Near Lovingston is a preserve of over 29,000 acres owned by the Nature Conservancy with ".... relatively intact forest habitat and hosts rare plant communities on a series of rocky glades." In 2002 the Nature Conservancy completed the main hiking trail. this area falls within the Conservancy's Piedmont Program for Virginia.
We initially did this hike on a very cold day early in January, there were no other hikers that day and I am willing to bet most hikes on this property will be ones of almost complete solitude. You will be rewarded with some great views and on the back half of the hike you will see The Priest, Three Ridges and Wintergreen Resort.
The hike begins at the entrance to the parking lot, bear left onto the gravel road heading uphill and in a short distance the trail will leave the road to right onto the trail marked with 2 blue poles. Many of the trees will be marked with information tags about the trees and also yellow and green arrow metal tags for direction. The trail quickly begins a tough 1400' climb, with a few short reprieves. The trail is basically a ridge hike around the Fortune's Cove Valley
Mile 0.8 – you will reach the first of 6 views and in another 01. miles the intersection to the lower loop trail.
The last part of the trail from High Top Mountain is downhill the rest of the way, and will pass a nice creek on the way back to the parking lot. The trail will end up on the gravel road and you will turn left to reach the parking lot in a short distance.
Interactive Hike Map BelowPrintable
Topo Hike Map (PDF)
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Calculate roughly how many calories you could burn on the Fortunes Cove hike:
Reviews For The Fortunes Cove Hike (5 Most Recent)
This was a great loop. There were vistas throughout the trail and it was a good challenge. The overlook at Hightop Mountainwas definitely cool, but weird that it was a shared space with cell phone and radio station towers with warning signs up
About emissions. Also, when you go downhill and are returning back to the parking lot, DO NOT turn left on the gravel road as the directions say. My husband and I were a little mislead and ended up trespassing on someone's property because of that. Just cross the gravel road and keep following the trail signs! It is a very well marked trail, which we appreciated, until
hiking Upward lead us astray.
On a positive note, The day was great and we had some clouds and sunlight in the mid 50s. It was quiet and peaceful and a challenge with the ascent.
Date of Hike: Thursday, January 19, 2017
Write up on upward hike is very accurate. Well marked trails, few hikers and a challenging initial ascent. Around 45 minutes from Charlottesville but worth the drive. Multiple mountain laurel "tunnels' that must be beautiful in the spring. Did not see any wildlife but did see where turkeys were scratching in the leaves. Trail is kept so well it is almost manicured.
Date of Hike: Saturday, October 22, 2016
Three friends hiked today - 50 degrees, sunny and windy. We hiked counterclockwise starting behind the large Fortune's Cove wood / stone sign. If you are a regular hiker, you would find this not very challenging, but for beginners it is challenging with several steep parts. A few good views. No running streams today. Yellow trail is well marked - you can't get lost.
Date of Hike: Wednesday, August 26, 2015
My wife and I hiked this site today and found it to be quite difficult. We hiked the longer loop. It could easily be a 5 on the difficulty scale, but I must say we are in our mid 60's so younger folk may not find it that tough. Kudos to the Nature Conservancy, the trail was very well kept, the trail markers were numerous and easier to follow than color blazes painted on trees. Our suggestion would be to hike this trail when the trees shed their leaves or early spring before full foliage occurs,the views would be much more spectacular if the trees were not in full leaf. Overall, this trail is worth the effort and very enjoyable!
Date of Hike: Saturday, May 09, 2015
I walked this with my wife and daughter and was very pleasantly surprised. It's not long but has a good climb. The views were good, though it was difficult to see west through the leaves. The trail up is enjoyable...not rocky, a good variety of switchbacks, straight stretches, and some ups and downs. The walk down was initially much steeper than we anticipated but eventually leveled out. Weather was great, flowers are beginning to bloom...all in all a great short hike for the family.