Explore the most popular kid friendly 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.

Quiet. Peaceful. You can fish, camp, walk the trails or relax and enjoy the picnic area.

Great place to get away! Can’t wait for all the changes they have planned to go into effect

This is a HARD trail, I hike a lot and this trail is not for the part timer. Almost uphill the entire way, first 1.5 Miles very easy gravel then the accent begins, pretty well marked but if you get to the Channels it’s easy to get turned around.
We found 2 kinda private overlooks and actually took a few naked pics for fun lol.
Well worth it but for sure hard.

Easy hike and great scenery.

The trail is easy and there is a feeding station you can get food for the fish in the pond for a quarter. Beautiful hike and well maintained. A warning; a suspicious male was seen during this hike. I am keenly aware of my surroundings and suddenly he appeared behind me on the gravel section towards the “train”. The individual went into the bathroom and then disappeared again with no one saying he passed them when I asked on my way back to the car. When I returned to my car he was sitting alone in a van. He quickly drove away and returned a few minutes later when I passed by the trail out of curiosity to see if he had returned. It could all be a coincidence but it’s better to be cautious.

19 days ago

Great hike

The channels are other-worldly and spectacular. This hike is well worth the effort in any season - I take all my visitors, no matter the time of year or weather- and everyone is always amazed. The trailhead parking can get crowded on nice weekends, weekdays are my favourite time to go and I have often had the channels to myself. If you are interested in a 22.5 mile grueling day hike, the channels can also be reached from the Hidden Valley parking lot at the opposite end of the Brumley Mtn Trail. I did this version on a rainy May day, but despite my exhaustion and familiarity with the destination, I still wandered through the Channels with the same sense of wonder as the first time.

All around amazing! The hike is more of a challenging one - 3 miles all uphill and the return journey down is a long one. Definitely bring lots of water and sunscreen. Getting to the trail head can be a little confusing, as you start on a gravel road that splits into the trail. The top of the mountain is absolutely gorgeous, and the channels themselves are extraordinary. Definitely worth the hike.

Beautiful view at the top and cool to see the natural changes formed from the rock erosion. The hike is fairly easy until the last mile or so, which is pretty steep. It may have been a mixture of the heat, humidity, and steepness, but I had to stop several times to catch my breath.

mountain biking
27 days ago

Nice trail for hiking, running, and mountain biking. I rode part of this trail with my Mountain bike. Decent trail for a new rider though there are some rocky spots. The map listed on here combines some other trails instead of just the Poverty Creek Trail. I plan to ride the whole route in the future.

Great hike for a beginner

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!

This is my new favorite hiking spot! The trails are well maintained and it's an easy walk to several waterfalls. When we return I will plan to spend more time here lounging on the rocks and playing in the streams.

Best to go after a good rain! Absolutely beautiful!

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
1 month 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!

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.

Incredible hike and absolutely stunning scenery. Beautiful river and waterfalls.

2 months ago

Very easy nice distance walk. The waterfall at the end is beautiful!! So much wild life you can see.

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.

Other than the first half mile which is on a gravel road this is a great hike with several vistas. I only did 4 miles out and back since the wind was blowing 25 to 30 miles an hour but it was still a nice hike.

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.

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