Birding · Fall Colors · Fishing · Lake · Spring · Wildlife
This is a nice loop for an afternoon hike. It has a lot of wildflowers (a lot of invasives too) and even when a bit overgrown, the trail is clear. The trail is through second growth forest the whole way although there are a couple of old trees on each section. The first leg up to the AT is a decent climb on a singletrack, then the rest is essentially flat along the AT and a gradual downhill mostly on an old dirt road back down to the reservoir.
Need to Know
There is Poison Ivy, especially on the non-AT legs. It isn't everywhere but it is common and sometimes it is right along the footpath - wear long pants.
Hike from the parking area on Leeds Manor down the gravel road to the reservoir. Go right to cross the levee, and at the end of the levee you'll see the trail going off to the right through the forest and up the hill. The first leg up to the AT is a good climb but there is no scrambling or special skills required. It can be a bit muddy after a spring rain, and in the fall, the trail is still obvious but the vegetation on the sides gets over 2m tall and can close together - meaning that it will be brushing your shoulders as you pass. You might also want a stick to swat spider webs.
At the top it crosses the AT and you'll want to turn left on the AT (going straight maybe 1/4 mile just takes you out to Freezeland Rd.). The AT in this stretch is always well maintained with very easy slightly rolling hills. About a mile from the turn, the AT will come out onto an old dirt road two track and then veer off the two track to the right. Just continue on the two track, it will veer left down the hill. It's a fairly gradual slope and goes past a beautiful rocky spring area on the right and then a bit further down, a quintessentially bucolic Virginia view of pastures and farms followed by a vineyard.
From there it can be a bit confusing in some seasons because the old road goes down the hill to the right along the farms but you are going to stay on the path that goes slightly left down the hill toward the reservoir. You'll then eventually hike along the south edge of the reservoir, elevated a bit for a nice view of the water and back to where you originally turned to cross the levee.
Flora & Fauna
History & Background
There are some ruins of a house on the West side of the reservoir and an old shot up cabin along the trail.
Shared By: Stinger Guala