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Hiker Reviews for the North Mountain/Pete''s Cave Hike - 1 to 9 of 9   
Review the North Mountain/Pete''s Cave hike here!   Average Review Rating:

By: Juliann Francis Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 28, 2018
*Eastern Diamondback near miss!*

First of all, this is a great hike with jaw dropping views. I think there are a few things worth noting for planning purposes:

1. This path is extremely overgrown in its entirety- not just at the beginning - compared to other HU hikes (I’ve done many). Could be good or bad depending on what you’re looking for (we saw no evidence of any other recent hikers).

2. Probably related, we encountered an Eastern Diamondback. Two of our group walked right next to him without even noticing. He rattled to warn the third, who was already in striking distance. We halted, finally spotted the 6 foot giant poised directly next to the foot path (literally could not see him from eye level - we’d never have known unless he rattled or struck). We gave a wide berth and counted our lucky stars. We were 3 miles away from parking area when this happened, and the parking area is easily an hour from the nearest hospital so this could have ended in a very bad way. Be aware you are in rattler territory if you hike in this area.

3. Do yourself s favor and look at the original post’s linked photo of the parking area that marks trailhead location. A picture is worth a thousand words here as none of the descriptions were how we would have instructed someone to find the trailhead and the photo makes it quite clear.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, June 17, 2018
Author's update: Hiked this in mid-June for the first time. Contrary to earlier reviews, the road from Longdale Furnace to the trailhead is in great shape. As others have noted, the trail can be a little tough to see from trailhead parking, but both entrances become obvious if you walk east downhill on Collierstown Road. (The trailhead is now marked as "North Mountain/Pete's Cave Parking" on Google Maps.) The trail itself can seem quite overgrown in sections (check for ticks), particularly right at the beginning with mountain laurel encroaching on the trail, and near Pete's Cave with thick grass. Consider bringing hand clippers and making a few clips along the way! If there is any breeze at all, this is otherwise a wonderful summer hike.

By: Ginghombre Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 9, 2018
Enjoyable hike. Flat, easy, with lots of bling in the first 10 minutes of hiking. The parking area was a bit uncertain, however, since there were no cars there and I had some miscommunication with my map reader. (Once I looked at the map myself, it was a bit clearer.) To clarify a bit more than others have already, the "parking lot" can be missed if empty of cars because it's basically just a large intersection among 3 roads with no signage.

By my odometer, from Longdale Furnace, starting at the turnoff onto Rt. 770 you go 3.9 miles up the mountain and turn right at the intersection as mentioned by others. You will almost immediately see an unimproved "two-track" driveway (to radio tower) on your left. Don't take it you are now in the parking lot. (If you were to keep driving past this point, you'd start heading back down the mountain. If you do, there is room to turn around shortly at a large hairpin turn.) Park on the side of the road next to the tower drive entrance, where there is room for a few cars, and the trail access is behind you, across from where the tower drive enters the road . A slightly easier access is a couple of hundred feet farther down the road, to your right.

By: Bryant Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, December 28, 2017
The hike has amazing views - and the road is a trip all by itself. Probably one of the best ridge hikes I've ever done - even at 6 degrees! While the views are wonderful right from the start, the real fireworks are 3.2 miles in - the rock grotto is interesting, offers many view point, and for the adventurous - a breathtaking 360 degree view after a quick scramble. I would argue this hike is the most scenic (fall and winter) in Rockbridge County.

By: Mo Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, September 24, 2017
This was an excellent hike! Considering that all the work is done for you. As described accurately from the guide, the first 1/2 mile had several amazing vistas. The rest of the hike to the last two vistas were quite easy. There was a nice breeze going on, as well. The only qualms I had about the hike was the poorly marked entrance to the trail, It is not seen from the parking spot. The other thing was how narrow the road was going up the mountain. If you have a low clearance vehicle, this is a no go! The road leading to the trail head is completely gravel. Another thing I almost forgot to mention was the thick patch of rhododendrons during the first 1/2 mile of the hike. Otherwise, this hike was amazing, its for all fitness levels. Definitely the best hike in the area!!!

By: BK Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, June 8, 2017
This was an exceptional hike that I did today with my 8 and 5 year old.  First things first, getting to the trailhead is half the battle.  Best way I found was I-64W towards Longdale Furnace and get off on exit 35.  Take a left on 850 and very soon you'll see 770  on the left(small road that becomes gravel) and take that right to the top.  Hang a right when it splits and the parking lot is on the left.  The trail is across from the parking lot.  Hard to see, but it's there.

Now the hike.  It's mostly flat and super easy.  The lookouts are mostly in the beginning on the left and they are great.  The majority of the hike is a forest walk amidst ample greenery and trees.  Keep going as it follows the ridge with minimal up and down.  Once you get to the stone steps you arrive at the boulder garden.  So many climbing opportunities!  Find you way and you will have awesome views, but take care when crossing the open spaces between the rocks.  Wonderful day!

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Let me start off by saying this was a great hike and the views rival any we have seen on the hundreds of miles of trails we have done. Several things to be aware of 1-the road going up to the trail head and parking area is really rough and damaged by heavy rain run off, the VDOT folks were there when we left today trying to make repairs as the road is just gravel 2-you may think you have passed the parking area but the trek up the road is long and switches back several times so don't stop and go back you will get there 3-depending on your age the trail can be physically challenging in places but the work is worth the effort. We are in our mid/upper 60's and hiked to where the trail sign indicates the direction to Longdale and this made our trip out just under 5 miles. At the cave area you can scramble out on the rocks and get a view westward for the first time, the previous views all look east....but no matter they are spectacular. We did see two black bear crossing the road about 3/4 mile from the trailhead heading up the mountain but we did not see them again. Also if you go to the area during heavy rains or just after heavy rains, there is potential for road flooding from Buffalo creek, but you can schedule your hike around such events. One other thing, the blue blazes are few and far between, but the trail is for the most part well worn and following it was not difficult. All in all a great day and worth every minute!

By: Barbara Martin Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 13, 2017
Fantastic hike with beautiful views within the first 1/2 mile and the most interesting rock formation, known as Pete's Cave, that I've ever seen.  Along with all this is a fairly easy hike with a well maintained trail and not very much elevation

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, April 29, 2017
I've wanted to do this hike before, but couldn't find the trailhead. To clarify the instructions, the trailhead is directly across the road and a little to the left from the parking lot (NOT down the side road leading to an antennae.) It's a bit hidden but is marked with red spray paint in a few places.

The trail is great for when you want big rewards for little effort- in almost 7 miles my GPS registered just over 700 feet elevation gain. The beginning and end of the trail offer great views, but the middle forested portion is also pleasant, being quite open and giving hints of the surrounding peaks.

Trails seems somewhat popular- on a warm Sunday, I passed three other couples.

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