Hike to Spy Rock
Virginia › Spy Rock Trail
Added by Christin Healey
The views from Spy Rock are simply breathtaking. It's a short hike, but from the top you can see the Religious Range: The Priest, The Little Priest, The Friar, The Little Friar, and The Cardinal.
The hike is part of the George Washington National Forest, and can easily be combined with nearby Crabtree Falls (300ft cascading waterfall with a hike to the top). The entire trip is 3.1 miles, and there are nice campsites at the base of the summit (no water source) if you want to add on this pretty overlook to a nearby longer hike. This is definitely a hike for locals, so it's never too crowded despite having probably the best views of the Blue Ridge around. The spring and fall are the best time to see the flowers and the fall foliage.
From VA56 turn onto SR690 to the Montebello Fish Hatchery. A small parking area for hikers is available beyond the hatchery buildings (follow the sign). From the parking area cross the road towards the yellow road barriers and head up this uneventful fire road, with occasional blue blazes for 1 mile until you reach the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) intersection.
At the A.T. intersection take a left towards Spy Rock which you will reach in 0.6 miles -- pay attention, this turn can be easy to miss if you aren't watching for it! There is a short Spur Trail to take you over to Spy Rock. There is an easy scramble to get to the top, but my small lab made the journey with no problems if you want to bring your pup. This could be a sunset or sunrise hike, but the views to the west are slightly better looking into the valley.
If you want to camp:
- Sleeping bag
- Plenty of water. There is no water source here, but it's still a great little camping spot
- Bug spray in the summertime
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One Of My New Favorites!
Honestly, Spy Rock was way better than I anticipated...and it was also steeper than I anticipated. But well worth it! That also makes it a much quicker hike on the way down, so if you're staying for sunset, and leave soon after, you'll only be hiking in total darkness for a short time at the very end. A must do hike.
One Of The Best Views Around
This views at the summit were simply spectacular. Completed the hike with my wife, 10 year old son and pup. The rock scramble at the end was an adventure but it was well worth it. One word of advice: when you reach the AT and turn left, make sure you take the trail to the farthest left (not the red blazes). We made this mistake and got an extra mile in!
Spy Rock is an awesome Virginia hike. It has Civil War history as well as incredible views. They say the Confederate soldiers watched from the top. It's a short but steep hike up and after a quick rock scramble (no trail to the top of the rock), you are rewarded by the awesome vistas surrounding you.
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