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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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Hiker Reviews For The Fortunes Cove Hike (5 Most Recent)
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By: Shari Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, February 17, 2018
Loved this hike!! This was an excellent hike with a lot of great views. I would say it was pretty strenuous. You are basically hiking up the whole way, get a little ridge walking in, and then it's back down again. When you are hiking down, the scope of the mountains is almost dizzying. It was very secluded when we hiked it, although snow had been forecasted so I'm not sure how busy it gets if the weather is nicer. I hiked this trail with 4 others and we all had a great time. Definitely would recommend it!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, December 18, 2017
A great hike. Did the outer loop (5.3 miles). Very steep and I rate this as a "5" in difficulty.--not "4" as stated. Very steep and narrow trails--only a few areas where hikers could stand abreast, side-by-side. The view from the ridgeline trail was awesome--especially looking west to see "The Priest" on the Appalachian Trail. The summit (High Top Mtn), where the towers are, was disappointing but we lunched at the nearby trail intersection and that was pleasant. Water is available but involves steep climbs down off trail. Recommended loop is counterclockwise which is long but steep followed by Ridgeline trail to the Towers. Route down then becomes very steep. Naturally, we did the opposite--we went clockwise--the shorter steep climb to the towers. I'm better going up than down so this was the right choice for me. No foliage on my hike, so all views were nice but I think other than on the Ridgeline, when foliage is out the views must be less spectacular. Mountain Laurel was abundant and there is a nice walk thru a grove. I was impressed by the care taken of the trail and markings are abundant and visible. Bottom line: put this trail on your list.

By: Lower loop trail Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, November 03, 2017
We wanted a quick but pretty hike so we did the lower loop trail of fortunes cove. It was so beautiful this time of year! We put in fortunes cove preserve in google maps and the parking lot was so easy to find and the trailhead is just up the road a little from there. The hike is very close to Charlottesville which is also nice. There was not an amazing view if that is what you are looking for. The lower loop trail is more beautiful due to the solitude and nature around you. It took us around an hour and 30 minutes without breaks. We were confused when the trail finished and spit us out on a road. However, if you take a left going downhill on the road and just keep going (around the gate), you will end up at the parking lot. Seriously recommend!

By: Run n hike Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, October 20, 2017
Lovely views on a mild day. Went in with intention of a trail run and did some, but hiked several portions because of the grade, both steep incline and steep descent with stairs that I could not run.. Note when driving there you'll see winery sign at a fork in the road, stay left on single lane gravel road. Time with running and hiking was about 1 hour 40 minutes.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, October 19, 2017
My hiking group was looking forward to this hike all month! However, DO NOT GO HIKE HERE UNTIL IT IS COLDER! We were swarmed and attacked by yellow jackets two miles in! We saw them out in the woods off the trail for awhile but thought nothing of it, then we must have come across a nest on the trail and aggravated them. All five us got stung very badly. We had to cut our hike short and do the smaller Loop. We saw yellow jackets throughout the hike and noticed wherever there were sun spots on the trail they were packed together on the trail.

I heard (afterwards) of other hikes having a warning sign for aggressive yellow jackets but this trailhead had no warnings. It would have been a beautiful hike otherwise. We'll hopefully try it again in the winter.

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