Explore the most popular horseback riding trails in Jefferson National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Rented a bike and rode 17 miles of the trail downhill to Damascus from White Top. Not a bad way to spend a few hours on a Saturday afternoon. Great family outing if you have younger kids. Scenic views along the river were amazing in places.

The Channels were amazing!

Great hike with a huge bonus at the top! The channels were amazing!

Beautiful views at the top! Moderate incline hike with a few larger hills to climb but overall a good hike. Channels are absolutely gorgeous!

Steady-but-easy climb for 90 minutes with visual rewards up top. The actual Channels were an entirely new treat - like a giant, stone labyrinth tucked away just below the lookout. Great stuff all-around.

Absolutely a must do in Virginia! It was probably the most rewarding hike I've had as far as having amazing activities at the top. My 4 and 6 year olds had a blast on this one!

mountain biking
27 days ago

Hiked this a few times with some friends and loved it! It is a bit challenging to hike up the mountain, but the trail is very well maintained which makes things easier. I suggest hiking up to the top early in the morning so that you can enjoy a few hours actually inside the Channels and on top of the mountain. If I’m ever out that way again, I would definitely hike this trail again!

Great trail for all skill levels.

It was a great hike, my dog enjoyed it as well. It’s basically all up hill until you get to the channels but the average person could easily hike this(not saying you won’t be tired). It has an amazing view at the top and then you can wind down in the channels and explore. Loved the hike and will definitely do it again.

Love the trail, and the Channels are amazing! Such a fun find! Definitely worth the trip. Nothing to really break out the camera for until you hit your second mile or so. Pretty bland trail till then. The trail was very well marked and easy to follow. My only complaint would be the amount of trash of the trail. Its really sad to see that people don't have more respect than that.

The hike starts out with a steep climb up Gateway trail. I took the connecting trail to Snake Root trail (and saw a snake!) then poverty creek horse trail to Jacobs ladder, another steep climb. Fantastic workout and an absolutely beautiful trail system. No dramatic overlooks but lush plant life, some wildlife, and pretty creek crossings along the way. I set up my hammock for a break at the base of Jacobs Ladder. I’m a fairly consistent weekend hiker ( not a runner) and it took me 4 hours and 18 minutes including my break. Had my chihuahua with me, too.

Whoever said it was a moderate grade was nuts. If you are over 50 and out of shape this is not your hike. I'm over 60 and consider myself to be in good shape for my age compared to other people over 60. It took me 2 hours to get up to the top. And I did enjoy the channels once I got there but the prospect of having to go 3 miles down the hill was not a pleasant thought so it really dampened the entire experience for me. I've never seen a sign that said there was a rescue squad available at the beginning of a trail which should tell you something about how hard it is to get up there. I saw too many people bend over gasping for air over 30 years younger than myself. I do not recommend this hike if you are over 50. the grades I think are fairly steep in places. it would have been nice if there were benches periodically where people could sit down. And for Heaven's sake don't bring a toddler unless you plan to carry them. That is too long of a stretch for little legs. If you do decide to take this hike, bring plenty and I do mean plenty of water and snacks and dress in layers.

Great trail run to work on elevation training! Can be a challenging run at times. Views from the top are pretty nice. Continue on to Jacobs latter trail and get onto poverty creek to extend your run/hike.

Nice early April Day for a hike to the Channels. Different perspective from the last early August hike. With a mid 70's day it actually pretty chilly down amongst the channels. Always a good hike.

Slow and steady, the reward is more than worth it! Take a flashlight. Photos can’t even get close to capturing how amazing it is.

It was so good to get out and hike on Gateway Trail, Easter Sunday afternoon. If like a good elevation climb, and only have an hour and a half, Gateway is a great up and back trail that will get your heart pumping .

2 months ago

Poverty creek is one trail in the poverty creek trail system, I took horse nettle to Jacobs ladder to may apple to poverty creek. It’s a moderately difficult ~7 mile loop when done in this direction. This takes you to the top of brush mountain where there is a cell tower and a view limited by trees.

If you want a challenge, I would take my route backwards. Horse nettle is a moderate incline to the top of brush mountain while taking Jacobs ladder up has several high steps over roots, a difficult incline, and it ends in a switchback. There are some stream crossings so be prepared to get your feet wet. Overall a nice hike, but don’t expect any great views.

As one reviewer said, the poverty creek trail is a one way 7.1 mile trail, ending up being 14.2 if you go down and back. The route listed as the trail is actually a loop utilizing horse nettle, snake root, poverty creek south, skullcap, prickly pear, royale, and finally poverty creek north. You must follow these trails to hit the 10 miles listed.

Well marked trail, steady incline without extremely steep climbs. Great views on top, with so much to explore in the “Channels”. Look for the geocache

The Channels are amazing! We went on a cold rainy day, but it was totally worth it.

Good workout, started in the afternoon. Parking was a problem. Go early.
The channels was great. A good view is to be had Northeast of the Fire Tower.

It’s just 3.4 miles if you hike up to the top and back down without going on other trails. Easy and quick hike in Blacksburg, VA.

Boring hike. Nothing in particular worth seeing. Heavy traffic. More suitable for mountain biking than hiking.

excellent hike. Done in Dec. the weather was perfect. the channel rock formation is something that you need to see. pictures cannot give justice to the place.

Did this trail a few years back. Tracked 19 miles from Big Walker Tower to Crawfish Parking Area. This trail was once the A.T.

6 months ago

This trail can be muddy and overgrown in the summer months. Trail follows a seasonal creek and sometimes becomes the creek. There are also a few creek crossings that you will encouter. You can connect this trail with the Virginia Highlands Horse Trail and Henley Hollow Trail to get a 11-12 mile loop

It was so much fun!

Great trail! The waypoints along the way are really nice to read and find out more about the history of the area.

Great geological feature rewards you at the end of this trail. Well marked, well maintained trail. The top of the trail in May when the Rhododendrons are in full bloom would be worth seeing.

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