No matter how much of a seasoned hiker you are, it is always nice to have a reward during a strenuous hike. The Devil's Fork Loop Trail in Duffield, Scott County, Virginia, is one such hike. That's all thanks to the Devil's Bathtub, a spectacularly beautiful natural swimming hole located along the trail.
Hiking to the Devil's Bathtub
Located in Southwest Virginia in Jefferson National Forest, the Devil's Bathtub is within the Devil's Fork Loop Trail. The trailhead for the hiking trail is 3 miles northwest of Fort Blackmore and just north of Kingsport, Tennessee, on State Route 619. The Devil's Bathtub is 1.6 miles from the trailhead, making it a 3.2 round-trip hike to and from the swimming hole.
Unfortunately, overcrowding has become a problem in recent years. If the parking lot is full, you are encouraged to leave the parking area and choose a different trail to hike. We suggest you arrive earlier in the morning (especially on a weekday) to avoid the crowds keeping you from a great hike through a beautiful place.
The Devil's Fork Loop Trail
The Devil's Fork Loop Trail is a 7.2-mile loop through the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest, which spans the Appalachian across West Virginia, Virginia, and Kentucky. The Forest Service maintains the area. There is an option to take the Straight Fork Ridge Trail, located about a quarter of the way around Devil's Fork, bearing right. At this point, the hike is just over 10 miles.
The trail past the Devil's Bathtub is quite strenuous and less maintained, so be appropriately equipped to hike the entire route. There are points on the trail that are pretty rocky and slippery, and there are creek crossings. In fact, you'll cross the Devil's Fork Creek up to 18 times on the hike, depending on water levels.
The trail itself is pretty gorgeous. It follows along Devil's Fork Creek and includes fantastic rock formations, stream crossings, and waterfalls. If you are planning on just heading to the Bathtub, you may want to hike a bit further to the mouth of Corder Hollow to take in the 50-foot waterfall. Be sure to look for trespassing signs as you walk the trail--do not go off of it onto private property. Otherwise, enjoy your time on the beautiful trail!
Know Before You Hike
You can swim at the Devil's Bathtub, but please remember to be respectful to the land and do not litter.
Although you cannot camp right at the bathtub, there is primitive camping allowed near the parking lot, as well as where the Devil's Loop meets Straight Fork Ridge.
Are Dogs Welcome?
Dogs are allowed on the Devil's Fork Trail. Like any trail, please pick up after your dog, and do not let them wander.
Things to Bring
This beautiful hike in the backcountry is considered hard, with water crossings and rocky and overgrown areas. Even if you are hiking just the Devil's Bathtub Trail, be sure to wear hiking shoes for your 3-mile hike, and you may want to consider water shoes as well if you plan on taking a swim. The trail is prone to flash flooding, so please be aware if it has recently rained or if rain is predicted.
Are you looking for more things to do Around The Devil's Bathtub? Try nearby attractions like Little Stony Falls Trail, Guest River Gorge, Natural Tunnel State Park, or High Knob Recreation Area.
Have you braved and bathed in The Devil's Bathtub? Share your adventure with us on Wide Open Roads Facebook!