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Devils Fork and Devils Bathtub Loop Trail

hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(314)
Jefferson National Forest

Devils Fork and Devils Bathtub Loop Trail is a 7.3 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Fort Blackmore, Virginia that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, nature trips, and bird watching and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length 7.3 mi Elevation gain 1,614 ft Route type Loop

Dog friendly

Hiking

Nature trips

Bird watching

Running

Forest

River

Views

Waterfall

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Over grown

Rocky

Description
Waypoints (18)
Contact
Tips
Getting There

Note: This swimming hole is prone to flash flooding. For this reason, please do not attempt the trail if the water is above your knees. Scenic hike to the Devil's Bathtub, a scoured rock formation within Devil's Fork Creek. Hike follows the creek closely along its entire course, crossing the creek multiple times and passing several scenic swimming holes, rock formations, and waterfalls. This hike continues beyond the Devil's Bathtub, climbing the mountain and returning to the original trailhead. Beyond the Bathtub, however, the trail is much less maintained and may be difficult to follow in some seasons. Overcrowding at the Devil's Bathtub has become a problem, exacerbated by disrespectful hikers ignoring No Trespassing signs and parking along private property when the trailhead parking area becomes full. Please be aware that ALL areas outside of the signed parking area at the trailhead should be considered private property and should not be used for parking. Access to the trailhead is only allowed through an easement from a private landowner, and disregard for property owners' rights by visitors does nothing but needlessly strain this relationship...and puts you at risk of getting your car towed. If you arrive at the trailhead and the parking area is full, consider going somewhere else rather than breaking local trespassing laws. The Bathtub will still be there on another day, and you won't have to fight crowds of people to see it. Little Stony Falls or the Guest River Gorge are alternative hikes, both of which are nearby, have similar scenery than the Bathtub, and are virtually never crowded.

Virginia Tourism Corporation, 901 Easy Byrd Street , Richmond, VA, 23219, Phone: 804-786-2051, Fax: 804-786-1919

- Getting to the Bathtub is not an easy stroll to a swimming hole - it is a difficult backcountry hike involving some skill at route-finding and multiple stream crossings. People can (and frequently do!) get lost and/or injured when they attempt to hike to the Bathtub in poor weather conditions, without enough daylight remaining, or without proper experience or preparation. In short, this is NOT a good choice for a first backcountry hike. Always hike at your own risk, and consider taking some easier hikes in the area first to become familiar with the demands of backcountry travel if you are inexperienced. Above all, be smart and come prepared when attempting this trail. If you don't know what good hiking preparation entails, it may be best to choose an easier hike. - While often easily navigated, the multiple stream crossings on this trail may require significant wading at high water and may even become treacherous during extremely high creekflow. Even at low water levels, some creek crossings are technical and cannot be made dry-shod. Use caution and good judgment before attempting any creek crossings in wet weather. - Steep terrain and heavy forest cover along this trail may prevent adequate wireless internet access and/or reduce accuracy of smartphones' GPS while on the trail. Your location on the map may therefore not be precisely accurate if tracking your progress directly on the trail. As with all online guides, the information contained herein should only be used for educational purposes and not for use in backcountry navigation or as a substitute for a trail map, planning, and good judgment.

Directions from Fort Blackmore, VA: Head northwest on Rt. 619. Travel approximately 3 miles to the trailhead.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (315)
Photos (443)
Recordings (135)
Completed (576)
L. R. P.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarAugust 4, 2020
HikingGreat!

Sadly, this trail is really diminished by the amount of trash and litter en route to the tub. I’ve never hiked anywhere else in the US or anywhere in the developed world with so much litter on a beautiful nature trail. If I lived anywhere nearby I’d organize a clean up. It detracted greatly from the hike for me. Once past the tub, the trail was basically clean and wonderful. We enjoyed the loop. It’s longer than stated on the trail description here. And the trail “mile markers” do not seem to correlate with the loop’s length. I’d estimate it’s closer to 9 miles. We arrived by 8:30 am on a Tuesday and were the second car in the lot. The other group were at the swimming hole when we got there but we still felt able to enjoy the beauty of the swimming area and tub. By the time we completed the loop and were leaving (about 1 pm) the lots were packed with dozens and dozens of cars. So I can only imagine how unpleasantly crowded the main pool area probably was. We saw no one else on the loop while we hiked. While this is a well-known landmark and wonderfully pretty, I don’t really understand why it’s as heavily trafficked as it is. It’s not jaw dropping. It’s a nice natural landmark, falls, and swim spot. But I would never ever go on a weekend and I wouldn’t start the hike any later than we did. I prefer beauty, solitude, and fellow-hikers with an appreciation for nature and preserving it rather than as something to be consumed.

Marcie Franklin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 2, 2020
Hiking

Parking is a big problem. We ended up parking on the edge of the road leading to the parking lot and didn't get towed. The road to the parking lot is treacherous. The trail is beautiful and well maintained but definitely moderate to hard. Wear rugged shoes that can get wet. Would recommend a walking stick. Take water. Would not take small children or grandma. Pay attention to time of day and weather. Recommend take the shorter trail.

jeff hess
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 1, 2020
HikingGreat!Rocky

The hike is difficult, but so worth it! Many stream crossings. TIP, go during the week, fewer people. After the hike, proceed up rt 619/High Knob road to an amazing tower at sunset! The parking problem for Devils bathtub is solved by parking at the first parking area to your right, you will see cars parked there, although it adds 1/4 mile to your hike. If the water is a bit high DO NOT expect to see the tub as seen in photos, but you will be pleased with other pools and waterfalls. When the water is high, the aeration/bubbles makes it to where the pool will not be recognizable as the pool is approx 6'X25'. Still do the hike as we did with higher water, very nice! But I will return when the water is lower to see the pool as seen in photos!

Mary Bailor
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 31, 2020
HikingMuddyOver grownRocky

One question does the US Forrest service measure miles with crows??? I swear it’s longer then 7 miles, maybe it’s because we got stuck in the rain not sure. I loved it, I recommend doing the loop if you enjoy hiking if you don’t just do the 1.5 and leave it at that because you are not in the right shoes aka boots!! Please take out what you bring in it’s beautiful

Madelyn Church
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 5, 2020
HikingGreat!

I went on this hike last Sunday 7/5/2020 and maybe it hadn't rained in a while but the water was not nearly as high as some of the reviews have said. Was able to mostly stay on the rocks at every crossing (I counted 10 creek crossings to the tub). The bathtub itself was beautiful! Water was chilly but my pup still swam around. If you're taking a dog I would suggest just making sure they are well trained on the leash not to pull. To get down to the tub it is a little thin and could be dangerous if they tried to pull you. Also crossing the creeks could get dangerous if they decided to pull. I got there around 10am and only saw about 3 people at the bathtub which was great! I headed back down and left around 2 and probably met 20 people going back down so I would suggest getting there early. Great hike!!

Marcie Morrison
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 3, 2020
MuddyOff trailRocky

Getting there early was the right thing to do. We shared the trail with 4 other families until the way out, when we passed 15 other groups. This trail is not easy. Come prepared with great hiking shoes for water, and maybe a spare elastic bandage. There was more than a few spills witnessed on the hike. Totally worth it. What a beautiful gem this place is. Pay attention to weather, as flooding would be a big problem. I look forward to a chilly fall hike.

Eric Moore
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 27, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful hike. We went clockwise, starting with the branch to devils bathtub. This was a good Choice for the day, which predicted rain. There were prob 10 total crossings on way to the bath and shortly after, but the rest of the trail has none until you’re back to start (the first crossing is also the last on way out). The water is lovely and bracing on a hot day. The loop after the water areas is not as scenic or unique, but worth it for the full experience. Some unfortunate litter especially between start and bathtub. Some poison ivy on tight trail near start/end opposite the bathtub on the loop. I assume it’s because it tracked us waking around the swim area a while, but it clocked me at about 10m rather than 7. FWIW.

View Eric's Recording
Brenna Killian
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 15, 2020
Hiking

This is an amazing hike! I recommend doing the loop although you can go straight to the tub and back. Prepare to get wet there are several water crossings. I would also bring trekking poles, they help with the water. There’s a parking lot at the top and also some space at the bottom if you have a car that won’t go up the gravel hill.

Shaun RVA
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 13, 2020
Hiking

Have a small vehicle so I parked in the gravel lot just before the small bridge. The walk from there to the actual trail isn’t very far. If you follow the direct route to the bathtub it’s not a very far hike and while you do have to cross many streams the trail is well kept and I believe not as treacherous as some of the reviews would lead you to believe. I started the hike early around 7ish and when we arrived at the tub we were the only ones there. On the way back to our vehicle around 10 we saw many people heading in so if you’d like a more peaceful experience I recommend starting early but the water is definitely chilly at the time of day. Have fun it’s a great hike

Dave Marr
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 8, 2020
HikingMuddy

I would recommend this trail. From the scenery to the crystal-clear blue water, it was all worth the effort. Although I echo what everyone else has said about it being treacherous (and your feet will definitely get wet). I went at 8:15 Monday morning and only two cars were parked in the lot. I parked about 0.3 miles or so down the road from the trailhead over the bridge at the new parking lot. I also took the long way around to the Bathtub (the seven-mile loop). It was uphill most of the way but the trail was marked and looked like an untreated road for most of it so it was easy to follow. Unfortunately I was unable to find the Bathtub (my GPS didn’t work) but I did find the Swimming Hole & Waterfall, although there is a steep climb down to it. Luckily there is a rappelling rope there that you can use that makes the trek easier. Once you pass that, though, you hit the major stream crossings that will wet your feet, so be warned. My hiking boots got soaked.

Kayla Dube
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 8, 2020
Hiking

This trail is extremely beautiful, especially as you get to the tub. However, it is a bit treacherous. You’re going to have to cross streams multiple times, and the water can get high and at points moves fast. Sometimes finding the trail markers can be difficult, but you just have to look. There were lots of people especially as we got closer to the tub, and a fair amount of trash left behind. If you’re going to come here or to any trail please pack trash out. That being said, this trail is definitely unique and worth seeing, but make sure you’re prepared to get wet and I’d suggest coming at a time it’d be less busy.

Michelle Shupe
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 4, 2020
Hiking

First I’ll start by saying if your vehicle is low do not attempt to drive to the main parking lot. Lots of deep potholes. They have a new parking lot with bathrooms at the bottom. Overall the hike is great. But it is by no means easy. There are 12 creek crossings. Some come up to your shin. Rocky , very rocky trail. I wouldn’t advise bringing Grandma unless she is in very good shape. Do not wear flip flops . Wear a good pair of shoes or boots. They will get wet. Also when you get to the Devils Bathtub you have to cross over a very tight ledge. They have a rope you can hold onto. We saw kids swimming at the upper falls one fell and hit his head ( hard) it’s slick. It’s worth the hike just take your time and be careful! It is so beautiful! Do check the weather. Don’t go in the rain because it floods.

anastasia landman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 31, 2020
HikingFlooded

Please check the weather and hike prepared! “An online alert posted on the Scott County tourism website warns that the swimming hole is prone to flash flooding. "For this reason, please do not attempt the trail if the water is above your knees," the alert reads. “ -CNN “the rescue of 20 hikers who were stranded by flooding along the trails. Mike Armstrong, chief of the Bristol Virginia Fire Department, said hikers were walking the trails around the popular swimming hole Sunday, but evening rain caused flash flooding. The high water from the various streams that cut across the trails left the hikers unable to get back to the parking area.” - Bristol Harold

Gabriella S.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 23, 2020
HikingFloodedRocky
View Gabriella's Recording
Jason Elder
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 18, 2020
HikingRocky

It was a great hike. Crowded for a Sunday evening. The scenery was beautiful with several photo opportunities and water crossings.

amy meredith
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 16, 2020
Hiking

Do NOT be put off by the reviews of poor trail markers and difficulty with route finding! The loop trail is a gem! We had a gorgeous day in May. We did the counter clockwise loop ending with the DBT at the end. The trail was well established and very well marked with yellow blazes every few trees. The start was a moderate upgrade, muddy in parts but not terrible. Once cresting that, you remain on a logging road for a bit, then end up on a trail through forest with wild magnolia. A few small stream crossings along the way. We saw hardly saw anyone else. A few water crossings that could be dicey if heavy rains. Be smart about that. Coming to the water fall, we were the ONLY people there. We shimmied down the rope (it helps to have rappel experience but more a comfort thing than anything else), and sat for lunch. We climbed up the "steps" of the shale rock to climber's left, using roots if needed. We did start meeting more people as we got closer to the Bath Tub. And, unfortunately there is some trash there. Not over-whelming, but there none the less. Still, we are Emergency NP's from NJ and just being away from the chaos of our hospitals, was sheer joy. Finding happy, laughing , healthy, people, jumping into pools and giggling, a delight. The water is crystal clear, and oh so blue. For little kids, there are ample, smaller pools along the clockwise trail to the DBT, if they can't or don't want to go the entire way. We laughed, ALOT. The loop is 8.6 miles based on our GPS. We drove down after a night in Kentucky, and I will say the 9 mile SC High Knob Road rutted, winding, steep, guttered, road was probably the most scary part of it all. I was very glad to have an SUV on that road! IF the actually parking at the trail head is full, cars did park along the road up to it, but that made it VERY difficult to pass on our return, technically you could be towed there. If you continue past the turn for the DBT a mile-ish, there is ample parking there. We arrived around 9 and had no problem getting a parking spot at the trail head, much later, it probably gets pretty busy. It was Saturday so likely makes it busier. Would love to do this trail again during the week. It's a treasure! Keep it that way! Pack out your trash (and even your poo and toilet paper...plan for that with a little baggie with kitty liter in it...really, it sounds gross, but this gem could quickly become quite overwhelmed!) Leave no Trace.

Misty Steele
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 15, 2020
HikingRocky

Highly Recommended! A great mixture of Sunshine, shade and water! Adventurous and beautiful hike! Lots of rocks along the paths, and you will definitely be getting wet crossing many streams/creeks along the way. It’s a good 4 mile hike round trip but nothing too steep or strenuous except at the top near the bathtub.. Just hiked this in May and the water was frigid! Suitable for some kids! We have made plans for another trip this year! I loved it!

beth jones
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 12, 2020

my absolute favorite place to hike BEAUTIFUL I've been in July and September July was absolutely gorgeous because the Magnolias were blooming and make a tunnel over the trail at the top of the mountain strenuous hike in places but absolutely worth it. If you plan on parking in the. very small parking lot definitely bring four-wheel drive otherwise be prepared to walk in. DO NOT park where advised not to your vehicle will be towed! 5 stars

Aaron Blevins
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 17, 2020
HikingMuddyRockyWashed out
View Aaron's Recording
Fred Dulin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarApril 11, 2020
Hiking

Great morning hike. We didn’t see a soul until around mile 5. Almost missed the devil’s bathtub with the water being so high. There os such great variety in the loop. I imagine the forest walk would be pretty hot in the middle of the summer.

View Fred's Recording
Carla Miller
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 6, 2019
Hiking

Was beautiful, we did the loop trail, not alot of water right now, but definitely worth doing! Also only passed one other hiker! Hopefully we be able to come back in the spring when the water is roaring. There is a waterfall around the 3 mile point, three forks I believe was the name! Around 3.5 there is a sign letting you know that the trail is rugged. It has lots of crossing and up and down the terrain, very Rocky!

Tamara Carlson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 30, 2019
HikingBugsPrivate propertyRocky

The water was nearly non existent and the hike was definitely rocky. We were met by many knats. Despite the lack of water it was a VERY beautiful hike. My husband and i spent round about 3 hours there. We plan to go back next year. It was not busy. The road leading up to it was as everyone said, difficult so a 4 wheel drive is suggestive. It wasn't busy at all today. Overall it was an amazing trip. Highly recommended

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