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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.

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

Hiker Reviews For The Fortunes Cove Hike (5 Most Recent)
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By: Lisa Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, March 10, 2019
Good, quiet hike. We hiked in the direction written here. There had been some trail maintenance done since the last postsó lots of trees cleared from the trail or notches cut through the trunks so you could easily pass. Thank you to whomever did this! The trail is steep and Iím sure that wasnít easy. Looks like there was also more signage and trail markers placed so trail was very easy to follow. Trail was muddy/wet near the end but could mostly be avoided. Views were pretty but Iíd think may be difficult to see much in summer when the leaves are on the trees. To me, there are hikes with better views but this oneís worth doing!

By: Kevin g Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, December 26, 2018
This is a great hike but there are dozens of places where huge trees make the trail impassable so be prepared for slow and tricky going on the upper section and also challenging to see the trail. Beautiful day but much tougher hike than normal due to downed trees.

By: Drew Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 18, 2018
So many big trees down across the trail. Made it an adventure, but very slow going. Probably not best for small children at this time.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 18, 2018
This is a challenging hike. Bring plenty of water if it is warm, and be prepared to start climbing right from the outset, if you do it in the preferable, counter-clockwise way. We did the upper loop, and it was a hard 3.5 hours of steady walking, with a brief pause at the radio translator at the summit. The descent was hard as well, with lots of steps based on round posts anchored in the soil. The blazing is excellent, but the trail could use some maintenance, including a chain sawyer to clear the 2-3 large trunks fallen across and blocking the trail. At the ridge at the top, the trail was overgrown, with poison ivy and other weeds, in several short sections. In the summer, you are usually shaded, but there are very few views.

By: Lea Ann Rating: Date of Hike: Monday, May 28, 2018
Loved this hike! The mountain laurels in bloom were magical. There are lots of rocks on the trail up going counterclockwise which made it very fun but I wouldn't want to come down on that side, way too hard on the quads having to balance. Even though the descent is steeper going counterclockwise it is a smoother trail with some steps. The apres hike at the Mountain Cove winery was fantastic. They'll fill your water bottles and let you use the facilities even if not partaking in the free samples.

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Early May
Early January
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