Belfast Trail (Forest Trail #9)

Area Status: Open

The Belfast Trail begins after crossing the foot bridge over East Fork Elk Creek.  A short distance ahead the trail passes stone pillars, announcing Camp Powhatan, a former Boy Scout camp, with only building foundations remaining.  Following the ascending trail, the hiker passes alongside Belfast Creek into the James River Face Wilderness, and will come to a large rock slide with some scenic views of the valley below.  The large scenic outcrop of boulders is known as the Devil's Marbleyard.  Passing the rock slide, the trail continues to climb until it intersects the Gunter Ridge Trail.

Trail Open To:

Trail Hiking

At a Glance

Fees: No fee.
Open Season: Open year round
Restrictions: Per Forest Supervisor's Order the following is prohibited on the Belfast Trail:  possessing or using a saddle, pack or draft animal.  Because this trail is in the James River Face Wilderness, group size is limited to no more than 10 people.
  • Trail is open to:  Hiking
  • Trail is closed to all motorized vehicles.
Closest Towns: Buena Vista, VA - ROCKBRIDGE COUNTY
Water: No drinking water available. All water taken from natural sources should be purified before use.
Restroom: None
Operated By: Glenwood & Pedlar Ranger Districts: (540) 291-2188
Information Center: Trail is located on National Geographic/Trails Illustrated Map #789.  It is recommended that all trail users carry a reliable map at all times.  Maps may be purchased at some local District Ranger Stations, at outdoor retail locations or by visiting the National Geographic’s Trails Illustrated website.

General Information


Belfast Trailhead:  From US 130E, turn south onto State Route 759 (Arnold's Valley Road) and continue approximately 3.0 miles until the road forks three ways at the Glenwood Church.  Take the left fork onto VA 781 (Petites Gap Road), and continue approximately 1.0 mile to the parking area on the left.  Parking is available for approximately five compact cars.  There is more room for parking a short distance along the road to the left.

General Notes:
  • Trail Length:  2.3 miles
  • Blazes:  None
  • Trail Difficulty:  Moderate to Difficult
  • Connecting Trails:  FT #8 -Gunter Ridge Trail
  • Elevation:  Beginning at an elevation of 1,000 feet as you cross Elk Creek at the parking area on VA 781 and climbing to 2,517 at the intersection with FT #8 (Gunter Ridge Trail).
  • Trail Access Points (Approximate LAT/LONG):
  • Trail Etiquette:  Trail etiquette for multiple use trails calls for horses to have the right-of-way.  Hikers should yield to horses.  Bicyclists should yield to horses and hikers.  Horse riders are responsible for the control of their horse at all times.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Day Hiking

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Area/Length : 
2.3 miles

  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
1000 feet - 2517 feet