Trail Map of Devil's Bathtub (Devil's Fork Loop Trail)

Hike through a deep Appalachian gorge to a unique series of rock formations and swimming holes in southwest Virginia

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Overview
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Devil's Bathtub (Devil's Fork Loop Trail)
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Difficult: 1.6 miles, Half day
 
Overview: Scenic, 3-mile out-and-back hike to the Devil's Bathtub, a scoured rock formation within Devil's Fork Creek. Hike follows the creek closely along its entire course, crossing the creek multiple times and passing several scenic swimming holes, rock formations, and waterfalls. An optional trip continues beyond the Devil's Bathtub, climbing the mountain and returning to the original trailhead, for 7 total miles. Beyond the Bathtub, however, the trail is much less maintained and may be difficult to follow in some seasons.

In recent months (as of spring 2015), overcrowding at the Devil's Bathtub has become a major problem, exacerbated by disrespectful hikers ignoring No Trespassing signs and parking along private property when the trailhead parking area becomes full. Please be aware that ALL areas outside of the signed parking area at the trailhead should be considered private property and should not be used for parking. Access to the trailhead is only allowed through an easement from a private landowner, and disregard for property owners' rights by visitors does nothing but needlessly strain this relationship...and puts you at risk of getting your car towed.

If you arrive at the trailhead and the parking area is full, consider going somewhere else rather than breaking local trespassing laws. The Bathtub will still be there on another day, and you won't have to fight crowds of people to see it. We recommend Little Stony Falls or the Guest River Gorge as alternative hikes, both of which are nearby, have similar (if not better!) scenery than the Bathtub, and are virtually never crowded. These can be found in the "Nearby Hikes" section of this guide or by searching for them on EveryTrail.

Tips: - Getting to the Bathtub is not an easy stroll to a swimming hole - it is a difficult backcountry hike involving some skill at route-finding and multiple stream crossings. People can (and frequently do!) get lost and/or injured when they attempt to hike to the Bathtub in poor weather conditions, without enough daylight remaining, or without proper experience or preparation. In short, this is NOT a good choice for a first backcountry hike. Always hike at your own risk, and consider taking some easier hikes in the area first to become familiar with the demands of backcountry travel if you are inexperienced. Above all, be smart and come prepared when attempting this trail. If you don't know what good hiking preparation entails, it may be best to choose an easier hike.

- While often easily navigated, the multiple stream crossings on this trail may require significant wading at high water and may even become treacherous during extremely high creekflow. Even at low water levels, some creek crossings are technical and cannot be made dry-shod. Use caution and good judgment before attempting any creek crossings in wet weather.

- Steep terrain and heavy forest cover along this trail may prevent adequate wireless internet access and/or reduce accuracy of smartphones' GPS while on the trail. Your location on the map may therefore not be precisely accurate if tracking your progress directly on the trail. As with all online guides, the information contained herein should only be used for educational purposes and not for use in backcountry navigation or as a substitute for a trail map, planning, and good judgment.
Trailhead and Parking Area
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Stream Crossing #1
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Trail Junction
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Stream Crossing #2
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Stream Crossing #3
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Stream Crossing #4
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Riparian Zones
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Stream Crossing #5
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Stream Crossing #6
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Stream Crossing #7
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Riparian Corridors
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Stream Crossing #8
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Stream Crossing #9
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Stream Crossing #10
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Cliff and Bluff Habitat
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Swimming Hole and Waterfall
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Devil's Bathtub
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Continuation of Loop Trail
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