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Recreation Across Virginia

Shot Tower Historical State Park

Photo Credit:Virginia Dept. Conservation & Recreation
Shot Tower Historical State Park has a history hundreds of years old.

The 75 foot shot tower the park is named for was built in the 1800s, as a place for early settlers to make ammunition for their firearms.

The settlers would melt lead from a nearby mine on top of the tower. The melted lead was poured through a sieve and would fall the length of the tower, and then an additional 75 feet into a kettle of water.

The long drop was necessary to mold the lead into a round shot of ammunition. The kettle served as a cushion for the lead.

When the ammunition cooled, it was taken out of the kettle and sold on the market.

Today, visitors to the park can go inside the tower and learn more about the lives of these settlers.


Shot Tower State Park overlooks the New River in the southwestern region of Virginia.

The park is located in the town of Foster Falls. Foster Falls is home to the African American Heritage Museum and the New River Trail State Park.

Shot Tower State Park is a six and a half hour drive from northern Virginia, and about five hours from Richmond.

The park is a one and a half hour drive from Richmond.

Shot Tower State Park is a part of the New River Trail State Park.


The tower itself is open on weekdays from dawn to dusk. Occassionally, the tower is open on weekends as well.

Group tours can be arranged by calling the park’s office, 276-699-6778.

Visitors to Shot Tower can also enjoy a day of hiking at New River Trail State Park. The park stretches 57 miles along and abandoned railroad.

The trail provides opportunity for hiking, running, and biking. The trail goes through two tunnels, over three major bridges, and across thirty other small bridges and trestles.

The trail can be accessed by hikers at the Shot Tower.

Shot Tower State Park does not offer boating or fishing, but both can be accessed at New River Trail State Park.

Shot Tower State Park does not have a designated swimming area. However, tubing along the New River is a popular activity among visitors to the park.

Overnight Accommodations

For overnight guests, primitive camping is available .2 miles down the road from the Shot Tower.

The campsites are tent only, with no room for vehicles. Cars must be parked remotely.

The campsites do not offer bathhouses or showers.

Shot Tower Historical State Park is a great place to learn about history and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors.

Hours: Weekdays, dawn to dusk
Location: Wythe County
Address: 176 Orphanage Dr., Foster Falls, VA, 24360
Telephone: (276) 699-6778
Web site:
Latitude: 36.869012
Longitude: -80.862854

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