Spy Rock Out-and-Back
ElevationAscent: 1,094' 333 m
Descent: -1,093' -333 m
High: 3,840' 1,171 m
Low: 2,747' 837 m
GradeAvg Grade: 13% (8°)
Max Grade: 36% (20°)
Popular runs nearby
Spy Rock to Crabtree Falls Shuttle
8.0 mi 12.9 km • Point to Point • 1,507 ft Ascent 459.4 m Ascent
3.9 mi 6.3 km • Loop • 859 ft Ascent 261.69 m Ascent
Humpback Rocks Loop
4.2 mi 6.8 km • Loop • 1,117 ft Ascent 340.53 m Ascent
Mint Springs Loop
3.2 mi 5.1 km • Loop • 902 ft Ascent 274.94 m Ascent
Sugar Hollow Loop
18.5 mi 29.7 km • Point to Point • 2,709 ft Ascent 825.59 m Ascent
Apple Orchard Falls - Cornelius Creek
7.8 mi 12.5 km • Loop • 2,069 ft Ascent 630.78 m Ascent
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“The must-do hike in George Washington National Forest for C'ville/Lynchburg locals and visitors alike.”— Zander Göpfert
Spy Rock Road is wide enough to walk shoulder-to-shoulder with someone and is made up of fairly loose gravel. 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.
After around a mile from the trailhead, you'll arrive at the AT: Natural Bridge Appalachian Trail Club section. Turn left (east) to follow the AT for just shy of a half-mile looking for the blue-blazed Spy Rock Spur to the right (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.
For folks looking for a longer run, check out the Spy Rock to Crabtree Falls Shuttle option.
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Need to Know, Dogs Allowed, Flora & Fauna, Runner Notes, History & Background