Easily accessible from the Charlottesville and Lynchburg areas, Fortune's Cove Preserve provides a challenging hike that rewards visitors with stunning mountain vistas. The preserve is situated within some 29,000 acres of relatively intact forest habitat and hosts rare plant communities on a series of rocky glades.
The 5.5-mile loop trail climbs steeply from the parking area, gaining some 1,500 feet in elevation before reaching its highest point. Hikers should be in good physical condition and should allow about four hours to complete the yellow trail.
Download a trail map (pdf)
Why TNC Selected This Site
Fortune's Cove straddles Virginia's Piedmont and Blue Ridge. Here, these two ecological regions meet to form a unique collection of flora from both areas. The preserve also is nestled within some 29,000 acres of relatively unfragmented forest, providing excellent wildlife habitat. The plant community—i.e. combination of plant species—found on the glades is thought to be extremely rare, with fewer than 20 examples known to occur worldwide.
Landowner Jane Heyward approached TNC about donating her property and making it accessible to visitors. Through Mrs. Heyward's exceptional generosity, the Virginia chapter created a parking area, signage and hiking trails for people to experience the preserve and will protect Fortune's Cove for future generations.