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Hiker Comments for the Hidden Valley Hike - 1 to 12 of 12   
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By: Will H Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, November 9, 2019
Seconding the previous review that the trails are in much better shape than they apparently used to be. We only hiked some of the trails along the river but they were serene, peaceful, and easy to follow. This area is a pleasant oasis and I'm glad to see it is getting some much-needed maintenance to remain a good hidden away hiking spot.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, July 30, 2019
Most of the very 'negative' reviews in this thread are over 2 years old, and are (were) pretty valid for their time frame.....the trails have not been in great shape.

But I can happily report that many (if not MOST) of the trails in the Hidden Valley area (near Warm Springs, Va) have been recently 'brushed' and are in much better condition NOW than what these earlier reports would indicate.

The USFS guys have been out there this Spring/Summer (2019) and have cleared off the River Loop Trail, the Upper & Lower Lost Woman trails, the Cobbler Mountain trail, and the Jackson River Gorge Trail from the Warwick Mansion (the B&B) upstream to the swinging bridge, and will probably get the 'rest' of the River Gorge Trail (from the swinging bridge up to Poor Farm area) later this summer, along with Neal's Run (later this summer).

Like earlier reviews mentioned, the signage could be better but if you are in the area, please give these trails another try!

By: WoolfPack Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, July 11, 2017
I should have read the reviews before I went, because the one by HikingJustForFun was spot on:

The trail is NOT MAINTAINED. Terribly overgrown, not well marked, and serious danger for poison ivy and snakes. I love hiking, but I felt claustrophobic and desperate at having to push through long stretches of shoulder-high growth.

I'll never do this hike again and do not recommend it.

By: HikingJustForFun Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, June 30, 2017
Never again! The trail needs serious up-keep. It looked like we were the only ones to visit this trail in 2 years since it was so overgrown. We are seasoned hikers (hiking for 15 years) but had to back track twice to find the trail again since it's so poorly marked. This trail had all of my worst fears in one hike:

1) Bears - Fresh BIG bear poop on the trail 2) Snakes - Overgrown, 5 feet tall vegetation in
several stretches, I feared I would step on a snake since I could not see in front of me or below me
3) Lost - we had to double back (TWICE) to find a blue blaze because it's so poorly marked, at one point we truly thought we might not make it back
4) Poison Oak/Ivy - the vegetation was clinging to my arms and legs and there was no way to avoid it.

Do not go on this hike unless you enjoy the feeling of impending death for the duration of the hike.

By: Trailguy Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 9, 2016
For the area, it's a good hike. Unfortunately, it's true though. Views are lackluster. River is pretty but there's no real wow factor. If you're in the area, it's worth the visit though. For me, looking at the beauty of the surroundings, thinking about the history is what really sets it apart. Plus you can turn it into a nice loop hike (hard to find in this area).

Trail condition: Signage isn't all that great. Blazes need to be redone. Trail (which is mainly a road walk) is wet and swampy it you've had a recent rain.

Views: There are some decent views of the mansion, fields, river (on in certain areas) and mountains. Halfway to 3/4 of the way from Cobbler Mtn trailhead, there are some neat hillsides (which you're walking near the whole way).

Would I go out of my way to hike this, probably not. If you're looking for something new and different, yes I would. It's worth the trip.

By: Jim S. Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, August 26, 2015
I gave this a one-star rating largely to counteract the very misleading ratings given to this hike.  As of the time of writing this, it is rated 5 stars for streams and 4 stars for views. These need to be seriously downgraded!  Based on the ratings, I thought I had hit the jackpot of trails since it's very rare to have high ratings for both streams and views. I should have known better!

Regarding the streams rating, perhaps only a quarter of the hike actually has a view of the river, and even then the river is nothing particularly special to look at - no falls, rapids, or anything noteworthy. By comparison, the White Oak Canyon hike - which has a series of lovely falls - is also rated a 5. I would be generous to give Hidden Valley 3 stars for streams.

For me, "views" means open spaces where you can see something other than your immediate surroundings. These trails were almost completely enclosed for the entire hike. A significant stretch even had overgrowth of ivy walls lining the trail on both sides. By far the best view was from the portion of the hike where you are walking on the road to return to the parking lot.  I would rate this no higher than a 2 for views. Perhaps the view rating is there in case you choose to follow the green, yellow, and red trail portions named that pass through private property. There are NO views if you only follow the blue trails and the given instructions.

I would not recommend making any special trip to do this hike. If you happen to be staying at the B&B or campgrounds nearby, it would be fine just for the sake of getting out and going for a few-mile walk. Even then, I would just follow the two trails that run alongside the river (the blue dotted line and blue-blazed return route on the map). There is a parking lot and restroom at the very bottom of Hidden Valley Road where you can pick up that trail. There is also a short meadow trail in that area that is rather lovely when wildflowers are blooming.

Finally, the trail was very buggy when we went in August. A spring or fall hike when bugs aren't out would be advisable! We also had to be on the lookout for the MANY large spider webs across the path.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 30, 2014
We started our Labor Day weekend hike around 9am on Saturday, Aug. 30 and camped on the Jackson River for 2 nights.

The trail conditions in the area varied from slightly overgrown to excellent depending on how close to the Warwickton Bed and Breakfast you are (where Hidden Valley Road crosses the Jackson River on the Hiking Upward map). There is also a public parking area and horse trailer parking next to the B&B.

For our 3 days, we saw a total of maybe 20 people, only two of whom were backcountry camping like we were. A number of groups were on horseback exploring the other trails in the area. You'll definitely need to watch where you step when you're on the main trail.

The only confusing part for us was when we left the Chimney Run area. As you come down a forest service road after you've crossed the footbridge, the trail that runs northeast along the base of Cobbler Mountain isn't well marked. We ended up missing the turn but were dropped into a pasture area, which was well maintained and had trails cutting to the river with a bushhog so it was easy walking. On our return trip out 3 days later, we looked for and found the blaze on the tree.

I rated this as 5 stars but not because of the loop trail described here on HikingUpward. We loved the solitude of our camp along the Jackson River, the amazing trout fishing, and the side trails in the area that we explored. I highly recommend a camping trip to this spot. If you're just going up for a hike, it's nice enough but I wouldn't make a 3 hour drive from Richmond just to come here for a 5 mile, easy walk through the woods.

I'll try to upload some photos from our trip in a bit.

By: John Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 5, 2013
Pretty easy hike. Leaves were starting to turn but waters levels were very low at this point of the year. Probably a better hike earlier in the year when the creeks aren't all dry. Many of the trials are also shared by horses, so watch out for large piles of poo on the trial (which also lead to a lot of bugs). High recommend taking the Jackson Gorge trail on the way back. Makes it worth it.

By: Lightfoot Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 3, 2012
This was a very enjoyable hike. The views of the river are amazing. The trails are marked clearly, but I would suggest taking the map posted on this site. The location of the swinging bridge wasn't marked on any signs that we could find.

By: K.O.Tic Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, August 16, 2011
An easy hike for the entire family,  easy climbs, good quality trails, and some very nice vistas. The trail description was very accurate, and we had never any doubts as where to go. The swinging bridge is a highlight for kids, of course, yet no too high for anyone to cross. For those who have eyes to see, some wildlife (deer, rabbits) can be spotted.

I would suggest to leave the car in the parking near the concrete ford, it is easier to climb the road at the beginning of your hike than at the end.-)

For those interested in geocaching, a cache is right on the trail (GC1H8D4 Kids Hidden Valley Cache (

Thank you for this one!

By: Kelly Hall Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 30, 2010
We took on the more difficult 7.0 mile route. After crossing the stream, you need to decide what route to take up the mountain. The route suggested by HikingUpward actually takes you through private land, which we were uncomfortable with. If you take the route suggested by Hiking Upward, you hang a right after the stream. We took a left, followed the trail a bit more, than decided to go straight up - no trail, no blazes. The hill is do-able, but in a few places we did have to crawl up. When you are 4/5 the way to the top, you will run into a trail. Although you are trying to head NW, you need to take the trail east (left). It'll take you to the top of the ridge in no time. Once at the time, there are blazes. Follow the ridge NW. Even though it was fall, we could not see much of a view. Had dinner at the top though :). Going down is just as tricky as going up. I could not imagine going down when it wasn't autumn, we used the leave cover to our advantage to slide down. We went 15 degrees west of north and just slide down, using trees to stop our slide. On your way down, you will see a rocky ledge to your left. We went to the right of this and found that below the rocky ledge is an awesome rock formation! Giant rocks are slanted onto each other, forming a mini cave. It is not hard to get into the cave. Keep sliding down until you get to the stream. If for some reason you do not want to cross to get to the trail, the trail eventually crosses onto your side. The whole hike, from the campsite and back, took us about 6 hours. We are not experienced campers, this is the first time I used the compass while hiking. good luck!

By: L. P. Thomas Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The part of this hike that is labeled as difficult is not really a trail and leaves the National Forest and trespasses on private land.  There is no maintenance and should not be recommended as a trail for the public.  The lower "easy" Cobbler Mountain trail is the real trail and is signed and maintained by the National Forest and is entirely on public land. 

The actual Cobbler Mountain Trail is a very enjoyable, hike, with the reward of seeing Muddy Run and the Jackson River at the end.

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