking views, view the showing of the classic silent film Tol’able David, be amazed by rocketry, and take part in so much more for the entire family!  The Highland County Chamber of Commerce will be following current recommended CDC and VDH guidelines on COVID-19.  Visit www.highlandcounty.org/hands-harvest-festival/ for full schedule and events.

Highland County Maple Festival: March 12-13 & 19-20, 2022

Held annually during the second and third weekends in March.  For over 60 years, visitors have been drawn to Highland County to tour real maple sugar camps for a cultural and culinary adventure! In 1999, The Library of Congress designated The Highland County Maple Festival a “Local Legacy.” In 2014, the Governor of Virginia signed a bill into law designating the festival as the “official maple festival of Virginia.” Each year, tens of thousands of visitors are drawn to this unspoiled, rural region of Virginia to celebrate the “opening” of the trees and observe the process of maple syrup-making. Sugar camp tours provide a unique and educational experience that portrays a rapidly vanishing way of American life. *** Please note that due to potential high volumes of people and the busy time to produce syrup, passports will be unable to be stamped from March 7 – 20, 2022. ***
Please click here for further details about the Maple Festival.

Stay, Play & Save

Check back here for updates for sponsor discounts in the future!

Looking for places to stay and dine between tours?
Visit the Highland County Chamber of Commerce Member Directory BY CLICKING HERE!

Click Above to Visit Website

Testimonials