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Alleghany County Virginia Hiking Trails

Oliver Mountain Trail


George Washington and Jefferson National Forests

The 4.0 mile Oliver Mountain Trail, in northwestern Alleghany County, connects the southern end of Lake Moomaw at the Fortney Branch Boat Launch with the northeastern end of Oliver Mountain.  The western half of this trail has been removed from the official trail system, as it traversed through private land with no legal right-of-way.

From Fortney Branch, the trail briefly winds along the side of the Fortney Branch drainage before sharply ascending up a loose shale ridge to reach an old logging road. The trail is moderately steep, gaining 1000 feet to the intersection with the end of FDR 192. Another 400 feet are gained as the trail skirts the highest peaks of the northeast end of Oliver Mountain.  On winter days the view is impressive. The surrounding mountains and valleys are a beautiful backdrop with views north and south. Lake Moomaw is visible from points along the upper portion of the trail.

If you start at Fortney, hike up the Oliver Mountain Trail (4.0 miles), turn left on the Jackson Trail (1.0 mile), turn left on FDR 192 and return to the Oliver Mountain Trail (1.5 miles), and walk back down to Fortney (2.1 miles), you have an 8.6-mile hike.

Another alternative parking spot is at the end of FDR 192.


From Route 220 heading north from Covington, turn left onto Route 687.  Then turn left onto Route 641/666.  At the Lake Moomaw Recreation Area entrance, keep left onto Route 666.  At the “T” intersection, turn right and go about 0.2 mile.  The trailhead will be on the left, behind a guardrail, about 50 yards before reaching the Fortney Branch parking lot.  Park in this parking lot (there is a fee).

The Oliver Mountain Trail ends at its western terminus where it intersects with the Jackson Trail. This is reached by turning left at the above-mentioned “T” intersection and traveling south for about 0.8 mile.  Turn right onto FDR 192 (a gravel road) and travel on a right-of-way through private land for 0.9 mile.  The Jackson trail will be on the left, uphill side of the parking area on FDR 192 at the National Forest boundary line, just before a Forest Service gate.  Walk 0.9 mile on the Jackson Trail to its intersection with the Oliver Mountain Trail.  Turning right will lead you back 4.0 miles along the Oliver Mountain Trail to Fortney Branch.

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