Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Great Channels Natural Area Preserve

I made an impromptu trip to the Channels Natural Area Preserve in Russell Co. Va. It was a gorgeous Sunday afternoon and the trees were displaying some great color.

The hike is about 6.2 miles roundtrip, with almost all of it on a gravel forest service road. The first mile or so is pretty easy, the last 2+ miles is a consistent climb, where most of the 1000 feet gain in altitude is made.

The first thing you see when you get there are the remnants of a small house and the fire tower pictured below. Walking past the firetower leads to a small trail through the rhododendron and down into the channels.

It's like nothing I've seen in this area before. The walls are 15 to 30 feet high, made of sandstone that's been grooved and pitted. The walls have been carved into huge boulders that have toppled over making a ceiling over the pathways. My description doesn't do this place justice, you really just need to go see it for yourself.

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