Hiking the Spy Rock Trail Virginia makes for a wonderful activity in the late afternoon on a sunny day. The trailhead lies right behind the Montebello Fish Hatchery, which is located just off Crabtree Falls Highway (Route 56) in Nelson County. It’s a short detour from the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of the greatest roads in the United States.
This popular trail is rather uneventful for the first mile (1.6 kilometers) on its way up to the ridge where it intersects the Appalachian Trail. That first part is along a wide, old fire road, which is actually in excellent condition. While it’s moderately steep at first, once the trail turns into the Appalachian Trail, it becomes more gravelly, narrower and a bit steeper. The section along the A.T. is only about half a mile long (800 meters) and makes for a fun climb.
Once you hit a flat area with spots that look like perfect campsites, dotted with remains of campfires, it’s another 0.1 mile (160 meters) or so up Spy Rock. A spur trail leads up Spy Rock, a fun short scramble upward. This last part is pretty steep, so be careful. There’s also no obvious path up Spy Rock—you’ll have to find your own way up.
Once you reach the top of Spy Rock, you immediately notice why that last 0.1 miles of rock scrambling is worth it. The views are absolutely incredible. Spy Rock’s summit is fairly flat and rather large. It’s bare and offers panoramic views that are nothing short of phenomenal. Some day hikers even consider the view to be among the best in central Virginia, which says something.
The Spy Rock Trail Virginia is an out-and-back trail. It’s a moderate trail—neither long nor steep, not all too eventful on the way up, yet absolutely rewarding. This is a day hike you should do for the views from the top, not for the journey itself.
Those views, as you can see in the pictures below, are phenomenal. Like I said above, consider hiking Spy Rock Trail Virginia on a sunny day with some clouds in the sky—it’s a great spot for outdoor adventure photos.
Hiking Spy Rock Trail Virginia – Photos