Spy Rock Trail

MODERATE 166 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
1,207 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

kid friendly

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

rocky

scramble

hiking
22 days ago

Great hike not far from Crab Tree Falls. Small road leading to the parking lot that can be quite busy at times. Once you get parked the steep incline of the beginning of the trail is enough to get your blood pumping. The 360 degree view from the top is phenomenal. There is an easier access point for the main view point, around the side of spy rock.

hiking
1 month ago

This trail is great, and the view at the top certainly doesn't disappoint. I love it so much I've gone up four times in the space of two weeks. I definitely recommend this hike.

1 month ago

great veiw, the trailhead is up a 4wheel drive road, and there is camping at the trailhead.

hiking
1 month ago

Super rewarding short hike. The incline on the way is enough to get the blood pumping and the ridge leading the the rock is beautiful. Camping there looks excellent. My favorite part was the rock itself, it required some poking around, but we found a low-difficulty scramble up to the top. Must be a great view, but we just arrived as a cloud engulfed the rock, making for a truly other-worldly experience.

hiking
1 month ago

Great family hike! My wife and I took our three kids (14, 11, and 7) and our Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever and really enjoyed the day. Additional info: I maneuvered our Town and Country van up Meadows Lane from Crabtree Falls Hwy and it was a little rough but not too difficult. It has been dry, and I am sure the road gets slick and challenging when wet. If you follow this app's map, you will arrive at a hairpin curve in Meadows Lane. There is an obvious camping spot (meadow) right there....that's where we parked the van. There is a road just to the left as you look at the camping spot from Meadows Lane. Follow that uphill past the Road Closed gate until the road forks to the left and right. You will notice trees on the left fork with the white AT mark. Look sharply to the RIGHT (even right of the right fork in the road,) up the mountain, and you will see additional white AT marks. That's your path. It's moderately steep uphill at first but not terrible. Plan on about 2.9 miles to the large meadow at the base of Spy Rock. The AT cuts off to the right as you enter the meadow. Go straight to the base of Spy Rock (past several campfires) and circle around the left side. You will find a path. It takes some scrambling but the whole fam plus doggo made it, no worries. Enjoy the view!

2 months ago

Great hike not for beginners it's up up all the way! But the 360 panoramic view is amazing.

hiking
2 months ago

Based on the google maps directions provided by this app, you’ll be driving up a tight service road for a significant amount of time until you reach a point where you may be able to park your car. Do not drive a car that rides low to the ground as you’ll basically be driving over two small creeks and many potholes. Signs for the trailhead are nonexistent, so the gps tracker on this app is absolutely essential. The actual hike is easy, with a bit of a rock scramble at the summit, where it’s a panorama view of the mountains surrounding you.

2 months ago

Beautiful views at the top. At times the hike was difficult but nothing too bad. I did this hike 20 weeks pregnant with my 5 year old and 7 year old. Enjoyed a lunch at the top

2 months ago

Fabulous views at the top, after a somewhat challenging rock climb at the end! On the difficult end of “moderate”.

3 months ago

Strenuous hike up, rock scramble is moderately difficult. 360 degree view at the top is spectacular.

hiking
5 months ago

Got a little lost at one point and there was one place of some fairly serious rock scrambling, but the view was amazing and a picnic at the top just fantastic.

5 months ago

Worth?
Sure..

5 months ago

We did this coming up from the fish hatchery. Pretty blah hike up. Spy Rock almost 360° view pretty cool. Ran into GM and Chef for Devil Backbone brewery on trail. Went and checked DB out after it got 5 stars.

hiking
6 months ago

Views were spectacular and easy enough for kids. Straight uphill to get there but all downhill coming off the mountain and a good wide “road” if you park at the hatchery. Little spotty figuring out the best way to get up and down the rock but we all did fine and well worth the climb.

hiking
7 months ago

Krista, thanks for posting your review on the alternate route to Spy Rock. The more people that try this route, the more it will become recognized as superior to the Fish Hatchery route to Spy Rock (hopefully the National Forest will eventually support it). Yes, you can take a normal car up Meadows lane road when the weather is good but you need to be careful and take it slow. There are plenty of good camping areas along the alternate route because it’s all on NF property. However, camping at the base of Spy Rock is not recommended (no water and to much traffic). E-mail me if anyone wants recommendations on camping areas (I know the area very well). Spyrock“at”Mac”dot”com

7 months ago

By the way, the alternate route parking is in Crabtree Meadows. Little grassy spot, be careful of foliage.

backpacking
7 months ago

The fish hatchery is open, thank you, Mike Y.! I let my GPS take me there from northern. VA and I ended up at the alternate route. No problem. A little longer but easier on the body. This was the 4WD route, but my little Honda Accord made it up and down just fine. Just took it slow and watched for holes. Warning - it’s easy to get turned around hiking back down the morning after. Next time I do an overnight i’ll take the fish hatchery route just to east my mind. All in all an amazing trip! The sunset and sunrise simply cannot be beat! Great pick for my first overnight :)

hiking
9 months ago

10 months 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...

10 months ago

Fav place for a short hike

hiking
10 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
11 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
11 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.

11 months ago

Great trail with 360 view at top!

hiking
11 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
Monday, October 16, 2017

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
Thursday, October 12, 2017

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
Thursday, October 12, 2017

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.

Monday, September 18, 2017

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
Wednesday, September 13, 2017

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

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