Channel Rock Trail Loop is a 15.6 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Rural Retreat, VA that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.
Secluded area and you will almost always be alone with the wild life. I have seen Bears, huge Deer, and even a Rattlesnake. Great scenery!
Did the trail on 10/15/11. The leaves were just starting to turn and the morning temp was in the upper 40's that morning. Started late 9:00 AM. Decided to do the Loop clockwise, starting with the climb up Little Brushy Mountain. Loop starts after crossing a stream and then beings the gradual climb. The grade increases dramatically to 3,000 feet then flattens. But altitude gain does not stop with another quick 200 foot increase. then a steep down hill followed with another 200 foot increase. Many leaves had fallen so you were able to get a great view of the Tennessee Valley divide and the Valley. The trail blazes in the upper elevations are significantly staggered. As the trail is not well travelled, it was difficult to see the trail with all the leaves on the ground. The trail does take a hard right turn, but there is a side trail that goes straight to a dirt road. Yes, I got lost and had to back track. All of these gains are without the assist of switchbacks. Then after crossing the AT you get a steep 650 foot drop back into the valley. The bad part of the trail is a couple of miles of hiking on a dirt road. Got back to the parking lot at 2:30 PM.