Spy Rock affords the viewer 360-degree views of the forested mountaintops in a steep out-and-back climb. Without the aid of switchbacks, this hike may be a little hard on those in less than good shape.
2021 update: Parking and access to Spy Rock from the Montebello Fish Hatchery was eliminated in late 2020. For alternative access, visit www.fs.usda.gov.
The trail begins as a road extending beyond the parking lot. It crosses a shallow stream then continues beyond the car gate. The majority of the hike is on a gravel road, passing through private property. Hikers should remain on the road. The road intersects the Appalachian Trail, which will put you directly onto the ridge leading to Spy Rock. This is a popular spot for an overnight with an enormous campsite complete with fire pits. Follow the path through the high grass to a crack in the rocks to reach the sweeping views of Spy Rock.
From the Lexington Visitor Center, drive west on Washington Street to a right onto Main Street (US-11 Business). Continue driving north on US-11 for approximately 16 miles and take a right onto Tye River Turnpike (Route 56). Take a left, crossing the train tracks, to stay on VA-56 E. The road is steep and winding; be cautious of speeding around blind turns.
After 8.8 miles, turn right onto Fish Hatchery Lane and take the initial left fork. Watch for the sign pointing to parking for Spy Rock.
- Be respectful of "no parking" signs and remain on the trail to avoid trespassing on private property.
- Rubble on the road can cause an ankle to turn, so be careful.
- Sunrises and sunsets are magnificent from the peak of Spy Rock, so bring some camping gear and catch both!
- The Montebello Country Store has camping and picnic necessities. If you pack it in, pack it back out. There is also a fishing pond stocked with 12-15 inch Rainbow Trout. Fishing is free but you must keep what you catch and fish are sold by the pound.