Spy Rock Trail

MODERATE 129 reviews

Spy Rock Trail is a 5.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Montebello, Virginia that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
5.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1207 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

kid friendly

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

rocky

scramble

hiking
13 days ago

1 month ago

Laura, it sounds like you were on the correct route. The AT trail takes you to a saddle at the base of Spy Rock but you need to scramble to the top and there is no marked trail to the summit. There is a small sign that reads “Spy Rock” with an arrow at the saddle. It is easy to miss...

1 month ago

Fav place for a short hike

hiking
2 months ago

*Tried* to hike this yesterday....we definitely hiked something. Followed the alternate route directions but weren't entirely sure which gravel road with car camping spots was Cash Hollow as we didn't have reception. Parked off road next to the most obvious road that was at least 3 miles up Meadows Lane & hiked up past a gate & turned Right up the AT like directions said. We never came to a definitive summit or saw other trails leading to one before the AT started to descend again. Was still gorgeous, and an enjoyable hike with no other people in sight/sound. Could someone post photos of the 4WD road or parking area?

hiking
2 months ago

Followed the current recommended route to avoid trespassing. Started the hike in the early morning when it was still dark so that we could watch sunrise from Spy Rock. Good times scrambling at the end. About 2.4 miles each way.

hiking
2 months ago

I love this one. It's a nice steady up hill walk that gets a little rocky and steep towards to the top. Once you get to the top as an FYI u do have to climb the spy rock which can be a challenging both for ppl and dog. I had a husky and a Boston terrier. We came one a foggy day which was amazing to walk through but at the top we didn't see anything so we will be coming back.

2 months ago

Great trail with 360 view at top!

hiking
2 months ago

Great day hike. Not too crowded. Mostly well marked except for best route up the rock. That’s the adventuresome part! I went up on left side of rock and descended on opposite side. Both were equally challenging, but the route to the right as you are looking at back of Spy Rock seemed a bit faster. Dogs seemed to have no problem making it up and it is a wide trail for the most part so great for pets. Most amazing view from the top. Plan to stay awhile.

hiking
3 months ago

I have hiked this trail twice now, once alone and once with two children (6 and 7). Spoke with one of the landowners on my last trip who expressed his concerns with some of the hikers, but told us we could use the trail if we so chose to. Of the more beautiful vistas I have had the pleasure of viewing.

backpacking
3 months ago

A hike I really enjoy, especially during the fall. There’s a campsite there as well as the overlook is beside the AT. I’d say it’s more than just moderately trafficked. The view, while not being the highest point gives you a unique 360 look around. Great place for sunrise or sunset, just a slight scramble involved to get on top of it.

hiking
3 months ago

We parked in the lot by the trailhead. We had a great day and the gkids loved it. We arrived at the top and did go to the left and the kids were able to navigate the trail just fine. They are 3 and 4. The view was beautiful and we spent a good while up there having our lunch.

4 months ago

If you park off Meadows Lane road and hike the alternate route (up the 4WD Cash Hollow road turn right on the AT trail) it is about 2.5!miles each way (5 total). About 750 ft elevation change (less then the Fish Hatchery route). Plan on an hour and a half each way. See Dave Pitman recorded track on this app site below, it is the correct alternate route (it shows the distance as 2.4 miles one way).

As for the no trespassing signs on Spy Rock roads being "illegal", all I can say is it's currently in the process of being determined. If you have a high clearance vehicle, I recommend using the alternative route (it's better). What started all the problems was hikers not respecting private property. Spy Rock road is on private property, The more people that ignore the no trespassing signs the more difficult it will be to reach a compromise w/ some of the landowners. If you have a low clearance vehicle, you can use the Crabtree Falls lot off route 56 (a full day hike). If you have to use the Spy Rock road, please be quiet and respect the fact that there have been issues w/ people hiking thru this area. Hopefully this will get resolved soon....

hiking
4 months ago

Mike Yankovich - can you give an estimate on the round-trip distance of this hike using the alternative route?

hiking
4 months ago

We had never hiked the original route and followed Mike's directions for the alternate (thank you!!). Spy Rock is beautiful and the hike to get there is relatively easy. The AT is well maintained and the elevation changes are manageable with only a couple steep spots. The trickiest part is at the very top having to do a small rock scramble to summit.

It's important to note that although AllTrails lists this as a 3 mile hike...if you take the "new" way of getting there you need to plan on a 9 1/4 mile hike total. My boyfriend and I are experienced hikers but had not anticipated conquering that long of a hike. Luckily the weather was as close to perfect as you can get and we completed it in 4 hours (including about 30mins spent at the top). Beautiful hike but wanted to make note of the length to help prevent anyone less experienced being caught off guard.

4 months ago

We hiked this today as a family! Totally worth the steep incline to the top. We parked in the lot next to the road that has a gate and says no public access. Others were hiking up and just walked past it. So we did too. Apparently there is a legal battle going on but the public can access the trail here the signs aren't legal. I read about the alternate route but wasn't going to attempt that with a minivan. It makes me sad that a few disrespectful hikers may have ruined it for others.

hiking
4 months ago

Victoria, Robert....thanks for the positive feedback on the new route. I agree that it is much better but getting the word out has been difficult. The Route is not new, it's been there for years. All the NFS needs to do is put up a few signs and get the Natural Bridge AT club (NABC) to blaze the trail. We were very close to making this happen but everything stopped once the lawsuit was filed. There are plenty of areas around the trail head that is currently being used for car camping, if the camping areas are full, you can continue down Meadows lane to the Crabtree parking lot.

hiking
4 months ago

I was up there Monday amd was disappointed that the trail been closed especially since my intent was to hike w my girlfriend's daughter. Instead we drove to Lynchburg for her to climb at Rise Up, so not a total loss.

So today I went on the alternate route and honestly, I see no reason that I will ever want to hike the old trail. It was a steady climb but without the elevation of the old trail. The canopies on the trails will be (IMHO) amazing in the autumn. I think the NF should simply change the trailhead to this location.

Oh Mike, thanks for the info.

4 months ago

Mike, thanks for the sign and the alternate trail. We have hiked Spy Rock a half dozen times. It is my favorite trail by far. Just short and steep and gorgeous views. Heartbroken to see that the trail was closed but LOVED the alternate hike on the AT. Perhaps they would consider "moving" the trail and creating a parking area here instead? At any rate, we will be back again to hike it the "new" way. Thanks for helping to maintain the relationship between the land owners and hikers. I'm sad to see that a few bad apples ruined the bunch in this case. I definitely recommend having a truck or SUV with 4WD as there are two small stream/runoff crossings and the parking is a bit off-road.

hiking
4 months ago

Tiffany, sorry for the confusion on the alternate route post. You can drive a normal car 3.2 miles up Meadows lane to the beginning or the side gravel 4WD drive road (Cash Hollow road) but not up the Cash Hollow 4WD road to the AT trail. Recommend you park along the side of Meadows lane road in the car camping sites and hike up Cash Hollow Road to the AT. If you plan on driving up Cash Hollow road, or beyond the Crabtree Meadows parking lot, you will need a high clearance vehicle. All bets are off in the winter....

hiking
5 months ago

I have traveled this trail before and it is absolutely beautiful at the top and worth the hike. However, currently the trail is still restricted (as of yesterday). Mike (as posted below) did post an alternate route down Crabtree Meadows, but this route is not accessible to cars that do not have 4WD. I made it 3 miles up the mountain in my Tuscon with FWD and then turned onto the side gravel road and only made it about .3 miles before I had to turn around. My car would only go backwards. I will definitely try to this route again but in a 4WD vehicle. Just ended up going to Crabtree Falls instead.

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