Thursday, March 8, 2012

Fortune's Cove: One of the Best Undiscovered Hikes in Virginia

This past weekend Laura and I returned to our favorite Virginia hiking spot: Fortune's Cove, a 755 acre preserve in Nelson County near the town of Lovingston.  Fortune's Cove is owned by the Nature Conservancy and is situated within 29,000 acres of relatively intact forest habitat and rocky glades that is home to many rare plant species.
one of the views from Fortune's Cove trail
This demanding loop hike is my favorite for a variety of reasons:
-Solitude.  There never seems to be anyone else there!
-It offers two options: a steep, challenging 5.5 mile workout (allow 3+ hours - brisk pace) or a shorter, more moderate 4 mile trek (allow 2+ hours - semi-casual pace).  Just enough to feel like you've done something, but not enough to really wear you out.
-There are some decent mountain vista vantage points and lookouts along the trail, especially on the longer loop.
-It's 90 minutes from Richmond, which is about the distance you have to drive anyway to start getting to the good Blue Ridge hikes. So, it's no farther than anything else, really.  And it's pretty easy to get don't have to traverse any poorly maintained roads.
-Most importantly, it's directly adjacent to Mountain Cove Vineyards (VA's oldest active winery) and not far from more than a half dozen other Virginia wineries as well as three cool breweries (Devil's Backbone, Wild Wolf and Blue Mountain), so we always combine this hike with stops at Mountain Cove or another winery for bottles and/or a brewery to have growlers filled.

This section of Nelson county between Lovingston and Wintergreen is one of the most pleasant and beautiful parts of Virginia.  Visiting there is a joy and if you're looking for a challenging hike in that area you can't go wrong with Fortune's Cove!
Fortune's Cove Trail Map

Download the trail map here.

From US 29 near Lovingston travel north for 0.5 miles to Rt. 718/Mountain Cove Road. Turn left and follow Rt. 718 west 1.5 miles to Rt. 651. Go right (north) for 1.6 miles to Fortune's Cove Preserve.

1 comment:

  1. It's kind of a rarity in that we only see them briefly while they rest up for their journey northward. After April, they're all pretty much gone.

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