The Great Channels via Brumley Mountain Trail

MODERATE 221 reviews
#3 of 81 trails in

The Great Channels via Brumley Mountain Trail is a 6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Cedar Bluff, Virginia that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
6.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,322 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

walking

bird watching

cave

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

Incredibly scenic hike along Clinch Mountain from Hayter's Gap to Middle Knob along the 14-mile Brumley Mountain Trail, one of the East's newest long hiking trails. Although the Brumley Mountain Trail runs all the way from Hayter's Gap to Hidden Valley Lake off of US-19 in Moccasin Gap, this guide features the trail's most heavily used, easternmost 3 miles that travel to the Great Channels of Virginia. The Channels are a series of deep sandstone crevices worn into sandstone outcrops on the mountain's summit and form one of Virginia's most fascinating ecosystems. It is possible to easily walk within the maze-like channels, which harbor an almost cave-like microclimate and often hold snow cover long after temperatures have risen above freezing. Coupled with outstanding views from the top of these outcrops and a firetower on Middle Knob's summit, this hike forms one of southwest Virginia's most scenic and popular hiking destinations.

hiking
1 day ago

Terrific! The hike to the Channels is not particularly remarkable, but it's worth it to get to the Channels themselves and explore this unusual geologic feature. My kids (10 and 11) had a ball exploring all of the tunnels (one of their all-time favorite hikes). It's cool and quiet inside the canyon. We found this trail guide helpful in navigating the route: https://virginiatrailguide.com/2016/10/23/great-channels/

great views

hiking
14 days ago

What a unique experience for hiking in this region. Going up is a wide path, so you can walk side-by-side with friends instead of squeezing in behind each other on singletrack. Follow the AllTrails app and finding the Channels will be easy. Otherwise, just follow the most heavily-trafficked trail and you'll be in good shape in making it up. Going out to the Channels from the trailhead is a gradual uphill that seems easy at first, but by the time you reach the summit you've had a good workout. The Channels are lots of fun, and I highly recommend trying the trail out. There are also many beautiful wildflowers this time of year.

hiking
17 days ago

As long as you stay on the trail ... you won't have any issues along the way. Watch out for bears!

muddy
22 days ago

we didn't know there was a easier shorter hike that was 3 miles not 10.5 we took the brumley mountain trail it was beautiful muddy and steep, when you get to the private property fence go right. hoping to check out the route 80 hayters gap trail going to look at Google for directions since this app didn't provide that

I am disappointed that we walked so far and never even made it to the actual Channels. We evidently parked at the wrong place thinking we were on the 3.4 mile trail. When we had hiked 4 miles and were no where near the Channels we just turned around. We hiked a total of 6.7 miles. These trails are not well marked and confusing. We were told by hikers that we couldn’t drive up and park and when we got to a couple miles in there were 6 cars parked up there.. We are only here one night passing through and wanted to see this. We wasted our time today and will have to try and come back some other time.

1 month ago

I logged 6.4 miles in 2:20. The trail itself is wide, rocky, and boring. I'm sure it would be much more interesting if everything was in bloom, but today (3-30-19) it was dull and brown. However, once I got to the top, the channels were so cool. I kinda felt like I was out west in the slot canyons. So many little crevasses to explore. Definitely reccomend this hike, just take breaks in your way up when needed.

hiking
2 months ago

Logged 7.26 miles round trip with a little exploring in the rocks. Trail was in good shape. It's a good climb up but worth the burn once you see the views. This is a popular place with people hiking and/or walking up during all times of the day.

Groundhog Day hike. Snow on trail from trailhead to firetower on climb. Thawing temps left mud and slush on descent. Snow and ice limited scrambles at The Channels. But gorgeous views and a rare eastern slot canyon!

4 months ago

A little late but we went June 2017.A great hike and really refreshing after getting to the channels on a hot day.

hiking
4 months ago

Such a unique hike! The trail leading to the channels is very straight forward and easy to follow. It is pretty much all uphill there and downhill on the way back. The channels themself feel like something out of a fantasy novel! BE SURE TO REMEMBER WHERE YOU CAME FROM! You can easily get lost down in the channels while exploring the amazing rock formations. I recommend following the lead of Hansel and Gretel and leave a trail of nuts or candy so you know how to find your way out, but be sure to clean up after yourself! You don’t want to end up alone trying to find your way out for almost an hour. If you find yourself in the area and have a few hours check this out!

4 months ago

Amazing!!

hiking
4 months ago

One of the best hikes in SWVA. Go when the leaves are down and you'll get long range views the entire hike.

4 months ago

I love this hike. It is moderate. The views are stunning. The Channels are like a mystical maze. Great for dogs and children if you want to bring them along.

5 months ago

awesome hike well worth it!

hiking
6 months ago

Awesome day with the family! The reward was well worth the hike.

6 months ago

absolutely beautiful in the fall. make sure to check out the small offshoot to your left when the firetower first shows up on your right. gorgeous views.

hiking
7 months ago

Great views, loved the channels. We made it a 4 hour trip to the channels and back with children. The hike is a little longer than I was figuring, but I would do again. I recommend bringing a wide angle camera lens for the channels.

7 months ago

Absolutely beautiful views

hiking
8 months ago

A great hike to a fun area. The Channels are nice to spend time in. As for the hike up to them, it is quite steep but doable. The age in my team ranged from 30-70 years old and everyone made it to the top. By no means did anyone consider themselves an expert so beginners can do this but I strongly recommend taking breaks and stay at your own pace. Don’t let experience or age keep you from completing this trail. In my opinion it is well marked and well maintained. I definitely recommend this trail be on your list of trails to complete because you honestly won’t be disappointed.

8 months ago

A very good hike...

hiking
8 months ago

This was really easy to get to, great day hike. It does get confusing once you get to the top. You must go to the fire tower and continue walking past it to find more signs that will lead you to the channels. Once in the channels, it can get a little disorienting, but there are arrows to help lead you back to the exit. Once you get to the Channels, they are so fun and will make you feel like a kid instantly. I thoroughly enjoyed exploring them and going through the slots and crevices.

hiking
9 months ago

Excellent hiking trip. Moderate is a good description. There were some challenging spots, but once you get to the top it’s definitely worth it! It was my first hiking trip in years and we to 5 kids ages 5-8.

hiking
9 months ago

The trailhead parking lot at 36* 51.878N and 081* 56.819W is well-maintained but limited parking is available so arrive early. The 3.0-mile trail is uphill the entire way except for a few steps. It is a tiring walk but the ravines down the hill into the woods make it scenic. At the summit there is a sign pointing left to the Channels spur trail or straight ahead for the Brumley Mountain Trail, so don't miss the spur. Once on the spur you'll see the lookout tower in a few minutes. The lookout's shed has been destroyed and burned...only charred remains are left. Once you see the tower, walk directly past it to the far side of the rocks where you will see an unmarked trail leading into the woods. A few stapled arrows on the trees show the way to the entrance of the Channels. The labyrinth is fun to explore but a backpack is a hinderance when exploring tighter passages. It is easy to get lost - I used my GPS to find the entrance which is at 36* 52.279N and 081* 58.757W. Just remember what the first impressive rock formations look like as you enter so that you'll know where to exit.

hiking
9 months ago

Steep trail with cool destination! Parts are rough near the top.

hiking
10 months ago

This is a HARD trail, I hike a lot and this trail is not for the part timer. Almost uphill the entire way, first 1.5 Miles very easy gravel then the accent begins, pretty well marked but if you get to the Channels it’s easy to get turned around. We found 2 kinda private overlooks and actually took a few naked pics for fun lol. Well worth it but for sure hard.

10 months ago

The channels are other-worldly and spectacular. This hike is well worth the effort in any season - I take all my visitors, no matter the time of year or weather- and everyone is always amazed. The trailhead parking can get crowded on nice weekends, weekdays are my favourite time to go and I have often had the channels to myself. If you are interested in a 22.5 mile grueling day hike, the channels can also be reached from the Hidden Valley parking lot at the opposite end of the Brumley Mtn Trail. I did this version on a rainy May day, but despite my exhaustion and familiarity with the destination, I still wandered through the Channels with the same sense of wonder as the first time.

hiking
10 months ago

All around amazing! The hike is more of a challenging one - 3 miles all uphill and the return journey down is a long one. Definitely bring lots of water and sunscreen. Getting to the trail head can be a little confusing, as you start on a gravel road that splits into the trail. The top of the mountain is absolutely gorgeous, and the channels themselves are extraordinary. Definitely worth the hike.

hiking
10 months ago

Beautiful view at the top and cool to see the natural changes formed from the rock erosion. The hike is fairly easy until the last mile or so, which is pretty steep. It may have been a mixture of the heat, humidity, and steepness, but I had to stop several times to catch my breath.

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