Spy Rock would be a great hike to do after hiking Crabtree Falls as it's just a few miles up VA56 from Crabtree Falls near Montebello, VA. Our original intent was to map this as a day hike and continue on the A.T. to The Priest Shelter and camp the night. Deep snow (1 to 2 feet) prevented us from continuing so we spent the night at Spy Rock There are plenty of good campsites here but no water sources. Two feet of snow in the winter does not count as a reliable water source!
We also did this hike in May so there will be photos from then plus photos from our snow hike. The views from Spy Rock are spectacular (360 degrees) giving you a great view of the Religious Range: The Priest, The Little Priest, The Friar, The Little Friar, and The Cardinal. This is a short hike but well worth it to see the views from Spy Rock.
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. The fire road looked nice in the snow but during normal times it is your basic fire road. In about 0.5 miles the road bears to the left with a very unique tree to your left, keep your eyes open.
HikingUpward Note: We hope to be back in this area to map out a 2-3 day shuttle A.T. backpack from the Montebello Fish Hatchery to Reeds Gap near Wintergreen, our original intent with this hike.
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Reviews For The Spy Rock Hike (5 Most Recent)
My friend and I attempted this hike 1/5/13 but the trail was completely iced over. My friend had to stop halfway up because his shoes weren't in good shape but I continued to the base of the summit. After attempting to climb the ice and falling several times I gave up.
Fast forward a week and we're experiencing spring-like temperatures in January! Needless to say it was beautiful, and the hike was very enjoyable. I'm not overweight at all but sit in front of a computer all day so my conditioning isn't very good. The uphill hike can be strenuous at times but with proper pacing it isn't that bad.
The view from the summit is amazing, and with so much area at the top you can find a good spot to enjoy the view even if there are a lot of hikers up there. I was reminded of the summit of Mount Pleasant, which is incredible but cramped with a handful of people. So if you have a large group Spy Rock will easily accommodate.
After taking in the view I continued on the A.T. to Black Rock Overlook. Another great spot with a great view but getting to the tip of the rock was dicey. There wasn't a path from what I saw so it was a matter of pushing through the brush. I can only imagine how nasty it would be in the warmer months!
Overall I can't recommend this hike enough. It's a short hike with an awesome payoff and with all the other mountains in the area, along with Crabtree Falls, there's plenty to keep you busy.
Date of Hike: Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Great hike with amazing views for the little amount of effort needed for the payoff. I will definitely be back in full bloom. Pay attention to where you hike cause the path up can get a little tricky if you arent paying attention. Go. It was well worth the time, ESPECIALLY for the views of the Priest and Three Ridges to the SSE.
Date of Hike: Saturday, June 02, 2012
A TIP: once on the fish hatchery road drive past the hatchery being on your left with a double wide on the right continue up to the parking area. DO NOT TAKE THE ROAD TO THE RIGHT, IT IS A PRIVATE RESIDENCE. private residence. Yes, it was uphill from the moment we got out of the car. Bring water and take your time. Just keep reminding yourself that once on top of the rock you will agree, it was so worth it.
Date of Hike: Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Trail update: If you are interested in a loop trail while up at Spy Rock, continue north on the AT trail for about 500 yards and you will see a blue blazed trail break off to the left and uphill (this was the old AT trail). This trail takes you up and over maintop mountain and rejoins the AT trail on the other side of the mountain. Total distance for the detour is 0.26 nm. If you are camping and the area below Spy Rock is occupied, there is a nice flat area to camp on top of maintop mountain (as long as there is not much wind). If you like to go for a GeoCatch, there are two of them that are close to the trail “Black Rock overlook” and “Montebello overlook”. Drop me a line if you have any questions about the area….
Date of Hike: Sunday, January 08, 2012
Excellent hike for all levels. The walk to the top is long and pretty much all uphill, but what would you expect? It isn't very difficult and the view from the rock is unbelievable.