Spy Rock Trail

MODERATE 113 reviews

Spy Rock Trail is a 3.2 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
3.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1128 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

kid friendly

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

scramble

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 3 miles each way (6 total). Plan on an hour and a half each 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
6 days ago

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

hiking
8 days 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.

9 days 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
15 days 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
22 days 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.

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
28 days 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 locked gate prior 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
1 month 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.

hiking
1 month ago

We went at the end of April so it was pretty windy and chilly at the top once we didn't have the tree cover to block it, but was a great hike. Once you reach the parking lot and start walking, don't be fooled by the gate, just go past it. It's got a steep ascent all the way up. Make sure to turn left at the fork and follow the blue blazes. Eventually it intersects with the AT and the blazes turn white. At one point you get to a flatter, grassy area and you can see the rock. We got pretty confused on how to get up there with the lack of signs, but you can do either the rock scramble to get up there or go left around the rock and you should be able to find a smoother rock path up to the top. It's an amazing 360 degree view from the top! Bonus is that there are bathrooms back by the road that leads to the parking lot. Parking lot isn't huge, but there is Overflow parking is below the fish hatchery area near those bathrooms.

hiking
1 month ago

Begins with steep hike up a gravel road (hardly any switch backs) that eventually connects with AT - a nice trail. The climb to top of Spy Rock (about .5 mile after on AT) is exciting and the views are spectacular!

2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

2 months ago

Heading to fish hatchery access. Not sure about it being closed. But it is illegal to block or put up a gate to state or national Forest. Even if you're a property owner. I understand completely why there is some conflict. We as hikers need to respect those that live by trail accesses. I will report back

2 months ago

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