Fortune’s Cove Preserve

  • Highlights: Mountain views, wildlife, wildflowers, stream crossings
  • Distance: 3.7 miles loop
  • Elevation change: 790 feet
  • Difficulty level: Easy/Moderate
  • Trailhead Parking: Route 651, Fortune’s Cove Lane, Lovingston VA
  • Website: Fortune’s Cove Preserve 
  • Beer Pairings: Wood Ridge Farm Brewery—Hop Notch IPA & Mr. Brown Stout

The Hike:

Fortune’s Cove is a hidden gem located about 40 miles south of Charlottesville. The 755 acre preserve was donated to The Nature Conservancy in the late 1990s. Today there are two hiking trails through the preserve. The shorter White Trail is a 3.7 mile loop while the longer (and much steeper) Yellow Trail is a 5.1 mile loop. The two loops form a figure-eight and both hikes begin and end at the same location. The longer Yellow Trail does have more viewpoints. Pets are not allowed on either trail. 

A trailhead kiosk by the parking area describes both hikes. We opted for the shorter White Trail as we were saving our energy for a hike on Three Ridges the following day. Both hikes are one-way going counterclockwise. The trailhead for both hikes is across the road from the parking area just past The Nature Conservancy sign. 

The climb begins immediately with an elevation gain of nearly 750 feet in the first .75 miles. There are two overlooks on the left with nice valley and mountain views. Reach a junction at one mile where the longer (and steeper) Yellow Trail branches off to the the right. Turn left to stay on the White Trail as it begins a gradual descent and winds through a forest of hardwoods.

Pass by several large boulders the size of an SUV and over a dry creek bed and enjoy the forest views and wildflowers. The Yellow Trail rejoins the trail at 2.8 miles. Continue the gradual descent as the trail crosses over a dirt road and then several footbridges. 

Pass by a very small waterfall and a stream crossing. The trail then joins the gravel entrance road. Turn left her to reach the parking area and your vehicle. Just a few hundred yards from the trailhead is Mountain Cove Vineyards, the oldest winery in Virginia. Al and Emily began producing wine in here 1973. Stop in and taste some wine. Al is an ardent hiker and a great source of knowledge about the area.

Hike Photos:

Click on an image below for an enlarged view.

Beer Pairing: 

Located just a few miles north on Route 29 is Wood Ridge Farm Brewery. This is a fun place to enjoy a beer, good food, great views, and live music. The brewery is also a farm and they practice a “dirt to the glass” approach of brewing beer. The farm supplies the the spring water and grains that are grown in the fields beside the brewery. They have a custom malt house and roasting operation onsite. Much of what goes in the beer glass came from the farm.

Wood Ridge has indoor and outdoor seating, a “beach in the mountains” theme, and they are kid and dog friendly. The wood-fired pizza is great and they have a variety of sandwiches and burgers at the FiredUp Curbside Grill.

Kathy really liked Hop Notch IPA, a tasty west coast-style IPA, nicely hopped at 45 IBUs. Pete enjoyed Mr. Brown Stout, with 4.75% ABV and 18 IBUs it was a classic Irish-style stout and a great session beer. We had a great view to watch the sunset as we enjoyed our beers and pizza.

Hike and drink responsibly. Never drink and drive. Stay safe and be responsible.