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Alleghany County Virginia Hiking Trails

Fortney Loop Trail


George Washington and Jefferson National Forests

The Fortney Loop Trail descends about 200 feet to Lake Moomaw across from the Fortney Branch Boat Launch, about one mile from trail’s beginning at the south end.  The trail is well marked with a graded open tread in good condition.  At first the descends gently along the ridge line through open forest before dropping more steeply downhill along several switchbacks to the abandoned asphalt surface of old Route 600, which was inundated under Lake Moomaw when the Gathright Dam was constructed in the 1980.

Turn right along the abandoned road to reach the lake with a view of the Fortney Branch boat launch.  At the lake, stone steps, constructed by a Student Conservation Association work crew, lead to the return trail that winds pleasantly along the lakeside before gradually ascending through open forest to the intersection with the Cove Trail. The Cove Trail is a short branch trail with a gradual descent to Lake Moomaw across from Coles Point.

Bicyclists should use care navigating the abrupt switchbacks and the stone steps.

Fishing access to the bank of Lake Moomaw is possible from a number of points, especially when coupled with the Cove Trail.


Fortney Loop Trail is adjacent to the Morris Hill Campground, north of Covington.  From I-64 take Route 220 north, turn left onto Route 687. Turn left onto Route 641, Indian Draft Road, and continues as Route 641 becomes Route 666.  At the Lake Moomaw Recreation Area entrance, turn right onto Route 605 to the Morris Hill Campground, on your left.  Fortney Loop Trail is accessible from two points in the campground - the dump station, and the south end of the main campground loop road at campsite 33.

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