Where is Orange County?
Orange County is situated in the north-central Piedmont region of Virginia, not far from the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The county lies between the headwaters of the York and Rappahannock Rivers with the Rapidan River defining the northern boundary and the North Anna River making up the southern boundary. Orange County is essentially rural in character, with most commercial and industrial activity concentrated around the Towns of Orange and Gordonsville and along the Route 3 corridor.
Orange County is 72 miles from the state capital of Richmond, 85 miles from the nation’s capital, Washington, DC, 160 miles from the port city of Norfolk, and 25 miles from Charlottesville, home of Thomas Jefferson’s University of Virginia.
- I-64: 12 miles from Gordonsville along U.S. Route 15 South
- I-66: 54 miles from Orange along U.S. Route 15 north to U.S. Route 29 North
- I-81: 50 miles from Gordonsville along U.S. Route 33 West
- I-95: 14 miles from Lake of the Woods/Wilderness along State Primary Route 3 East
There are two incorporated towns and a planned residential community within Orange County. The Towns of Orange and Gordonsville are the main centers of commercial and industrial activity, while Lake of the Woods offers a private residential setting with recreation and open space areas. In addition, several properties adjacent to Lake of the Woods in the Route 3 corridor (Wilderness/Germanna area) are planned for future office/commercial growth.
|Population||2010 Census (1)|
|Lake of the Woods (2)||7,177|
|Town of Gordonsville (2)||1,496|
|Town of Orange (2)||4,721|
*Includes the total population of the county.
The county consists of 341 square miles (227,200 acres) (3) with elevations ranging from 175 feet above sea level along the Rapidan River to 1,200 feet above sea level in the mountains. Some of the county’s highest summits – all 1,000 feet or more above sea level – are Clark Mountain in Rapidan, Merry Mountain north of Gordonsville, and Cowherd Mountain just southeast of Barboursville (4).
Lake Orange is a 124-acre public fishing lake located a few miles east of the Town of Orange and features a boat ramp, concessions, fishing pier, parking lot, picnic facilities and plenty of great shoreline. Lake Orange supports warm water fish such as largemouth bass, bluegill, sunfish, and catfish (5).
The northwestern most points of Lake Anna reach into Orange County. The Lake Anna State Park has rental cabins, camping, more than 15 miles of hiking trails, horse trails, picnic sites, and, with 9,600 water acres, it’s a favorite destination for recreational boating, waterskiing, swimming and fishing (6).
Residents and visitors alike enjoy the four distinctly beautiful seasons of Orange County. Situated east of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Orange County falls within the Piedmont Climate Region of Virginia. The average January temperature hits between 27-47 degrees (F), and the average July temperature hits between 68-88 degrees (F). The average precipitation is second highest of all five climate regions of Virginia at approximately 43 inches per year. The peak of fall foliage occurs mid-late October (7).
The region’s growing season is long enough at 182 days to allow proper maturity of a variety of crops. It generally occurs between mid-April – the last freeze of the winter – and mid-to-late October when the first freeze of the fall hits (8).
|Annual average temperature||55.4°|
|Average January temperature||33.5°|
|Average July temperature||76.1°|
|Average annual rainfall||44.65"|
|Average annual snowfall||18.8"|
|Average number of days with at least 1” of snow on the ground||15|
|Southwesterly winds prevail|
Orange County falls in the Northern Piedmont forestry region where the yellow-poplar, loblolly pine, Virginia pine, red maple, white oak, and chestnut oak are the predominant trees on forest land (10). Orange itself is approximately 61% forested (11). Nearly 35% of land cover is pasture, hay and crops (12).
Mineral resources include shale, mudstone, gold, iron, soapstone, talc, limestone, sandstone, greenstone, schistose rock, clay, and white and pink marble. Past mining has included copper, gold, iron, limestone, soapstone, talc, manganese, and shale; however, there is presently no mining in Orange County (13).
Crops that grow well in this region are: grains, corn, wheat, soybeans, barley, vegetables, melons, potatoes, fruits, tree nuts, berries, Christmas trees, and hay (14).
Sources on this page:
(1) 2010 U.S. Census: State and County Quick Facts
(2) Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, Demographics & Workforce Group, Census 2010 Town Population Counts (Feb. 25, 2011)
(3) 2010 U.S. Census: State and County Quick Facts
(4) Virginia Hometown Locator [Online]
(5) Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries: Fishing/Where to Fish/Lakes/Orange County/Lake Orange [Online]
(6) Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation: State Parks/Find a Park/Lake Anna [Online]
(7) Virginia is For Lovers: Welcome/Weather and Climate [Online]
(8) Virginia Cooperative Extension: Vegetable Planting Guide and Recommended Planting Dates, Publication 426-331 [Online]
(9) U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service [Online]
(10) U.S. Department of Agriculture, Virginia's Forests, 2007, Table 6, p. 16 [Online]
(11) GEOSTAT: Virginia National Land Cover Data Browser (Accessed: 01/26/12)
(13) Orange County, Virginia, Comprehensive Plan "Orange County at the Crossroads: A Roadmap to the Future 2025" Jan. 20, 2012, p.20
(14) 2012 Census of Agriculture: County Summary Highlights