Explore Vacation Trails - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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Awesome hike. Amazing views.
Just a couple of little places on the trail that need to be marked a little better.
The drive to the trail is almost as fun as the hike itself...

Nice trail!

Great hike. But... ouch. Beautiful views... but yowsah. It was tough.

backpacking
1 month ago

Fantastic hike! Not to be underestimated though, the elevation change and distance make this a formidable weekend challenge. That being said, we did it in a weekend (Friday-Sunday) but it was very taxing physically. The views from Mcaffe, Tinker cliffs, and Dragons tooth are great, each one better than the last. I would recommend getting as close to the North mountain trailhead as you can before making camp for the night so you can start it (with plenty of water, there are no water sources until a gas station/river at the end of the mountain) early and have the whole day to walk it. There are a good number of campsites along the ridge, the last one being about 1 mile from the end of the trail (so a little ways into the descent) which is where we camped because we could not make it all the way to the end. After north mountain, there is a much easier hike up to dragons tooth, although the last portion is a scramble. We left our bags on an outcrop and went to dragons tooth and back with only a water bottle and some snacks, highly recommended. The hike from dragons tooth back is very scenic, and features some great mountainous/woodland regions but also highlands and fields. A great hike! Would recommend: starting early on Friday if you want to do it in three days and not be rushed, and being able to carry a days worth of water (for drinking and cooking dinner if you plan to do so) for north mountain.

Had a great time first 3 day backpacking trip was a challenge but it was worth every second of it all!!

hiking
1 month ago

An excellent hike. I left from Massie Gap parking area in Grayson Highlands State Park and it took me about 5 hours round trip. That included some time for detours to scenic spots, snapping photos, and sitting down for a quick lunch.

The summit is surrounded by trees, so there is no view. However, not far away there are some some outstanding scenic overlooks.

The map and some of the posts are a little misleading in that there are three routes to the summit starting at these areas:
1) Grayson Highlands State Park
2) Grindstone Campground Trailhead (this is the route shown on this posting)
3) Elk Garden Trailhead

Fees for parking in the state part are $5 for VA residents and $7 for non-residents. Here is the link to a helpful map for Grayson Highlands Park: http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/document/data/trail-guide-graysonhighlands.pdf

I will also post a pic I took of a poster with information on Mt. Rogers. It has history and shows the three routes.

Excellent trail. Gorgeous views. Challenging, but by no means brutal.

hiking
2 months ago

Worth the hike. The view is something from a lord of the rings movie making it very rewarding from the climb up. The horses are beautiful. It has became a yearly visit from PA.

My self and two of my friends did this trail from north terminus to south. my plan to do it this way was so that i could begin the hike at 0400 and be waiting on top of chimney rock for the sunrise. My god was it worth it. I sat on that rock brewing coffee and enjoying the perfect scenery until 9am.

This was my favorite spot on the entire hike. I will be going back just to spend a weekend here. You must see it.

the trail has countless overlooks, some with beaten paths, others you can just walk west to the ridgeline. plenty of campsites premade around and the trail was pretty well kept even after all of our recent storms.

to the east is private land lines in and out of the hike. so be cautious of hunters/hunting dogs.

THE ONLY WATER SOURCE IS A SPRING AT THE 12MI MARK. this is crucial for correct planning. its very easy to walk by as i did.

from south to north the trail will continue blue blaze onto a fire road (nice well packed black gravel) down and over pipeline clearings, then downhill to campsites where the trail begins into the woods again. It is at THIS point, a grass fire road to the left of the trailhead. walk roughly 30y down that road and the spring is on the left with rocks holding down some chickenwire to prevent leaf n debris from entering it. (It looks like a rectangle stone storm drain with chicken wire ontop)

when i was hiking this i had spent a long time trying to find it and i wanted to make a point to give a very deffinitive location of this "spring" its yeild will depend on rainfall but all 3 of us got 6 litres and it didnt budge. plenty of water for us in october.

in total, this hike is beautiful, quiet, relatively easy, short distance from town, and offers alot more than you will put into it.

I will be going back.

NOTE: North Fork Mountain trail is roughly 24.3 miles long. From One Terminus to the next. One water source at 12mi. And a shuttle service is offered at the north terminus for the 25-30min drive back to where you started.

Gorgeous little area, nice view from the top! Had my blood pumping but was still easy for sure.

hiking
2 months ago

My first Colorado hike, back in August. The whole experience was nothing short of amazing! The views were impeccable, and the journey to the summit was clear, with views for days!

Did this trail as a day hike starting from Rt. 56 and going counterclockwise, saving Mar Har for last.

I consider myself in pretty good physical shape and hoo-boy, did I get my money’s worth. Those with knee issues descending should consider doing Mar Har first (going clockwise from Rt. 56). There a significant evaluation climb and limited descending. Going down was just brutal. My middle aged knees are feeling their oats. Also, this clocked in at 14.3 miles.

If you’re looking for sunny vista views along the AT, make sure you watch the weather and arrive when the weather is best. I did the vista in the morning when it was overcast and then the weather cleared. It was still terrific, but was looking for sunny views.

Overall, this trail is definitely worth the work. Start early and make sure you celebrate appropriately when you’re done.

One of my favorite hikes to date!! Went March of 2017 and it was extremely cold but it was so beautiful. If we ever go back to VA we would definitely do it again.

Got to be in pretty good shape !!! Not a beginners trail!!! Great hike !!!

Beautiful views

Amazing and Beautiful!!! I hike it weekly

backpacking
3 months ago

Just as promised, 3 Ridges delivered on the hardness! Excellent view on night 2, with a crazy night sky.

Gorgeous! but you get what you feel for. Very Rocky and steep up hill climbs. But the climb is worth it. Not a lot water after the water falls or Harper's Creek shelter. PACK LIGHT! carry water and a water filter.

What a beautiful hike

backpacking
3 months ago

Our first overnight backpacking trip did not disappoint. Very challenging carrying over 20lbs backpack. Parked at Reid’s gap and made it to Maupin shelter. Stayed on the AT (not mah-har) and learned we should have filled our water bladders as we did not see any water sources until harpers creek. Took about 5 hours to enjoy the view and take in everything we were learning to get from Maupin to harpers creek. Once at harpers creek shelter refilled our water and took off for mah-har which was very tough. Beautiful waterfall and creeks along the way but too tough to make it back to Maupin. Stayed overnight in a valley next to the creek in one of the few flat spots along the Mah-har. Finished the mah-har the next morning and back to Reid’s gap. Enjoyed the challenge and would do it again for the great views.

hiking
3 months ago

VERY CHALLENGING HIKE! We did it in one day from 8:50am to 5:50pm. Al together we took less than 1hr break. iPhone tracked 14 miles with absolutely no deviation from the track.
It’s definitely not a hiking for beginners. I’m training for a half marathon (one month away) and I was pretty much maxed out at a certain point. This is a very hard hike to do in one day.
It has A LOT of very steep ascent and descent. About 4 summits, so a lot of elevation gain. There is no flat or “road” terrain. It’s either steep up or down. Lots of rock scrambles specially on the Mau-har trail. Mau-har we did about 1 mile per hour. Don’t underestimate. It’s tough specially if you are doing in one day and hit the mau-har already tired!
We did the clockwise route. No water on the first half, and lots on the second. I took a 3L water bladder and didn’t finish it.
The 1.6 miles of AT that leads from parking lot to the “loop” is moderate, which is good to warm up for the hard work out and to cool down at the end of the day.
Even tho starting at mile 3 it’s a hard hike, the mal har trail is the most challenging! It’s also the most beautiful since you see a nice water fall and walk along some creeks.
I only saw people that were camping. We didn’t. As I said we did it all in the same day. But if camping is your thing, that may be the best way to do it.
It was a very fog day (whole day) so we couldn’t see anything from up there. There are 2-3 places that presumably has good views. And there one decent water fall and other smaller creeks. Walk along the water fall for half mile. Overall a nice hike but not for the views. Go if you want to take a challenge

I did this hike over 3 days with my dog. We started at Mcafee knob and hit tinker cliffs that day and spent the night at Lambert’s Meadow Shelter. We got up early and headed out to the Andy Lane trail to the north mountain. I read the reviews and stocked up on water, and found a waterfall about 2 miles into the north mountain trail. The hike up the north mountain was no joke, it is steep and long! We made it across and spent the night at the Boy Scout campground by the dragons Tooth parking lot that night. Got up early and went up to dragons tooth (dog couldn’t do the last 500 yards due to the iron ladder climb) so we headed back down and picked up the AT back to the McAfee knob parking lot. Great hike, not crowded at all, but it is definitely a hard one!

hiking
3 months ago

Great hike! Unfortunately very foggy yesterday at the top but still an excellent trail. Well maintained and not too difficult. Dog loved it, he’s still asleep. Went up the right side and down the other. Based on my experience, it would be a slightly easier hike going up the left side. Definitely going to do this one again.

limited on time I got dropped off at dragons tooth and hiked to McAfee knob parking lot for 10 miles. started the next morning at that parking lot and hiked about 13 -14 miles to andy Layne trailhead. good hike if someone can drive you around. got to hit all three icons. skipped north mountain.

hiking
3 months ago

This is the second time we have done this hike and it is amazing. A year and a half ago there was still much burn evidence. Today it was much recovered. We hike it clockwise and find that to be best and the easiest part is at the end. The woods are just beautiful, having a mystical quality. The summit is about midway through the hike. Last time we were rewarded with the most stunning views we have seen on a hike. Today, the summit was in a cloud and we could see no views. Even so, it was a perfect day for a hike and all the rain this year added waterfalls and rushing water to the creek toward the end. Last time we took our dog and that was great, too.

hiking
3 months ago

A perfect hike and the climb is well worth the views. I started in the morning on a Saturday and by the time I made my way down (near noon) the trail was much busier, so if you’re looking for less people on the trail, go in the morning. The road leading to the trail is a pretty well maintained dirt road, my small Toyota Yaris was able to make it driving slow. The incline is good, a nice workout. Towards the top the trail gets a little confusing and seems to branch off into different directions but they all lead to the top. Great hike and I will definitely do this one again in the future!

Loved this hike! Went up the Halfway House Trail to Long Trail then down Sunset Ridge. Long Trail was along the ridge so the views were incredible. The hike wasn't that hard. It was perfect fall hiking weather (~55 degrees) and it was pretty crowded at the top. The views from the top were incredible!!!

hiking
3 months ago

A seemingly normal hike but ended up with incredible views once you are along the ridge! A fairly steady incline but nothing that is not doable. Once you get to the top of the ridge, you can go right or left depending on your mood. We went right and had really great views of rock formations as well as mountains for miles(blue sky day with no clouds). Did not have enough time to check out the other side but I presume it gives a better look at Mt. Holy Cross. Easily one of the better hikes if you just want a short moderate trail.

Beautiful hike very scenic at every turn, especially beautiful wildflowers in the spring.

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