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Little Sluice - Columbia Furnace, Virginia

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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
13.0 mls
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:
7.5 hours plus a half hour for lunch
2,100 ft with three different ascents
George Washington National Forest
Printable Topo Hike Map (PDF)
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Garmin (GDB), GPS eXchange (GPX) (What's this?)
3D View of Route

Park at the closed gate on FDR88/Johnston Rd
The gate entrance to the GWNF where VA608/Johnston Rd turns into FDR88/Johnston Rd intermittently closes in the winter to traffic due to road deterioration. This adds an additional 6.0 miles to the hike, 3.0 miles out/back to mapped parking area. Check with the GWNF for gate status at 540-984-4101. 38.93246, -78.61782

A long hike to take in just a single day, the Little Sluice hike is best done as an overnight hike. There is a great campsite on the White Rocks trail, 50 yards from the lookout.

To start, hike up FR88 for 0.5 miles past the gate where you parked and turn left uphill on the orange blazed Bread Road Trail. Follow the trail as it gets steeper for 1.3 miles before coming to the ridge line and junction of the Little Sluice Mountain Trail.

Turn right on the purple blazed Little Sluice Mountain Trail as it descends and rises along the Little Sluice Mountain ridge for the next 2.5 miles. Be alert to remain on the purple blazed trail, as there are several old woods roads that intersect it.

You will arrive at a four way intersection and the purple blazed trail you have been following turns left becoming the blue blazed Tuscarora Trail. You need to make a right turn onto the Tuscarora/Three Ponds Trail which is both green and blue blazed, the greens blazes were used for a deer study.

Ascend for 1.4 miles before beginning your descent where the white blazed White Rocks Trail leads to the best vista of the hike. Turn right and follow the white blazed White Rocks Trail to the vista in 0.3 miles.

After returning to the Tuscarora/Three Ponds Trail, continue for 0.5 miles where you meet the pink blazed Old Mail Trail. Turn right at the trail junction staying on the blue blazed trail . The trail becomes less rocky as you follow it for another 0.3 miles before you need to turn right as the blue blazed trail now turns downhill.

This section of the trail winds through a pine grove before coming to the next trail junction in 1.3 miles. Turn right and cross a small run following the blue blazed trail for another 0.7 miles to the junction of FDR 1863.

Turn right and ascend on yellow blazed FDR 1863 for 1.5 miles before the road ends at a small clearing. At the left of the clearing, yellow blazed Cedar Creek Trail continues downward for another 0.5 miles before meeting the low water route.

Turn right continuing to follow yellow blazed Cedar Creek Trail and pass a small wildlife pond on your left in 0.8 miles. In another 0.5 miles you will emerge onto FR88. Continue down FR88 past Bread Road Trail for another 0.6 miles back to the parking area.

Mid November
Early July
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