Devil’s Bathtub

  • Highlights: streams, pools, and cascades
  • Distance: 3.9 miles out and back 
  • Elevation Change 590 feet
  • Trail Surface: Rocky with some dirt, numerous stream crossings
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Trailhead Parking: Scott County parking area, 331 High Knob (county route 619), Dungannon, VA 24225. Parking here adds about 1 mile each way to Devil’s Bathtub. Forest Road 619 is a one lane dirt road leading closer to the trailhead with room for 8-10 vehicles. 
  • Trail Markings: yellow blazes
  • Website: AllTrails
  • Beer Pairings: Big Cherry Brewing Co.—Dark Vision Stout & Life in the Clouds IPA

Trail Map:

The Hike:

Devil’s Bathtub has become a popular bucket list hike. Parking has been always been a problem. The trailhead is located at the end of Forest Road 619—a single lane dirt road. To address parking issues, Scott County created a large parking area (with restrooms) on county road 619, about 1 mile from the trailhead. Either arrive early or plan for an extra 2 miles.

We arrived before 9am on a Saturday in mid-September. Parking was easy and we had the Bathtub to ourselves for over 20 minutes. As we hiked back to the car, we passed a steady stream of hikers on their way to the Tub.

The trail is rocky and there are over ten stream crossings. In mid-September, water levels were low and the stream crossings were easy. However, the water level in Devil’s Bathtub was also low. In the spring, the stream crossings often result in wet feet.

Follow the yellow blazes as the trail winds over rocks, crosses the stream, and passes through several large rhododendron thickets. As you get closer to the Tub, the trail runs beside the creek and the footing can be treacherous. Several ropes have been strung along the trail to provide handholds.

At about 1.7 miles, reach the first pool. This swimming hole is easier to access and less crowded. Continue a few hundred yards and reach Devil’s Bathtub. Cross the stream to get close to the Tub. The rocks are often wet and slippery, watch your step. The water was much too cold for us to even think about jumping in. Maybe on a hot day in July…

Hike Photos:

Click on an image below for an enlarged view.

Beer Pairing:

Big Cherry Brewing Co. in Big Stone Gap is about 45 minutes from the trailhead. This is Big Stone Gap’s first brewery. They have 20 taps including several guest breweries. When we visited, they had four beers brewed on-site using the pure, pristine water from Big Cherry Lake.

They have a full bar, indoor and outdoor seating, and an extensive food menu. Pete tried the Big Cherry Dark Vision Stout (4.8% ABV), a really nice Irish dry stout with notes of molasses and dark caramel. Kathy opted for a guest tap, Life in the Clouds IPA (6.1% ABV) from Collective Arts in Canada.  This hazy IPA is brewed with Simcoe and Mosaic hops and is juicy and fruity.

Hike and drink responsibly. Never drink and drive. Stay safe, be responsible, and leave no trace.