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Spy Rock Out-and-Back

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.3 (7) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

The must-do hike in George Washington National Forest for C'ville/Lynchburg locals and visitors alike.


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Map Key

6.0

Miles

9.6

KM

89%

Runnable

3,908' 1,191 m

High

3,293' 1,004 m

Low

925' 282 m

Up

924' 282 m

Down

6%

Avg Grade (3°)

22%

Max Grade (13°)

Dogs Unknown

Features Fall Colors · Views · Wildflowers

In accordance with posted closures at the Montebello Fish Hatchery, this out-and-back run is now shown using the access from Cash Hollow Road, 3.1 miles in on Meadows Lane. Another alternative is the Crabtree Meadows parking area.

Overview

This classic out-and-back route heads south from the Cash Hollow parking area and up to the Appalachian Trail, ending at a newly-designated spur trail to the Spy Rock lookout.

The tread can be tricky for some folks and/or dogs. Hiking boots with sturdy soles or even hiking poles can be helpful for comfort and balance. Otherwise, the route is straightforward and the 360-degree views at the end make all the effort worthwhile.

Need to Know

There are two creek crossings along the drive to the starting point. These can be cleared by SUVs and higher-clearance cars and most mid-size wagons/CRV-style cars. Lower-clearance, 2WD cars should expect a challenge at the first crossing at 0.5 miles in on Meadows Lane Road, which is trickier than the second. You can also park at Crabtree Falls/Meadows and walk back along the road.

Description

Head south from the large parking area along the road to link up with the Appalachian Trail (AT: Natural Bridge Appalachian Trail). Turn right (west) to follow the AT up a few switchbacks and a couple climbs before looking for the blue-blazed Spy Rock Spur to the left (south). The grades ease up as you reach the top of this knob below Maintop Mountain as the expansive views unfold before you.

Of course, having a place like this to yourself would be beyond magical (try for an early sunrise run!) but somehow the hard work and beauty involved in this run make everything else seem insignificant.

Contacts

Shared By:

Zander Göpfert with improvements by Mike Ya

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 7 votes

#2605

Overall
  4.3 from 7 votes
5 Star
71%
4 Star
14%
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1 Star
14%
Recommended Route Rankings

#76

in Virginia

#2,605

Overall
51 Views Last Month
3,999 Since Nov 22, 2019
Intermediate/Difficult

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Photos

Enjoy a great view from Spy Rock.
Mar 23, 2017 near Nellysford, VA
The view from Spy Rock is hard to beat!
Jan 27, 2017 near Nellysford, VA

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