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I like this hike. It’s less than two hours drive from Richmond. If you’re a strong hiker you can do it in a day (7-9 hours), it has vistas, climbs, streams, waterfalls, rock scrambles, App Trail hikers to say hi to, a little bit of everything. And then at the end you can drive an AT through hiker to down to Devil’s Backbone at the base of the hill in exchange for him buying you a beer :)

I would call it difficult not moderate though.

2 days ago

Great trail to hike! Especially in the morning and it was a quick one too considering how I did this one right before my friend’s wedding in the evening. Took me about 5 hours to and back. The hike to the top consists of about 1.7 miles of uphill climb followed by 0.7 mile of climbing over rocks. Word of caution, there is no cell reception until you get to the top, so it’s advisable to hike with someone for safety.

We took the AT to the overlook and then the Fire Road back down (as shown on the map.)
My friend was carrying 45-50lbs and I had 30-35lbs. This hike was brutal and we hike almost every weekend.
We finished the hike in less than five hours - but expect to take some breaks and allow plenty of time to enjoy the overlook! Also, everyone seems to congregate at the first part of the overlook. If you keep going, it’s much quieter and the views are spectacular!
We are training so we needed the brutal workout - but otherwise - take the Fire Road. There’s not much you’ll miss on the AT other than stone/wood/rock steps, steep inclines and descents, and sore calves that will stay with you for days. The views on the way are nothing short of amazing and the view from the top definitely makes it worth it!!!

5 days ago

This is a great hike, with fantastic views on the second ridge. But not sure why this is marked as moderate—unless you break it into two days. For one day, it is difficult

Super fun hike! Several stream crossings and lots of rock scrambling towards the top. A bit tricky towards the dragon tooth but that's what makes it fun. Took us about 2:30 round trip.

Views completely worth the work! The uphills on the way back were just cruel. Followed it up with a trip to Deschutes.

8 days ago

One of my favorite trails in the area. Gorgeous little swimming hole. Splendid views towards the end (or beginning depending on which way you hike). Could spend all day by the water on this hike on a hot summer day. Water is definitely a bit nipply tho.

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.

We took the AT to the knob and the fire road on the way back. We started early, so there was plenty of parking and few people on the trail. By the time we made our way back, it was significantly busier. This is a tough trek and absolutely worth it.

Awesome well-maintained 8 mile RT, ~1700 ft. elevation gain, lots of ups with some downs, you hike from the Andy Layne parking area through a couple of ups and downs and across a couple of streams through 3 miles of the cement company land - nice of them to donate - and then you reach the AT and go up about another mile to the top of Tinker Cliffs. Thanks to the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club for maintaining this great trail. Awesome views, lots of rock outcroppings to have lunch and chill. I had a great day on a Friday and suspect it gets crowded on weekends due to its proximity to Roanoke, VA. Highly recommend this hike.

My first visit but definitely not my last. We took the fire road to McAfee Knob. It was a lot easier I understand. My girlfriend, who has MS, completed this hike. Took us about 6 hours 11 minutes with stops for picture taking. I also took my dogs, a shihpoo & a boxer.

16 days ago

very uphill! fun if you love climbing rocks- i mean LOVE climbing rocks. saw many people with dogs!

Beautiful vistas - especially the very first after hiking over Bee Mountain. Just a bit more difficult than moderate with some rocky and steep areas. We hiked with a pup and it was tough on her paws. Also longer than 12 miles total (closer to 15). Made it an overnight backpacking trip and camped at Harper’s Creek. Harper’s creek was flowing (March 31/April1 weekend) with quite a few other backpackers camping at the site. Good times.

Unbelievably funnnnn trail with the rock scramble! We were so nervous to try it out but sooooooo thankful we didn’t chicken out! Best hike everrr! It’s an absolute full body workout once you get to the scramble! You need good shoes, hands free and plenty of water. And you gotta get back down the same way so be ready for that!! Best day ever!! You gotta do this hike!!

Awesome trail! It took us about 3 hours to complete with our dog. The views once you get to the top are gorgeous. A little chilly/windy at the top. We wish we would have taken more than just a snack and spent more time at the top enjoying the views.

Oustanding trail! Did the loop clockwise in 2 days so we could have Chimney Rock to look forward to at the end. Multiple water crossing that will even get experinced hikers boots wet, bring extra socks :)

17 days ago

A nice trail in and a great summit & view. The problem is that this peak was busier than last weekend's amusement park visit. Use the boy scout trail and the AT for a more technical, less traveled, and better hike. Would visit again when college kids are in class or not in session.

This is one of the easier trails we have done. The views at the top are absolutely stunning. Lots of people on the trail. There’s a road you can take the majority of the way out for an even easier hike. Anyone can do this trail.

Great hike with some challenging portions. Took two dogs with us to the Cliffs. Amazing views.

Well maintained trail and challenging hike but not strenuous. I thought it would be crowded based on the reviews. We went on Easter Sunday, and it wasn’t crowded at all!

Great views. You can pretty much walk on the ledge for 180 degrees around the top! Can't wait to camp here in Summer.

Trail very muddy after recent rain/snow. Be prepared if it's recently been wet.

View from the top is worth every step. for those who want the views with a bit easier walk, the fire road offers a nice alternative.

20 days ago

After hiking in from Pickles Branch Shelter up to the summit and then having to climb down this trail was a real kicker. Not for sissies or old guys like me. Hiked this with a 40 lb pack down ladders, narrow ledges hugging the rocks and tight spaces. Would discourage anyone from doing this if the rocks were wet. The short hike off the trail down to Dragon’s Tooth offers some great views of the rock formations. Mother Nature at her finest.

Amazing views at the top with plenty of room to explore. Well marked trail with a few steep areas that are easily accomplished

Very cool hike. In my top favs. Like the fact that u cross thru someone’s cow pasture along the trail. Cool creek crossing and cows!!

So far my most favorite hike!! Views are worth it!!

21 days ago

Loved this hike!! Loved the steep terrain and rock climbing/walking!! Worth doing again!!

Perfect hike! So fun and easy.

1 month ago

Did this on a sunny mid-March Sunday, with temperatures in the morning just above freezing and headed into the 60s by afternoon. The trail is strenuous -- and we did have to navigate some slick ice and snow on western side of the slope (in the winter shade). The clockwise loop includes some very steep ascents both early and late in the trail, but the views are very rewarding. The waterfalls on Mau-Har Trail are reminiscent of a mellower version of White Oak canyon -- but without the crowds. It's doable in a day if you're fit and hit the trail early, but you'll want lots of water and snacks. (We were on the trail for about 8 hours with breaks).

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