|3.5 hours plus a half hour
The Nature Conservancy
Many of the trails, including the Tom, Wendy and John trails,
enter private property. The trails are displayed as dashed on
the map here, and are included for reference only.
Please do not trespass on private property.
Dogs are NOT permitted
Topo Hike Map (PDF)
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View of Route!
This is one of Virginia's hidden jewels, and also one of the very few hikes we have tagged as a for solitude. Managed by The Nature Conservancy the Wildcat Mountain Natural Area is situated on a plateau between three mountains, and has a virtual labyrinth of hiking trails. The two main loop hikes are 2.9 miles and 5.2 miles in length.
In the 1960's a large portion of Wildcat Mountain was bequeathed to The Nature Conservancy for stewardship, and is now available for public hiking. The main Wildcat Mountain Loop is well marked with yellow blazes, however most of the trails/fire roads in the preserve are not signed or blazed. The longer figure eight loop we have mapped here uses many of these unsigned trails.
From the parking area walk up the gravel road for 120 yards to the point where road veers left onto private property. Turn right, following the trail signs for the Wildcat Mountain Natural Area and shortly pass a chain gate. Begin the steepest section of the hike as trail makes several switchbacks for 0.4 miles before reaching a stone wall and intersection of the main loop.
Turn left following the trail signs as it descends the ridge for 0.6 miles before turning right and following one of the many small fire roads. The fire road will veer left uphill, then pass around a small rise before reaching a split in the road in 0.3 miles.
Stay left downhill and cross a stream. Climb 50 yards to the next intersection where the yellow blazed Wildcat Mountain loop trail turns right. If you wish to do the shorter 2.9 mile hike turn right and continue to follow the trail signs. For the longer 5.2 mile loop TURN LEFT OFF the blazed trail onto the unmarked fire road, and in 0.1 miles arrive at a four-way intersection with the named John Trail directly ahead uphill.
Turn left onto an unmarked fire road as is winds around the mountain before reaching the next trail junction on a ridge in another 0.2 miles. Turn right uphill on the ridge and arrive at the next intersection in 0.2 miles. Turn right on the Enon Church Trail (no signage here) for 125 yards to the next intersection. Turn left uphill off the Enon Church Trail and in 0.2 miles come to a stone wall.
At the stone wall the trail will split, the Tom Trail on the left/west side of the wall, and Wendy Trail on the east/north side. Stay on the right side of the wall and Wendy Trail as it turns right uphill for 0.1 miles to the intersection of the Mayberry Trail. Turn right onto the Mayberry Trail for 0.2 miles to a four way intersection with the John Trail (no signage at this junction, however just before arriving at the John Trail pass a sign on the left for the Mayberry Trail).
Turn right downhill on the John Trail shortly passing around a stone wall, then in 0.2 miles pass through an intersection with an unnamed trail on the left, and in 50 yards the signed Enon Church Trail on the right. Continue downward on the John Trail for 0.3 miles back to the four way intersection, and beginning of the John Trail you passed earlier.
Turn left uphill for 100 yards to the junction of a wider fire road. Turn right on the fire road for 0.3 miles and arrive at the Smith and Spring Houses. Continue straight (do not follow the yellow blazed trail to the right downhill past the Spring House), and once again join the yellow blazed Wildcat Mountain loop trail as it crosses over the earth embankment of a small pond. In 0.2 miles from the pond arrive at a stone wall and fire road intersection on the right. Remain straight following the trail signs for 0.5 miles where the trail turns right off the fire road. Follow the trail signs now downhill before arriving back at the beginning of the loop in another 0.3 miles.
Turn left downhill at the end of the stone wall, retracing the route 0.4 miles back to the parking area.