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Green Hole is the nickname for the large, man-made reservoir located on the outskirts of Harrisonburg, Virginia in the lush, green Shenandoah Valley, hence the name. The reservoir was created to help control run-off from the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains so it did not damage the surrounding towns. It is mainly known for the drainage tower that is standing approximately 40 ft from the edge of the lake (depending of the water level). The tower regulates the height of the water by draining water through a grate at its base. While atop the tower you can hear the constant rush of the water as its being carried away.

The tower itself is about 30-35 feet above the waterline, which makes it the perfect height from which to jump into the surrounding reservoir. This place is extremely popular with the students of the many surrounding schools (which include James Madison University, Eastern Mennonite University, Bridgewater College, Blue Ridge Community College, and various local high schools). Many times your group will not be the only ones visiting this picturesque spot. It is also a very good place to go camping, although I have to warn against jumping at night (especially while drunk).

Directions:

To get to Green Hole, take Route 33 West. Just keep going straight on the road and you should enter George Washington National Park. The path is a little hard to find, but with a little determination anyone can do it. After crossing over three bridges, there should be a tree on the left with an X marked on it in orange spray paint. The x-marked tree designates the entrance to a dirt road that should come to a river. You must park your car at this point and continue on foot.

Strip down to only the necessities (read: swim trunks and shoes), grab your beverages and wade into the stream. Don't worry, it's usually only between 1-2 feet deep. Follow the stream until it starts to curve left. At the bend there should be another path that continues straight after the stream curves. Take this path for another 40 yards and you should see a large hill on your right. You should be able to make out a foot trail snaking its way up the hill. Follow this trail to get to the top of the hill for a breather (its kinda tall) as you take in nature in all its infinite splendor.

At this point you should be able to see the tower and the surrounding lake. Now all you have to do is make your way down the hill and find a suitable spot to rest before making your way out to the tower. You have to swim to get there but it's only a little way off the shore. Watch out for rocks and broken bottles when you are wading into the lake so you don't cut your feet. There is a steel ladder on the side thats facing the hill, use it to get to the top.

Jumping:

Now, 35 feet may not sound like a lot, but when you get to the top of the tower it is a little daunting. Don't worry about touching bottom, it's safe (I have yet to touch bottom after 20+ jumps). Just in case, please read up on how to jump into water from a height. There is a railing running along the perimeter of the tower except for two three-foot spaces. One is located where the ladder comes up and the other is directly adjacent.

For beginners, I recommend running and jumping so you don't have to see how far down it is until you have already left the platform.
It helps if you have consumed a few alcoholic beverages as this eliminates fear. My choice is Milwaukee's Best Light, which is available for about US$7 per case at most nearby convenience stores. (what a deal)

There is also a rope swing attached to the side of the tower on the edge of the platform. To get it, swipe at it with a long stick while you are on the ladder. It is fun, but generally considered for wussies and people who can't jump.

Recommendations:

  • Use an off-road vehicle such as a jeep to get there. This will make the trip much easier.
  • Bring a towel to dry off with.
  • Wear tennis shoes, old ones preferably because you may have to wade through a rocky stream.
  • After jumping, if you are feeling hungry, there is a store on the way back down Route 33 that provides the best deal of all time: Two hot dogs and a 20 oz. soda for only $1. Be careful with your language while in the store though, as the Mennonites who run it do not like cursing.
  • Go in the middle of the day so you can rest in the sun between jumps. After around 4:30 or 5 o'clock the sun disappears behind the tree tops, so keep that towel handy.

This information was all obtained first hand, and recounted from memory. If anyone else has been to this spot and can make corrections and/or additions please /msg me.

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