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Great Channels – Hayters Gap, Virginia


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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
6.6 mls N/A
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4 hours with half hour for lunch.
1,219 ft
Jefferson National Forest
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Park at the Hayters Gap parking area. 36.86445, -81.94690

By Trail Contributors: Christine and Adam Anderson

The Great Channels features a maze of slot canyons similar to what you may find in the southwestern United States.  The hike is a hidden gem in southwest Virginia and you will find nothing else in Virginia quite like it. The Great Channels Natural Area Preserve is one of Virginia’s most geologically fascinating areas.  This 6.6 mile out-and-back takes you down into a network of maze-like crevices formed in soft sandstone.

      For a more detailed description go to Virginia Trail Guide's site.

  • Mile 0.0 – From the right side of the parking area, head past the entrance gate and continue uphill on the white-blazed Brumley Mountain Trail.
  • Mile 0.6 – Reach an opening created by power lines for an obstructed view.
  • Mile .75 – Reach a junction where the fire road turns to the right uphill, but stay straight on the Brumley Mountain Trail which now becomes a dirt path. 
  • Mile 1.0 – On the right you will see some privately-owned cabins, but there is no trespassing on this private property.
  • Mile 1.5 – You reach Shallow Gap, which provides some obstructed views to the right of the trail through the trees.  The trail begins to become steeper.
  • Mile 2.25 – Come to a  small outcrop of sandstone, similar to what you will find at the Great Channels.  Shortly after this, you will begin a couple of switchbacks, which take away some of the steepness of the terrain.
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Hiker Reviews For The Great Channels Hike (5 Most Recent)
Review the Great Channels hike here!   Average Rating:   Share Hike: 

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 01, 2014
Hiking Upwards needs to stop posting trip reports to my favorite secret spots! This is an awesome hike! The trip report failed to mention that if you keep a sharp eye open, there are multiple spots where you can climb on top of the rocks for awesome views of the surrounding area. You can easily see Beartown Mountain (VA's 7th highest) and the Mount Rogers high country, as well as the spine of Clinch and Brumley Mountains, Big A Mountain, and more. The trail is part of the Brumley Mountain Trail which connects with Hidden Valley WMA (fee area). So much to do in the nearby area as well. This part of Virginia is not well known to outsiders.

Late July
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