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Fortune's Cove - Lovingston, VA

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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
5.3 mls N/A
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:

3.5 hours plus a half hour for lunch
1,725 ft
NOTE: Dogs Are Not Allowed On The Hiking Trails
The Nature Conservancy
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Parking at Fortunes Cove. 37.78031, -78.89289

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.
  • Mile 1.12nd View
  • Mile 1.73rd View
  • Mile 2.74th View
  • Mile 3.0 – 5th View, you should be able to catch a glimpse of The Priest, Three Ridges and Wintergreen Resort.
  • Mile 3.1 – Short Spur Trail to Hightop. Large Cell Tower on top, but nice views if leaves are off the trees.
  • Mile 3.6 – 6th and last view.
  • Mile 4.2 – Intersection of 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.

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Calculate roughly how many calories you could burn on the Fortunes Cove hike:

Hiker Reviews For The Fortunes Cove Hike (5 Most Recent)
Review the Fortunes Cove hike here!   Average Rating:   Share Hike: 

By: Kris Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, September 09, 2017
Map My ride measured the Yellow loop we did at 5.82 miles with 1572' elevation gain. We did the spur to the overlook, but it's not that far. Hiked the loop counter clockwise and there is absolutely no streams or access to water until about the last mile, when you cross 2 creeks close to the bottom. The creeks were very low flow this time of year, but in a pinch you could get some water from them. Took us about 4 hours 15 minutes to hike this yellow loop and stopped at least 15 minutes for lunch. Hikers we passed doing the trail clockwise we met back in the parking area and they had been out over 6 hours. No water or toilet facilities at the trail head. Beautiful trail and views. There was a lot of under growth along the ridge facing east with plenty of poison ivy. Would do it again.

By: SnakPak Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, May 25, 2017
Hiked the 5.3 mile loop trail on a cool May evening. Took 2 hours 15 minutes at a quick pace and minimal breaks.. I really enjoyed the serenity of the area. Beautiful and peaceful area and a few wildflowers were blooming. The hike also provided a nice workout. Some views were obscured by the leaves but overall very enjoyable.

By: Katiec24 Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, March 19, 2017
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.

By: Horsedoc Rating: 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.

By: Marc R Rating: 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. 

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Early January
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