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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 is primarily used for hiking, camping, nature trips, and bird watching and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length 5.7 mi Elevation gain 1,207 ft Route type Out & Back

Dog friendly

Kid friendly

Camping

Hiking

Nature trips

Bird watching

Forest

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Rocky

Scramble

Description
Waypoints (0)

The private property trail to Spy Rock from the state fish hatchery is closed (there are signs saying no public access to National Forest). Meadow Ln is not accessible to all types of vehicles all the time. Not recommended for low clearance sports cars due to two stream crossings at .5 mile and 1.2 mile point. Not recommended for any vehicle if it’s forecasted to snow (it’s state maintained but not cleared in the winter).

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (273)
Photos (226)
Recordings (91)
Completed (739)
William Knight
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarAugust 8, 2020
Hiking

Let me first preface that we are very experienced hikers, especially in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest area. The long rugged one-way road that takes you into what many consider the Spy Rock trail region is treacherous and definitely requires a 4-wheel drive vehicle. Make sure that you understand the narrow aspect of the road that essentially borders an elevated cliff/mountain side. We crossed paths with MANY individuals that encountered the same challenges as ourselves with regard to finding the actual trail. The original entrance is positioned at the fish hatchery, that is currently "off limits"; so in order to meet the trail head you must walk down the fire road (All Trails provides the proper coordinates for this location) and past a gate until you find the AT (look for the white blazes). Take a sharp right onto the AT and you'll find the the trail head a bit further. TRUST me I spoke to 3 different groups that were turned away due to the difficulty of discovering the trail - there are no indicative signs that outline any of this information, so make sure to do your research.

L. R. P.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 30, 2020
Hiking

Best view in the state! You need a high clearance (and preferably 4WD) vehicle to get to the trailhead via Meadows Ln. This is such a nice trail. Moderately trafficked on a weekend. The summit is windy. Make sure you are prepared with appropriate clothing on a cool day or if you get caught by a thunderstorm.

Harrison Maynard
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 26, 2020
Hiking

So I just posted a picture of the gate. The trail isn’t closed, you just have to walk around the gate and then follow the road up till you hit the trail head! They have also had volunteers that made the rock scramble much easier and safer!

Timothy Crum
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 21, 2020
Hiking

Late July 100+ in lowlands but prob mid80’s at the top. Good hike and only saw 2 others. Moderate seems appropriate as there were some short bursts that were tiring and some places that were rocky but all in all an enjoyable hike. Views at the top were outstanding and really are 360. Some nice mountain laurel patches along the trail that I always enjoy. If weather has been dry, a car would be fine for the crossings but could see them being too much after some rain. Reviews saying exactly 3.1miles in are spot on. Take the road to the white blazed AP and make a hard right. Easy to follow.

View Timothy's Recording
Tom Meier
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 21, 2020
Hiking

Parked in the lot at end of Meadows Lane. Certainly needed high clearance and 4WD under certain conditions. Hiked up to spy rock on July 18 with 16 Boy Scouts and adults for an overnight trip. Small area on South side for tents or hammocks, lots of rocks, no water. North side had easy trail to summit with great views. Return trip much easier about 90 minutes each way. Ran into John Mullins and wife on way out, his review is really good.

Anne Shoemaker
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 21, 2020
Hiking

Nice easy side of Moderate trail through the forest. Lots of pretty wild flowers. Well-maintained trail. On this warm weekday, we passed only two Appalachian Trail through-hikers on the way in, saw no one else at Spy Rock, and passed only one pair of hikers on the way back. The road in was recently re-graded and was quite passable.

Chris Foster
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 20, 2020

I hiked this trail on a hot July afternoon. I would only recommend Meadows Lane if you have a high clearance/4WD vehicle. I parked at the bottom of Crab Tree Falls ($3 parking fee for the day) and hiked to Spy Rock and back; Crab Tree Falls continues from the top to the Meadows Lane parking lot, and from there you can hike to Cash Hollow road mentioned below. I started around 9:45 and finished at 3:30. It's a significantly longer hike than shown. Both Crab Tree and Spy Rock were beautiful.

John Mullins
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 19, 2020
Hiking

My wife and I hiked the trail on a hot Sunday in July. We were at the trail head at 8 AM to beat the heat. We passed a large group of boy scouts and parents that had camped at the base of Spy Rock the night before and commented on how wonderful the view of the stars was. We had the summit to ourselves for about 15 minutes before being joined by 2 other groups. Passed one set of hikers heading to Spy Rock on the way out. With the parking area at the fish hatchery closed, I don't think Spy Rock is getting as much traffic as it typically does. The view from the top is one of the best in the area, if not all of Virginia. Simply stunning. The trail itself is on the easy side of moderate. The Cash Hollow Rd section is essentially a fire road. At the intersection with the AT, you take a hard right and simply follow to the Spy Rock spur trail. This section of the AT is very pretty and less rocky than many sections in this area. We hiked Spy Rock a number of years ago when you had to scramble up to the top of the rock from the front side. Now the trail has been improved and winds around the back of the rock for an easier ascent. The drive in on Meadows lane isn't that bad if you have a high clearance vehicle. The road has been slightly widened for the first 1.5 miles which greatly improves your ability to actually pass a vehicle if your are unlucky enough to encounter someone coming from the other direction. The spot to park for this hike is exactly 3.1 miles from the start of the gravel section of Meadows Lane. Only wild life spotted today was a lone wild turkey.

Seth Roberts
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 13, 2020

hiked in from Meadow Lane. I followed the other users recommendation of driving 3.1 mile from route 56. The directions were spot on. We saw eight people during the entire trip and add 2 hours at the top of Spy Rock all by ourselves on a Sunday afternoon. gorgeous!

Christopher Minot
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 11, 2020
Hiking

It was a Saturday morning in July. I got to the parking lot at 6:30am and there were no other cars or hikers. As I climbed the Falls I saw two different bears. Both of them were on the trail didn’t see me. The falling water is loud in sections and if it is early they will not necessarily be aware. Both times I made a small noise which caused them to run away. The hike from the top of CF to Spy Rock was beautiful and long. I only saw about 3 other hikers. Later in the day, on the way back down, there were crowds along the trail at the Falls but most of the hike was in solitude. Windy and cool high on the ridges Beautiful hike and probably even better Fall, Winter and Spring since you would be able to see more

View Christopher's Recording
Mike Yankovich
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 7, 2020
Hiking

Hiked to spy rock again today via Meadows Ln / Cash Hollow. It looks like VDOT is doing some widening of Meadows Ln from Rt 56 to slightly past the second stream crossing (1.2miles). Very dusty but it looks like they will be putting gravel down soon (they added lots of pullouts). They also dumped some riverbed rocks on the stream to make it easier to cross. The AT trail has also been cleared on the sides all the way from Cash Hollow gap south to Spyrock so you can wear shorts. Lots of gnats so I would strongly recommend bug spray. The thru hikers are making their way north, you will probably run into a few this week. E-mail me if you have any questions - spyrock@mac.com

Mike Yankovich
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 23, 2020
Hiking

Fish Hatchery parking lot and trail still have signs up saying closed to general public. The route depicted here is open. It’s via Cash Hollow road. Take Meadows Lane road and Cash Hollow trail to AT and approach Spy rock on AT from the North (it’s a bit longer but less crowded, better hike with more views/less elevation change). Once you get on the gravel Meadows Lane road off Rt 56, reset your odometer and when it hits 3.1 miles look for a 4WD road on your right (this is Cash Hollow road). Park your vehicle and hike up Cash hollow road past a bunch of camping sites and a locked forest service gate. After the gate, you will descend a bit then reach a saddle/intersection with the Appalachian Trail (AT). Take a right on the AT and head south to Spy Rock.

Bryan Peters
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 22, 2020
Hiking

Most of the trail is a rocky/gravel road. Steady ascent to top could be listed as moderate to hard, but coming back is definitely a lot easier. Like most reviews the payoff is well worth it.

DK YORK
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 17, 2020
Muddy

We hiked this today. The parking lot was closed, but ranger said we could park on gravel road where there was a bump out and didn't say we could not hike. We had to park at bottom of hill from parking lot, so it added some distance. We went to the top, had a picnic, took pics and came back. Constant uphill grade otw to rock, but payoff was huge. Walk back was all downhill and easy.

Christy Wolfe
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 17, 2020
Hiking

Trail definitely still closed - not just closed but signs to trail taken down and clear markings that no one is to cross barrier. So while you may be able to park on the gravel road it is clearly trespassing right now to hike.

Anita Smith
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 1, 2020
Hiking

We hiked the Spy Rock Trail from Fish Hatchery Road June 1, 2020. Not sure why the signs and barricades at the lot were still up. We hiked on a Monday, from Fish Hatchery Road to Spy Rock, and then on to the Priest, coming out on the AT at the Tye River. If you hike this, bring plenty of water. And the Fish Hatchery part of the hike is all uphill, rocky/gravel for a mile before you even reach the AT. Just be prepared for that. The hike from Spy Rock to the Priest is great! It has a lot of downhill in that direction, so take your time so you don't trip. Wear the right shoes - your knees and feet will not be happy with all that down if you wear the wrong thing. Views at Spy Rock are amazing. Be sure you don't leave any trash along the trail. The ledges is a great place to eat your lunch on this hike - look for it on the Guthook app.This is 11 miles from Fish Hatchery on to Spy Rock, and then on to the Priest. Strenuous, but fabulous.

Alexis Rummel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMay 27, 2020
HikingMuddyRocky

Went after rain and it drizzled most of the hike. There was a lot of loose rocks on the trail and in places a lot of mud. The rocks you climb to get up to the overlook were bare and slick. But it was a beautiful and refreshing hike and even through the clouds the views were gorgeous.

View Alexis's Recording
Liz Jones
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 11, 2020
Hiking

Trail closed due to COVID-19. 4/10/20

Joseph Dunn
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 4, 2020
Hiking

Great hike to Spy Rock. Trails were cleared and fairly easy

View Joseph 's Recording
Michael Kramer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 3, 2020

Great day for a hike, mid 50's & clear. The first 2 miles are on steep but the 360 degree view at the top is well worth it.

Audrey Garrett
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 28, 2020
HikingBugsRocky

Wonderful hike, straight up hill but lots of spots to stop and catch your breath. Not much view until the top but the pay off is so worth it. Once you reach the large rock, go left. To the right you have to scramble to the top, to the left you can walk up.

View Audrey's Recording
William Wojohn
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 28, 2020
Hiking

The road to the start is VERY rough. Tough going for a sedan. There is a 3 mile route that starts on the AT at the fish hatchery

View William 's Recording
Rachel Hillis
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 2, 2020
Hiking

You will need a lifted 4wd car to get to the trailhead. My little car made it about two miles from the trailhead. There is enough room along the edge of the road to park-hiking the test of the way in is no biggie! Very secluded. Don’t do it alone

View Rachel's Recording
Katharin Pappas
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 2, 2020
HikingPrivate propertyRocky

Short but consistently uphill trail with a beautiful payoff at the summit. Can continue on the AT a few miles past Spy Rock toward Crabtree falls and the Priest. Went on 3/1/20 and it was a bit icy but easy to avoid slippery spots on the trail. Left a very nice tan Carrhart dog leash on one of the rocks at the base of Spy Rock (where you turn left to follow the spur trail around to the summit, toward the center of the campsite meadow). Hope someone finds it and can use :)

Lilla Oliver
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 24, 2020
Hiking

Spy rock trail was a great hike. It was about a 45 min walk on an incline up to the top with very little flat ground. The trail was a little bit rocky going up but nothing too bad. It was also a little muddy closer to the top but nothing that couldn’t be avoid. The views are definitely worth the hike. Overall a great short hike to amazing views!

Heidi Daniels
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 23, 2020
HikingRocky

It was a great February day for a hike. As everyone has said it is all up hill. Seemed like it took forever! Awesome view! I bet Spy Rock is busy in the summer. There are some areas that are roped off...people still went over the ropes. Trail well maintained. This one was on my list, glad I can cross it off!

Bianca Lano
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 18, 2020
Hiking

Great hike and amazing view. It took us about 45 minutes going up with all incline. Rocky so best if you wear hiking shoes. The trails get a bit confusing in some parts because they split into multiple trails but just follow the color on the trees. Spy Rock itself was really beautiful. It’s popular so there maybe a few people there. We were there the same time a kids soccer team was. So if it’s peace and quiet you’re looking for, this could get loud at times.

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