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Mint Springs Loop

Intermediate/Difficult
 3.7 (3) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A short loop that packs a punch through a wooded hidden gem with lake access in the warmer months.


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Map Key

3.2

Miles

5.1

KM

74%

Runnable

1,618' 493 m

High

993' 303 m

Low

902' 275 m

Up

898' 274 m

Down

11%

Avg Grade (6°)

34%

Max Grade (19°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · Wildlife

Swimming and lifeguard available (11am - 7pm) from Memorial Day weekend - Labor Day weekend.

Overview

Mint Springs doesn't typically get as much foot traffic as it is quite literally overshadowed by Shenandoah National Park to the north/northwest. That said, locals are often found here for the lake access during the warmer months and some even know of the nearby trail system that heads into the wooded slopes of Bucks Elbow Mountain above the lake.

This loop connects the trails along the outer perimeter of the park with a steep, switchbacking climb on the Big Survey Trail followed by a winding descent and up-and-over of Little Yellow Mountain before a final cool-down on the Mountain Orchard Trail.

Need to Know

Entry fee for county residents is $3/adults and $2/children. Non-county resident fees are $4.50/adults and $3/children (4-12). Trails open to pedestrians and mountain bikers.

Runner Notes

A great park to connect trails for a short-to-medium length run with some demanding elevation.

Description

From the parking area, find the Fire Trail and begin the ascent gradually to the west. Around 0.4 miles, look for an old homesite before continuing up to an intersection with the Big Survey Trail. Turn right (north) as the climb becomes much steeper with a handful of switchbacks. Within a half-mile, you'll arrive at the high point of the run, only a mile from the trailhead with just over two miles left.

Follow the contours to the southwest with occasional viewpoints (better when the leaves are down). Around the 1.5-mile mark, you'll rejoin the Fire Trail to follow the southwest boundary of the park toward another old homesite and a small traverse of Little Yellow Mountain.

Around the 2.4-mile mark, stay to the right (north) to connect with the Mountain Orchard Trail for a short loop on the south side of the lake before returning to the main lakeside area and parking.

Contacts

Land Manager: Albemarle County

Shared By:

Zander Göpfert

Trail Ratings

  3.7 from 3 votes

#4158

Overall
  3.7 from 3 votes
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Recommended Route Rankings

#128

in Virginia

#4,158

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Photos

Tree Swallow" by A. Drauglis (https://tinyurl.com/rykk52b), Flickr licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/).
Nov 27, 2019 near Crozet, VA
IMG_2031" by Joe Calhoun (https://tinyurl.com/wubtdap), Flickr licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/).
Nov 27, 2019 near Crozet, VA
IMG_2034" by Joe Calhoun (https://tinyurl.com/ufmeewn), Flickr licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/).
Nov 27, 2019 near Crozet, VA

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