Section 17 - Tye River (VA 56) to Spy Rock Road Displayed from North to South

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  Natural Bridge Appalachian Trail Club hammerhike @ Tye River at VA 56 to Black Horse Gap

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Hiker Rated
Parking Safety
Directions Comments Number of Vehicles  Map   &  
Tye River (VA 56)
   Poor           Great

Montebello is two miles E of the Blue Ridge Parkway (Milepost 27.9) on VA 56. From the heart of "downtown" Montebello (general store and post office)go southeast on VA 56 8.2 miles to parking lot at the Tye River. Parking lot is on right side of road. There is a parking pull-off on the other side of the road. These can be seen on the satellite view of the attached map. The marker on the map show the entrance to the parking lot. GPS: N37.83845 W79.0231 Rotate the street view from the point of the marker to see a ground level view of the parking. The northbound trail to Section 16 crosses the road from the parking area and soon goes over the Tye River footbridge which can be seen in the satellite view due east of the parking area. The southbound AT to Section 17 leaves from the the northwest corner of the parking area and begins the long climb to the Priest. 11/24/2009 Updated 06/19/19 20


David Cullen
Crabtree Farm Road (VA 826)
   Poor           Great

Comments in this posting refer to both Crabtree Farm Road (VA 826 ) and Cash Hollow Road (Mile 6.5) I just used both of these roads as intended pick up points for my 4 children that are thru hiking the AT. We had planned on meeting at Cash Hollow Road. I drive a Toyota Sienna front wheel drive and have been car supporting them since Springer.I have only met two roads that I had to back or slide down so far thank goodness and Cash Hollow Road was one of them
As you start driving up to Crabtree Meadows there is a sign indicating that 4WD is required. Although that did not hold true for the main road up to the upper parking area of Crabtree Falls there is no way you could get up Cash Hollow Road without it
I actually wouldn't recommend driving Cash Hollow Road with 4WD. The same is true of the USFS that is just past the Upper Crabtree Falls parking area
Honestly I made it up and down okay but 4WD would make the road up to Crabtree Meadows much easier
Cash Hollow Road IS indeed gated at about 0.3 to 0.4 from where it turns off the main USFS road. The AT crossing is about another 0.2 from there. You have to hike it in or out regardless.
The USFS road just past Cash Hollow Road off of Crabtree Meadows Road is also NOT passable by car. You could get to the first couple of dispersed sites but I think even with 4WD it would be very difficult to get all of the way up to the AT crossing. Parking at the upper Crabtree Falls parking lot is only about 0.4 to 0.5 to the AT crossing on this road.
I had initially attempted to drive in on this road but it is a private road from the other end. You MUST drive to 56 and then try to access it from Crabtree Meadows Road 07/16/16



bhw6y @
VA 826 leaves VA 56 1.5 miles east of the Montebello General Store or 7.5 miles west of the AT crossing of VA 56 at the Tye River. I have never been on the road but have heard the quality of the road has varied over the years from good to barely passable. There is a sign at the beginning that says 4WD is necessary. A recent report (January 2018) reports it is bumpy with 2 small stream crossings, but passable in a Honda Pilot using 2WD. From the VA 56 intersection it is 3.8 miles to the parking area at Crabtree Meadows, the upper terminus of the Crabtree Falls Trail. This area is indicated by the marker on the attached Google map. GPS at the parking area N 37.8306 W 79.0836
Update: I have just heard a story about two cars getting stuck on VA 826 during Labor Dy weekend 2017. They had to be towed out.
There is a pit toilet at the parking area. The road beyond this point soon becomes very bad. It also may be gated. It is best to walk about half a mile (compass south) along the road to the AT crossing. The southbound AT goes right while the northbound trail goes left. The intersection is marked by white blazes on rocks on either side of the road. GPS at the crossing: N 37.8242 W 79.0822 02/01/18 Several


David Cullen
Cash Hollow Road
   Poor           Great

Cash Hollow Road, a rough, barely passable dirt road diverges right from Crabtree Farm Road 3.3 miles from VA 56. From Crabtree Farm Road it is .5 mile to the AT in Cash Hollow via the Cash Hollow Road. The road may be gated so that walking is the only option. This road is not shown on Google maps, but the junction with Crabtree Farm Road (called Meadows Lane on the map) is indicated by the marker. Approximate coordinates at the intersection are N 37.8311 W 79.0927 Coordintes at the AT are N 37.8250 W 79.0931. See Do not confuse an unmarked dead-end road, used by hunters, which leads right 200 feet before the Cash Hollow Road. Immediately after entering the Cash Hollow Road, a branch of Crabtree Creek is forded. See previous entry (mile 5.6) for warnings about this road and VA 826, the approach road. 02/04/2018 limited parking where Cash Hollow road leaves Crabtree Farm Road.


David Cullen
Spy Rock Road
   Poor           Great


GPS: 37.8419111,-79.1311578 (Spy Rock Road-formerly known as Fish Hatchery Road)
Montebello is two miles E of Blue Ridge Parkway (Milepost 27.9) on VA 56. From the heart of downtown Montebello (general store and post office) go E on VA 56 1.2 miles to VA 690 and sign for state fish hatchery. Go right on VA 690 for 0.3 miles to Fish Hatchery. Road bears right and becomes dirt (it is single lane, so drive slowly). You will arrive at a gated road. The AT intersection is one mile from the gate along Spy Rock Road.
The following is a copy-paste from the Appalachian Trail Conservancys Trail Updates:
The USDA Forest Service has closed the parking lot located behind the Montebello Fish Hatchery in Nelson County, and the associated trail that formerly provided access to Spy Rock.
The public can continue to access Spy Rock via an alternative route. Hikers should be aware that this alternative route is approximately 6.5 miles in length round-trip and has fewer trail blazes and other directional signage. All hikers should carry a map of this alternative route and be well-prepared for this longer distance hike.
Parking for this alternative route is located at the end of State Route 826 Meadows Lane. State Route 826 is maintained by the Virginia Department of Transportation and is not suitable for some passenger vehicles. The road is recommended for travel only by higher clearance, four-wheel drive vehicles.
Directions to Spy Rock:
From State Route 56, take State Route 826 Meadows Lane for approximately 3.75 miles to its end point at the Crabtree Meadows parking area.
From the Crabtree Meadows parking area, hike back along State Route 826 for 0.5 miles and turn left onto Forest Service Road 596 Cash Hollow Road.
Hike along Forest Service Road 596 Cash Hollow Road for 0.5 miles to the intersection with the Appalachian Trail.
Turn right (south) on the Appalachian Trail and continue for 2.1 miles to the intersection with Spy Rock Trail, Forest Trail number 732.

Note No parking is allowed on or along Forest Service Road 596 (Cash Hollow Road).
For more information on Spy Rock, please contact the Glenwood and Pedlar Ranger District office at 540-291-2188. 05/20/21


WardandDA @

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  Page last updated: 1/30/2021 3:18:55 PM