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The Great Channels via Brumley Mountain Trail

moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(400)
Jefferson National Forest

The Great Channels via Brumley Mountain Trail is a 6 mile heavily 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.

Length 6.0 mi Elevation gain 1,322 ft Route type Out & Back

Dogs on leash

Kid friendly

Hiking

Horseback riding

Nature trips

Walking

Bird watching

Cave

Forest

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Description
Waypoints (13)
Contact
Tips

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.

The Channels State Natural Area Preserve (Virginia DCR) http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural_heritage/natural_area_preserves/thechannels.shtml Channels State Forest Info (Virginia DOF) http://www.dof.virginia.gov/stateforest/list/channels.htm

Parking is limited in Hayter's Gap and is located at a small gravel pullout at the gated entrance to Raven Ridge Road. The first portion of this hike travels alongside private property - please respect landowners and stay on the trail.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (402)
Photos (303)
Recordings (256)
Completed (648)
Ben Visneski
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 8, 2020
Hiking

Steep and long hike but well worth it at the end!

View Ben 's Recording
Ally Loveless
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 7, 2020
Hiking

3 miles directly uphill, not for the faint of heart. Beautiful hike and great halfway point to rest before descending 3 miles directly down. The channels are very cold which is so refreshing at the half point.

Morgan Miller
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 6, 2020
HikingBugsMuddy

Absolutely loved this trail. We went on a day where it was lightly raining, which was perfect because it kept the bugs down but because you’re under the trees the whole time you really weren’t getting rained on a lot. On the way down it stopped raining and there were a lot more bugs to deal with and it got really muggy. There are sections that are pretty steep inclines and it’s one of those trails that is up all the way to the location you’re hiking towards and then down all the way back. There’s not a lot of variety when it comes to that but the views at the top and just exploring around the rock formations is pretty amazing and very unique in this area. This trail will definitely be suitable for kids at least mid- elementary school age ranges. If you have small children, I would be very careful and mindful of them when you get to the top because it could be very dangerous if they are not being watched constantly.

Kimberly Tignor
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 24, 2020

trail is amazing... live in the area... please, please, please watch for snakes... was an old fire road as mentioned... book by native author Jack Hayter great book as well... unbelievable scenery all around.. stay on the trail, easy to get lost up there def bring extra water and please again watch for snakes enjoy

bruce haddan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 23, 2020
Hiking

The Great Channels is a 7 mile out and back hike in Channels State forest with the trail head at the Washington county- Russel county line. 1300 feet of vertical...call it moderate +....I’d bet the trail is an old un-maintained fire road...since there is an old fire tower on the summit...heavy, heavy rhododendrons thickets surrounds the summit...lots of wild flowers and the channels are amazing...there is parking for 10 cars at the trail head and you must park in a numbered slot or else get towed. Pretty much only saw other people at the parking lot and at the Channels

Rylee Hicks
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 20, 2020

it's sexy... plain and simple nice short hike and well maintained.

Gabriel Charlifue
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HikingBugsMuddy
View Gabriel's Recording
Sydni Potter
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HikingRocky

Uphill the whole way. Not recommended for children. It’s kinda worth the walk very cool when you get to the channels.

View Sydni's Recording
Terry Andrew
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 10, 2020
Hiking

The Channels are amazing to see. The first 2 miles are pretty steady but the last becomes much steeper. Lots of larger rocks to walk on so wear real hiking shoes. The top is infested with flies, so bring bug repellant. We got there at 9 and were the 2nd car. Safe Travels.

View Terry's Recording
Lisa Mason
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 9, 2020

On a Monday at 9:50 a.m., we were car#4. Steady climb uphill, broke a small sweat but the awe of God's handiwork and the refreshing coolness inside the channels made it all worth it!

Taco TuesdayTeacher
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 7, 2020
HikingBugs

Great trail if you don’t mind uphill most of the way. Parking is an issue so get there early. If your GPS takes you to Brumley Gap and you go up a gravel access road for several miles, you’ve made a wrong turn. This is a long hike and I would not recommend it for children. The Channels are very interesting and naturally air conditioned! Prepare for several hours to complete this one!

Grafton Church
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 6, 2020
Hiking

Hiked this trail 7/5/20. Parking is limited, I recommend arriving before you think the crowd gets there, depending on time of year. Nice gravel road for a while, changing to fairly wide dirt trail. Trail is well-marked. Be careful not to get turned around in the Channels once you get there and start exploring. Temps drop drastically once you're in the Channels, very refreshing. I would recommend this hike for all experience levels, if you feel comfortable with the distance. Follow us on Instagram @mtn.goals to see pictures and info from this and many other adventures. What's your next #mtngoal?

Wesley Powell
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 4, 2020
Hiking

Like others have said, only ten cars can park here at a time and it is enforced. You must park in a designated area (spots 1 to 10). I made it up by 9:30 on a Saturday and half the lot was full. The road to the trailhead is paved but is very windy and the lanes are narrow. It's uphill 3 miles once on the trail so you'll break a sweat but it won't kill you. Once at the top head right towards some rocks and climb up top for an amazing view. Keep going past the firetower to go into the channels.

Josh Poth
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 2, 2020
Hiking

For anyone considering what's marked as Potato Hill Knob, that part of the trail was clearly a trail at some point but has become completely overgrown.

View Josh's Recording
Alison Osborne
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 25, 2020
HikingBugsMuddyRocky
View Alison's Recording
Tom di Stefano
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 20, 2020
HikingBugsOver grown

We were the first of ten car spots at 8am. Pockets of death ray sounds at the lower elevations. Thousands swarming at the power line cut. Red eyed cicadas. Channels were cool. Literally. Fog below and clouds above. Then waves of encircling mist and clouds. Hiked further on Bromley Trail to 2d right. Destination Potato Hill Knob. Never made it. Bushwhacked in waist high azaleas along overgrown trail. Never found final turn. 100 feet away and nothing. Never found campsite or view. Oh and a black bear crossed the road in the way up. Looked at me from 20 feet away then scrambled off. P.S. Nice po po parked in the lot keeping everyone honest.

View Tom's Recording
Melissa P.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 16, 2020
HikingPrivate propertyRocky

This trail reopened on June 10. There are only 10 numbered parking spots & signs warning that anyone not in a numbered spot will be towed. So, would suggest getting there early. We were there by 9:30am on a Thursday & only one other car was there. When we got off the trail around 3:30pm, it was pretty much full. The first part of the trail is on a gravel fire road that runs through private property, so just stay on the marked trail. The trail is well-maintained & well-marked - very nice. The last mile there are several rocky & steep inclines. Only a little muddy towards the very end of the trail where the trail had full canopy. We had several kids with us ranging from 4-12 years & all did relatively well with a few “snack & water stops” along the way. Spent more time “in” the Channels than above due to some paranoia that they’d take a “wrong” step into a ravine. Very fun & unique. It’s like a rock maze. Kids loved it. Beautiful views up top, but maybe best for the grownups.

Stacey Hub Boone
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 2, 2020
Hiking

Is this trail still closed

Jason Smith
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 12, 2020
Hiking

Currently closed with concrete barricades and warnings to prosecute anyone who dares hike here

Jamin Rathbun
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 11, 2020
Hiking

This actual hike is so-so (fire roads for at least half), but the Great Channels (and the views from the rocks near the fire tower, above the channels, and on the smaller overlook about 100 yards down trail from the tower) are amazing. Unique for our region. I’ll 100% go again and take the kids, so we can play in the channels. Had me feeling like a boy again!

View Jamin's Recording
Otto Leon
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 11, 2020
HikingClosed

I was here on 4/11. The hike is closed the parking lot is also blocked so no one can park there. Super sad time I was excited to hike up and see some amazing channels.

Kelcey Thayer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 3, 2020
HikingRockySnow

I went a week ago and absolutely loved it! I understand the moderate rating bc of the switchbacks which almost took my asthma out. Definitely will go back! There's snow on the mountains now tho [not sure how long it'll last since our weather here has been very unpredicatble.] There's been reports of a mountain lion chasing hikers [around 3/9/20]. With the current climate of Covid 19, many trailheads are shutting down here in VA so don't be surprised if it's closed as well when you get there.

Alicia Gonzalez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 28, 2020
FloodedMuddy

Definitely worth it , the trail is easy to find. It was muddy since it had rained but not bad if you wear some good hiking boots

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