My friend Rebecca was in town for a few days and she wanted to spend as much time as possible in the mountains.
We decided to hike up to Spy Rock first. She had walked right past the overlook without stopping to check it out on her 2005 AT thru hike. I had done the same in 2003, but I had been back several times since.
We parked in the parking area just past the fish hatchery.
There is a large, grassy field with several fire pits along the side trail to the rocks. It’s a great (and popular!) camping spot.
The rock scramble up to Spy Rock was a little more complicated in the snow and ice, but we made it.
Rebecca carefully picked up one of the frozen ice discs that had formed in the little pools in the rocks and launched it in the air like a Frisbee. I probably wouldn’t have thought to do this on my own, but once I saw her doing it, I had to try too. It was fun and oddly satisfying to watch them shatter like glass as they hit the rock.
It was cold and windy, but we found a sheltered spot and enjoyed the amazing views and Rebecca shared her Starbucks chocolate chip cookie with me.
On the way back to Charlottesville, we took a detour onto Skyline drive for another short hike on the Appalachian Trail to check out the new reroute near Beagle Gap.
Total Spy Rock Hike Distance:
Directions from Charlottesville:
(total driving time is just under an hour)
Take 29 South out of town.
A few miles past the town of Lovingston, turn right onto Tye Brook Hwy (Va-56)
Stay on Va-56 (for approximately 17-18 miles).
There are a few turns. Follow signs to Crabtree Falls & Fish Hatchery.
You will pass Crabtree Falls and the road will get windy and steep.
Turn left onto Fish Hatchery Lane
Turn left into the parking lot pictured above.