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Spy Rock via Cash Hollow

Tyro, Virginia

based on 13 reviews



5.71 miles

Elevation Gain

1191 ft

Route Type



Added by Christin Healey

The views from Spy Rock are simply breathtaking. It's a short hike, but from the top you can see the Religious Range: The Priest, The Little Priest, The Friar, The Little Friar, and The Cardinal.

The hike is part of the George Washington National Forest, and can easily be combined with nearby Crabtree Falls (300ft cascading waterfall with a hike to the top). The entire trip is 5.7 miles, and there are nice campsites at the base of the summit (no water source) if you want to add on this pretty overlook to a nearby longer hike. This is definitely a hike for locals, so it's never too crowded despite having probably the best views of the Blue Ridge around. The spring and fall are the best time to see the flowers and the fall foliage.

There is an easy scramble to get to the top, but my small lab made the journey with no problems if you want to bring your pup. This could be a sunset or sunrise hike, but the views to the west are slightly better looking into the valley.

This trail is dog friendly.

Note: Please refrain from hiking on private land near the Montebello State Fish Hatchery. There is a secure gate adjacent to the fish hatchery denoting private land and blocking access to the AT. Please access Spy Rock via Cash Hollow to stay on public land and avoid any issues of trespassing. The pin in the driving directions will lead to the Cash Hollow starting point. 

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Dog Friendly


Started at around 10am on a Friday. Parked at the trailhead. Saw 3 people on the way up and no one on our way back. I would consider this hike moderately strenuous buuuut I also did this hike at almost 8 mos pregnant. I think even without the extra passenger this hike still would have required a solid effort but very doable either way. Decent amount of incline but sections of flat ground to break up the ascent. I brought my 1yr old Weimaraner along and she enjoyed every step. Clocked 2h 59min of active hiking and 5.83mi total.

Nice combination when paired together. If you're in the GWNF, I'd put this on your list.

Private road from fish Hatchery to National Forest is closed to general public. Use Meadows Lane road to cash hollow road to approach spy rock from the north. Once you get on Meadows Lane road (towards Crabtree Meadows), reset your odometer. You will cross a stream at .5 and 1.2 miles (low clearance sports cars not recommended). At 3.1 miles look for a 4WD on the right (cash hollow road). Park in one of the camping spots and hike up this road past a Forest service gate to the AT trail. Head south (right) to spy rock. This route is about 5 miles round trip. Should take about an hour each way. Email me if you want more info at Spyrock@mac.com

My husband and I hiked this beauty with our medium sized dog, Daisy! We had a blast. Simple enough of a hike for our pooch to get all the way to the summit, but just difficult enough to feel accomplished and get our heart rates up! Awesome 360 degree view from the top. 3 Miles round trip. Definitely recommend!

Hiked this trail from the Hatchery with my 10 year old on 1/21/18 so it is currently open. Just about the best ratio effort:reward - the reward being the views! - within a 100 Miles! All the effort is on the 1.5 out leg of the hike climbing the trail. All down hill back to the parking spot. Bring your camera and an extra layer to hang out a while up top.

As per the review below mine, the trailhead is currently closed and is gated with "No Tresspassing" signs. There is a map at the trailhead that will direct you to an alternate way of hiking to Spy Rock.

Mike Yankovich The trail to spy rock from the Fish Hatchery AT parking lot has closed down. The private road is now closed to the General public. I’m a land owner on this road and have been working with the National Forest to get an alternate route to Spy rock. I was NOT in favor of closing down the trail until the alternate route was approved and blazed. The reason the road was close down has nothing to do with construction or development. It has to do with a bunch of land owners that had some unfortunate encounters with hikers camping on their property, making lots of noise and in one very unusual case, taking a dump on this side of the road and leaving the used toilet paper (the straw that broke the camels back). There is a sign at the gate that asks hikers to respect private property. Unfortunately, the more people that ignore the no trespassing signs, the more difficult it will to get the other land owner to change their mind and work with the National Forest on a better solution. The alternate route I was working on with the NF is still available if you are interested. Meadows lane road is a state maintained gravel road off Route 56 that goes to a parking lot at the top of Crabtree falls trail (called Crabtree meadows). Most cars can travel on this road in normal weather. This hiking route is slightly longer in distance but not as difficult to hike (less elevation change). It is on National forest property so camping is allowed everywhere (follow NF camping rules). If you are going to camp near the trail head this is a much better option : Take Meadows lane towards Crabtree meadows, at about 3.2 miles, you will see a 4WD dirt road heading off to the right and a bunch of car camping sites. Park off the road and hike up this dirt road past a gate until the road crosses the AT trail, head south (right) on the AT trail towards Spy Rock. You can also combine this hike with a hike to the North to the Priest or Crabtree falls. Please let me know if you want more details on this route or camping options near Spy Rock....Mike

One of the best views in Central Virginia. A short, but steep hike up to the top with a fun rock scramble at the top. Lots of campsites under the summit that can sometimes be packed full on a warm, beautiful weekend. One of my favorite go-to hikes in Virginia!

This short hike has some amazing views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Once you get to the top I have found the best way to get onto the top of the rock is to follow the pink ribbon about 200-300 yards round the rock to the left. If you are like me and have young kids (1 and 4) the rock scrabble is possible (did it the first time) but hiking around the rock to the left will lead you to a nice gradual slop that is much easier to hike up to get onto of the rock.

This is a short hike with great payoff! The 360 degree views at the top are amazing and I love how it's dog friendly despite the short rock scramble (my dogs love to climb!). The campsites are nice and I had it all to myself -- it was a great way to catch the sunset and sunrise without rushing or hiking in the dark.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


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