Community Profile

Alleghany derives its name for the Native American word meaning “endless” – fitting as the region’s beauty, business opportunities and quality of life offer seemingly endless opportunities for individuals to thrive both personally and professionally. Four distinct areas combine to create a region rich in history, outdoor adventure, activities and a sense of community.

Known as ‘Virginia’s Western Gateway,’ nearly 50% of Alleghany County is natural forest, making it an ideal spot to explore the great outdoors. Not surprisingly, hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding are popular pastimes at Douthat State Park, the Alleghany Highland Trails and Jackson River Scenic Trail, running parallel to the Jackson River. The breathtaking Alleghany Highlands Blueway brings together two rivers and two mountain lakes for world-class fishing and watersports, including kayaking, paddling, skiing and swimming.

The Town of Iron Gate, on the southeastern edge of the region, was incorporated in 1889 and is known as the ‘Gateway to the Highlands.’ Founded as part of the Iron Age when mines and blast furnaces began to populate Alleghany County. With the mining business long gone, the town of nearly 400 is known today for its stunning natural beauty as home to Rainbow Rock and the headwaters of the James River.

Both the City of Covington, seat of Alleghany County, and Town of Clifton Forge have Main Street programs that continuously work to improve the downtown experience. Home to locally owned shops, restaurants and community gathering spots the charming downtowns are easily walkable. 

Arts, history and culture are key components of the region. Built in 1857, the beloved Humpback Bridge is Virginia’s oldest covered bridge and a picturesque sight any time of year. Markers tell the stories of the region’s role in the Civil War, and the area’s deep railroad ties are on full display at the C&O Railway Heritage Center. Ridgely Historic Gardens, the Historic Masonic Theatre and Alleghany Historical Society, Alleghany Highlands Arts Council, Clifton Forge School of the Arts, River Rock Amphitheater and Alleghany Highlands Arts and Crafts Center bring the region’s creative culture to life.  

From recent graduates and young families to seasoned professionals and those eyeing retirement, the Alleghany Highlands is a great place to put down roots and discover that perfect work/life balance. And, the region’s excellent broadband infrastructure makes it easier than ever to work remotely and live uniquely in the Alleghany Highlands.

Relocation Resource

The Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce & Tourism provides a free relocation resource guide with a quick list of useful numbers for the area. Access the information through the link above or call the Chamber office at 540.962.2178 to receive a relocation packet.

Live Well Alleghany Highlands works to enhance the health and well being of all who live, work, and play in Alleghany and Covington. We are a partnership convened by the Virginian Department of Health, comprised of individuals representing local governments, non-profits, healthcare providers, colleges, school districts, faith-based groups, community organizations, businesses, law enforcement officers, and community members. Live Well Alleghany Highlands’ top three focus areas for 2019-2022 are: (1) Reduce substance use in youth and adults (2) Increase kindergarten readiness and early literacy and (3) Increase knowledge of and access to community resources. The Knowledge of Resources Action Team, working on the third focus area, identified the need for a community resource guide to support community members who are seeking information and referrals to the many organizations who can provide assistance.

Cost of Living

The communities of Alleghany County are known for their affordability. Compared to a U.S. average of 100, the Alleghany Highlands stacks up favorably to both state and national averages.

Overall Cost of Living72.2104.2
Median Home Cost$99,200$329,200


The Alleghany Highlands is blessed with four distinct seasons.

Avg. HighAvg. Low
Source: U.S. Climate Data



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