Fortune’s Cove Preserve is nestled in the midst of 29,000 acres of Nelson County. The actual preserve is 755 acres. The land was donated to the people by Jane Heyward, who wanted it preserved and enjoyed by everyone. In 2002, a 5.5 mile hiking trail was completed and is part of the Conservancy’s Piedmont Program. The program aims to protect and restore the natural habitat of central and northern Virginia.
The 5.5 mile loop trail steadily reaches a 1,500 ft. elevation at its highest spot. It takes approximately 6 hours to complete the entire trail. There is a map of the trail located at a kiosk at the beginning. You will want to be in relatively good shape if you plan to complete the entire trail.
Fortune’s Cove Preserve is not like most other trails due to its unique environmental diversity. The preserve is located in the middle of Virginia’s Piedmont and Blue Ridge area. A unique collection of plant life flourishes where these two ecosystems meet. Actually, there are fewer than 20 such rare plant ecosystems worldwide, making the need to protect and preserve the area all the more important.
Some of the amazing plant life you can enjoy in Fortune’s Cove Preserve are hard to find lichen and mosses. There are also specimens of prairie grass and mountain laurel. Fringe tree, a sweet smelling shrub, and wild azaleas also grow with abundance in Fortune’s Cove Preserve.
This unique and visually stunning area is also the perfect place for wildlife to prosper. It is home to black bears, white tail deer, bobcats, raccoons, and turtles. Many bird species can also be seen in the preserve. Hawk, turkey and quail are abundant, as are songbirds.
Fortune’s Cove Preserve is open to visitors and nature enthusiasts year round from dawn to dusk. However, there are some restrictions you need to know ahead of time. There is no camping, fishing, trapping or hunting allowed in the preserve. There is also no biking, motorized travel, or horseback riding allowed either. Pets are not permitted in Fortune’s Cove Preserve.