Channels Trail

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Channels Trail

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Channels Trail Banner.jpg
Highlight Although your likely goal, not the typical access
Park The Channels Natural Area Preserve
Land Owner Virginia Department of Forestry
Located Rosedale, VirginiaLocation inherited from associated park
Trail Marking Red blaze
Trail UseThings allowed to do on or near the trail


FeaturesThings to see on or near the trail


Difficulty Rating Hard
Hiking TimeTime from car and back. Includes any time hiking to access this trail. 8 hrs0.5 Days <br />480 Min <br /> round trip
Distance: 5.4 mi8.69 km <br /> trailStrict non-repeating trail length / 10.8 mi17.381 km <br /> round tripTypical or shortest length from the car, hike the trail, and return to car
Trail Type In-and-Out
Low / High Point 1,714 ft571.333 Yards <br />522.427 Meters <br />4,187 ft1,395.667 Yards <br />1,276.198 Meters <br />
Elev. Gain/LossSee link for details of calculation. Gain/Loss is direction dependent. 2,681 ft817.169 Meters <br /> / (-242 ft-73.762 Meters <br />) – South-to-North
Trip ReportsFrom user "hiked it" submissions<br/>Recent is within last 90 days 1 logged hikes (1 recent)
NearbyWithin 5 mi<br/>Click link to view list 1 trails / 3.0 mi of trail
Parking 36° 49' 43.72" N, 81° 57' 44.93" W Map
Trailhead 36° 49' 43.14" N, 81° 57' 46.40" W Map
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Trail Overview[edit]

Not the favored hiking route to the The Channels in spite of its name. Shorter at 3.2 mi (one way) when seasonal gates are open, but still lots of climbing.

How To Get There[edit]

From Kingsport, TN

  1. Take I-81 north to Virginia Exit 14 (Hwy VA-140/Jonesboro Road) towards Abingdon.
  2. After 0.5 mile, turn right/east onto US-19/11 Lee Highway
  3. After 0.9 mile, turn left/north onto US-19/Porterfield Highway.
  4. After 8.2 miles, turn right slightly and downhill onto Brumley Gap Road (County Road 689).
  5. Wind 8.2 miles until seeing the Channels State Forest sign on left/north - just past Fletchers Chapel Church on right/south. Church address is 23268 Brumley Gap Road, which Google Maps overshoots.
  6. Proceed uphill on gravel forest road to kiosk on right which is at turn into main parking for 8-10 cars.

This location is open all year for the entire 5.5 mile trail distance to The Channels. A gate is locked just past this point during the off-season. If the latter is open, then high-clearance vehicles with four-wheel drive could proceed up a couple of miles to an upper parking area to shorten the hike and climb. While the forest road is in great condition, low-clearance sedans would bottom out in the frequent water diversions.

Route Description[edit]

Profile chart

An in-and-out hike. This description starts from the bottom, but seasonal access allows shorter round trip from upper parking lot.

Mileage Feature Elevation
(2.3) Kiosk at base parking lot 1705
(2.2) Seasonal gate 1734
(1.5) Alternative parking area 2179
0.0 Locked gate at upper parking area 2905
0.6 Logging workspace 3190
1.6 Channels NAP boundary sign 3067
1.7 Whiterock Branch stream crossing 3199
2.5 Intersection with Brumley Mountain Trail 3698
2.9 Brumley Mountain Trail 10.5 mi. sign 3910
3.1 Spur trail to The Channels 3871
3.2 Hayters Knob Firetower 4151
3.2 The Channels 4165

Typical Conditions[edit]

Lower section is gravel forest road. Growth on both sides was likely mown in 2019. Past the upper logging workspace, the trail continues on unmaintained forest roads - mostly as a single track. Weeds, primarily stinging nettle, can be tall in places. Patches of red-flowering Indian Paintbrush also seen. All runoff crossings were easy to make - even after a hard rain the prior night.

The dark red blazes need to be refreshed. There are two places you need to make correct choices. First, at the logging workspace, the trail continues down an unmaintained forest road - roughly 10 o'clock from where you entered. Blazes are seen again several hundred feet down the trail. Second, at the tee-intersection with Brumley Mountain Trail with many Posted - No Trespassing signs, the desired route is to the right.

Fees, Permits, etc.[edit]

The Channels State Forest is open from dawn to dusk. No fee to park and walk the trail. No camping.

After the Hike[edit]

Head to Abingdon for an outdoor lunch in one of the many restaurants.

Miscellaneous Information[edit]

Managed by Virginia Department of Forestry (106 Forestry Lane / Galax, Virginia 24333). Phone: (276) 236-2322

VA Dept of Forestry map for Brumley Mtn and Channel Trails