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Managed to finish the loop in 2 days, most of the trail is really easy going. there are camp sites all through out the trail and a great water source before north mountain. I brought extra from reading other peoples reviews but had plenty left when we got back on the AT. there are probably half a dozen camp sites on the north mountain trail and honestly I enjoyed that section more than the AT. Saw no one else on that section of trail and you are just walking this beautiful ridge for miles. wouldn't do the whole thing again but it was a fun over nighter.

Fantastic trail for the area. I'd recommend hiking as much of the new hope creek trail down by the water as possible, going all the way to erwin road following the creek.

Do note, though, the .8 section of trail between concrete bridge and wooden bridge passes across an incredibly steep and rocky hill. This hill section is unmarked and I would not try it without going down on all fours and it's pretty hairy even then..

backpacking
2 months ago

Did this in three days! Lots of rain, but still got lots of great views. Definitely hard on the joints but worth it!

Great trails, lots of nice variety along the AT. Lots of places to fill up with water on the AT.

Best hiking in Virginia in my opinion, Dragons tooth was exceptional and extremely rewarding upon reaching the summit. I did this hike as a warm up to prepare for a much longer backpacking trip and i'm glad I did because I learned a lot about my gear and my self. Mental toughness is definitely a factor on this hike and demands focus and determination since there is a 15 mile stretch without water. Great hike to do if you are on the fence about thru-hiking the AT, i'm ready for it now.

Nice little 2 mile trail. It initially goes over a bridge with a pretty lake and the rest is wooded. Plenty of deer and there’s some civil war history to be seen.

on The Pine Barrens

hiking
3 months ago

A very relaxing hike that shows the death and rebirth of a forest after a forest fire. It is amazing seeing black, charred bark on the pine trees with new bright green shoot sprouting. The contrast is striking and it is a humbling observation understanding the power and nature cycle of a forest fire.

hiking
4 months ago

Nice hike through civil war history. The earthworks are amazing to see and learning about the history is awe inspiring. Great views of the reservoir.

We did this loop last week with 5 of us (2 teenagers, 1 in shape 70 year old, and 2 40 somethings).. Day 1: we started at the dragon's tooth parking lot at 1:00 and hiked to the John Springs Shelter. Day 2: we hiked from John Springs Shelter to McAfee's Knob, then Tinker Cliffs and then down to Andy Lane Trail to the Catawba Valley trail. We camped night 2 pretty close to Catawba Valley trail head - across the street from the parking lot - camping is not allowed on the Andy Spring trail, but is allowed on the Catawba Valley Trail and on North Mountain. wish we had known there was a significant water source about 1/2 mile from the Catawba Valley trail head on your way up to North Mountain. We hiked the Catawba Valley Trail and the entire North Mountain in one day. we passed our car at the dragon's tooth parking lot and camped at the boy scout camp on the boy scout connector trail on day 3 (mainly because it has a water source). Day 4 we put our packs in the car and hiked the dragon's tooth loop. We'd so the same again except start earlier in the day on day one to make it to either Catawba Shelter or Campbell Shelter.

hiking
4 months ago

Nice long trail in the wooded Pine Barrens at Basto Village area...I started the trail heading west through the village and up the left side of the lake which is yellow orange blazed and turns to yellow blazing about 2 miles into the trail we came to a water crossing with a sign that said trail closed seek alternate route...if you follow the orange blazes along the stream you’ll see the steam gets smaller and we found a downed tree to cross...we followed the yellow trail up through the designated camping sites ( which has a well water pump) cut across the nature trail blazed green which could be hard to see if not paying attention....followed the green blazed to pink which turns you south heading back to Batsto village we followed pink a couple miles to the lake side trail blazed white which gives u good over looks of the lake and will take you back into batsto village

backpacking
5 months ago

Amazing trail. Was windy and a little snowed in after mcafees onto tinkers (some 3 foot snow drifts). But 100% worth the effort. Did the hike in 4 days 3 nights to take our time as a group of 3.

Great moderate to hard hike that is easy to fit into a slow Saturday. Over half the trail meanders with the creek and it can get very rocky at times.

If you are bringing a dog make sure they are very well trained on the leash. There are plenty of great spots along the creek to climb around.

easy and very scenic trail. You can walk that at a leisurely pace. Lots of wildflowers after the rains and many birds.

Did from Dragons Tooth parking lot to the top of Dragons Tooth then over to McAfee’s Knob then to Tinker Cliffs and down the Andy Layne Trail one day 24.7 miles 10 hours.Don’t recommend it but would I do it again probably but not solo lol.

backpacking
8 months ago

Beautiful views and great memories made on this strenuous 2.5 day/2 night trip. Started in Mcafees parking lot at 4 pm Friday and hiked up to the pig farm camping area to camp. Hiked .5 miles back to mcafees knob for sunrise then next morning and then hiked to Tinker cliffs by 11 and after a break made it to the parking lot by 1:30 pm via the Andy Layne Trail. Hiked up the Cawtaba Valley Trail to the north mountain trail, no water for the rest of Saturday and early Sunday so stock up! Camped near the Turkey trail intersection and then hiked the rest of north mountain by 10 am on Sunday after a 6 am start. Hiked dragons tooth and were heading back to Mcafees on the AT by 1:50pm Sunday. Got back to the Mcafees parking lot at 5:45 pm Sunday. Awesome hike but be prepared for a tough hike if you plan on finishing in a weekend!

I completed the VA Triple Crown this past weekend and it was AMAZING! VA is beautiful!

Nice hike. Pretty at times.

great hike. a friend and I did out and back to tinkers from Mcafees knob lot. we ran out of water, but there was one campsite near Mcafees to fill up (it's a stream with an old rubber hose). the out and back was almost 18.5 miles, did the Mcafees knob hike back in the dark which was fine.
we also did Mcafees knob to the dragons tooth, we missed the loop and hiked out off the AT south parking lot 4 miles later, then the 9.5 miles back to the lot, which sucked.
if you need gear go to Roanoke, the sales clerk at Walkabout Outfitters hiked the loop in a single day and is super helpful.

backpacking
11 months ago

Did it in a two-day weekend.
Day 1
I started from Dragon's Tooth Parking Lot at 7:30 with a daypack. Hit the summit while seeing a few people's tents along the trail. It was a climb but not very long, so I consider it moderately-difficult. At about 9am started defending, meeting a lot of people climbing up. Ha: a little rest at my car and picked my 50L backpack.
It was a boring hike to McAfee Knob Parking Lot. Lots of people at parking lot at noon. It was a hard climb with the backpack. Finally made it at about 3:30. Thank god there were water source near Campbell shelter clearly marked.
Hiked to Tinker's Cliff when sun is falling. Just caught the sunset at the cliff. Hiked another 40min to Lambert Meadow campsite in the dark. The campsite is about 0.2 miles south of the shelter with a bear box and water source.
Day 2
Started at 8am and arrived at my car at 7pm. After Andy Lane Trail, there is a 2 mile climb where you can find water. But to the top of North Mountain Trail, I met no one and no water. In the 6 hour hike on the ridge, I drank about 2L. I carried a bear ring hoping bears will stay away.

this trail was unknown to us until recently. it appear to have been designed as a parcourse back in the day. not used much now except the parts that would give access to the W&M campus. The part of the trail we used was lovely as it ran around the lake. It was an easy hike. The biggest challenge will be parking. Most access seems to be from campus where there is no public parking. We parked illegal on a Sunday afternoon with no school in session. nice hike.

backpacking
Friday, August 11, 2017

Great hike! Did it in 2 full days. Lots of uphill, lots of sights, and lots of bears!

backpacking
Saturday, July 22, 2017

July 16 – July 20, 2017

Description:
The way we ended up doing the trek work out very well, especially for a couple of old men not in the best of shape. We have a good deal of trail experience and have done several multiple day hikes; however, looking back on it this was a pretty advanced course to tackle. Especially since this was our first longer that 2-3 days. The original plan was to do this in 3.5 days but we quickly realized that wasn’t going to happen. We doing it over 5 days with a half day the first and last days which really helped considering we had a 3+ hour drive back home. If we lived closer to the trail, we could have done it in 4 days. We started and ended the trek at the McAfee Knob parking area which was best for us; if we had started at Dragon’s Tooth we may not have completed it because DT is pretty overwhelming. Big Tip: when tackling Dragon’s Tooth stash your pack somewhere at the DT Trail & AT intersection that way you don’t have to lug those things up and down Dragon’s Tooth. We probably wouldn’t have thought of doing that on Day 1 but by Day 4 that was an obvious choice. Also we stashed water at the Dragon’s Tooth Parking Area because we weren’t sure what the water situation would be like. As it turns out there’s a big creek there that I’m sure is only dry in the most extreme conditions, if ever. This loop definitely lives up to its difficult rating and should not be taken lightly. Water was a major concern as well as the difficult terrain, especially on the back half of the loop.

Day 1 (McAfee Knob):
After driving 3+ hours we hit the trail around 1330. We hiked to the Campbell Shelter which is just past McAfee Knob. McAfee Knob was spectacular and a great way to start the trek. The hike itself was fairly strenuous as you’ve got a long vertical climb to get to the knob. There was little water along the way. Campbell Shelter had water but the spring was at a trickle. Some ingenious thru-hikers (thanks Enoch of the Mountains, and Mountain Nav) set up a piping system so that the water was easier to access. Slept great as we were tired from the hike and our new hammocks were very comfortable. Lots of people and dogs on the trail but there were only a few of us at the shelter.

Day 2 (Tinker Cliffs):
Our first full day on the loop. The plan was to go 11.3 miles but we only made 8.2 miles. We were pretty well beat up and dindn.t have it in use to do the Catawba Valley Trail. The dog was also showing signs of fatigue. He’s only 2-1/2 and still bull of every and doesn’t know how to pace himself, so he probably walked and ran at least twice the distance we had so far. Tinker Cliffs were awesome. We got within about 10 yards of a doe before she was spooked and ran off. One of the coolest things about the cliffs is that the AT actually goes along the edge of the cliffs. The topos are a little misleading, even though you’re on a ridgeline to Tinker Cliffs there are still a lot of up and downs. Plus, the downhill from Tinker Cliffs was brutal, I’d rather go uphill than downhill.

Day 3 (North Mountain):
This was our best day on the loop mileage-wise. We were able to cover 11 miles and only stopped because we were coming down from the ridgeline into the valley and we were concerned about the lack of good camping spots. As it turned out this was a pretty good decision since the next good camping area was at the intersection of Dragon’s Tooth Trail and the AT. The Catawba Valley Trail leading up to the North Mountain Trail was defiantly very difficult. The North Mountain Trail was a nice hike but also had lots of up and downs. Saw a Timber Rattlesnake.

Day 4 (Dragon’s Tooth):
Wow. Dragon’s Tooth was tough, and a spectacular view. There were some pretty awesome rock scrambles, especially near the top. They were difficult for the dog to negotiate and had to assist him a few times but he made it. Coming down was a challenge and there were lots of ups and downs as we continued north on the AT and several rock obstacles to overcome. We were pretty tired after Dragon’s Tooth and the hike out. Saw a black bear as we were hiking out. We ended up camping at the first good water source next to a creek after hiking about 7 miles. I was so glad we decided to stash our packs at the top of Dragon’s Tooth Trail before continuing on to Dragon’s Tooth.

Day 5 (Hike Out):
Not a bad hike out for the final leg. A lot of softer terrain (no rocks) which was very nice for the dog as his paws were very tender at this point. Next time I do anything this adventurous I’ll have booties for him. Lots of ups and downs as we were on ridgelines most of the way; however, there was on long tough vertical climb at the end. Pizza time and a 3-hour drive back home.

hiking
Thursday, July 20, 2017

easy walk with kids.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Just got home from spending the weekend enjoying the views from this awesome hike. It's a hike that all hikers should do.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Amazing hike! Incredible views all three days. Wear good shoes and pack plenty of snacks and water! Did this with my dog who loved it.

fishing
Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Some parts of the marked trail are a scramble over rocks or large fallen trees. There are alternate routes around most of these. A few areas of the marked trail are well overgrown, having been superseded by more expedient alternate routes. It's a quiet, low-traffic treat.

backpacking
Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Great trail but do not underestimate the difficulty, especially during the heat of the Summer. Recommend start at Dragons Tooth. Not as crowded and you can stash supplies and water at your vehicle after you come down from North Mountain ridge. You will need them.

trail running
Thursday, June 29, 2017

Well-maintained, peaceful, good trails for running, wildlife, nice views and light

hiking
Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Great challenging trail. It poured the days I was walking

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