Explore the most popular camping trails in Jefferson National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Rented a bike and rode 17 miles of the trail downhill to Damascus from White Top. Not a bad way to spend a few hours on a Saturday afternoon. Great family outing if you have younger kids. Scenic views along the river were amazing in places.

rough but awesome

This a 4⭐️ for uniqueness. This isn’t for the faint of heart. Definitely a challenge. This is the first rating of Difficult that was on the mark. If you do any climbing you’ll love it. I don’t so it definitely had me working for that elevation on the boulders. Saw so people making short work of it though. The pictures do NOT do justice to the view of the boulder yard rising up in front of you. Pretty wild spot.

beautiful hike and challenging

This is a great hike for people who want to see wildlife. I started off early morning around 8 and saw 4 deer, a cat, and a black bear with a cub. Be sure to bring protection and know what to do in a bear encounter! I did neither and got pretty shaken up. Didn’t even notice how difficult it was after that.

The views were amazing and I think this hike is definitely worth the trip! Not only were the overlooks pretty but the hike itself was really pretty as well.

backpacking
7 days ago

Enter through Grayson Highlands (Wilburn Ridge), first day of hike. No signs posted, but passed a few campers Approx 1 mile before first shelter. Strongly recommending camping in Wilburn ridge, if willing to add the extra mile to day 2 (shelter doesn’t have 360 views/giant rock outcroppings). Day 2 Took AT SOBO around Mt Rogers. At head of Lewis Fork Trail, took an immediate right onto Crest & started off of All Trails map supplied, cutting off a substantial distance to make up for lost time. ~1600ft elevation gain in ~1/1.5 miles. Highly recommend for those not afraid of taking on an incredibly hard section with dense/lush mossy rainforest. At end & interection with Pine Mt trail, came into a giant blueberry grove, run in with a bear as a bonus. Jumped back on AT. Camped night 2 just before Wise shelter, mid-night bobcat screams to wake up everyone in camp were an additional thrill. Day 3 was incredibly quick (mostly downhill, only hiked about 2 hrs). Would recommend spending more time hiking/camping in the first half of the hike (best views, explorative possibilities, and ponies!), and powering through the last portion in a day.

Beautiful trail. Changing landscapes, rhododendron meadows, ponies, cattle. Some up and down challenging climbs, but nothing too technical.

Fun trail the whole way up. Will have to cross the river and depending on water levels might be good to wear chacos. Can come back on the AT but it adds 0.5 miles.

mountain biking
25 days ago

I’m completely new to mountain biking. Since we were camping 10 minutes away from here, and this was only going to be my second run, I figured I’d give it a shot. Kind of boring, definitely more for hiking. When I asked the people at the pay station about the trails and MTB’ing....even they seemed to think this location was definitely not meant for mountain biking.

Great day for a hike. Left early due to chance of thunder storms but got lucky. I think I like this route better than from Grayson Highland since you're hiking through the forest. Several people I met on the trail asked about the views and you just have to realize it's not about the View. As always Mt. Rogers is just different and unique. Great smell in the cedar forest. Actual distance is closer to 9 miles

We had hiked McAfee and many other trails in Virginia and finally had a moment to tackle Dragons Tooth. On a weekday, plenty of parking and the trail was in great condition. The last .5 Miles was a challenging scramble but well worth the effort.

First time hiking this trail after a week of rain, and gotta saw it was wet, sweaty, challenging, long but totally worth it. I took my shmedium size dog (25lbs) with myself and a friend. If I didn’t have a friend with me to help scale those rocks I wouldn’t have gone to the top. It’s worth the 3 hour hike careful coming down. Plenty of dogs on the trail but if you do take a dog bring a buddy to help!

Great trail for all skill levels.

Trail was extremely rocky, harsh on the ankles. Also it seems to be more of a dirt biking trail now. Not much fun to hike, will stick to the AT in this area.

hiking
1 month ago

My 13, 10 yr old and I did this hike and it was a lot of fun! The rock scramble at the end was just challenging enough to make it an adventure. I did see a lot of people with dogs, but I'm glad I didn't bring ours. You definitely need 2 hands free to safely climb the rocks, both up and down.

I absolutely loved this trail. I stumbled on it while vacationing in the area just below the Carolina border. I purposely chose it because of the name and the hard rating. It did not disappoint!

If you're in the area I highly recommended it. It's worth the drive and the views are incredible. It's definitely a challenge so gauge whether or not you're up for the elevations and distance.

I recommend good hiking boots and 2 to 3 L of water depending on the heat.

backpacking
1 month ago

Started our AT section hike here at Dragons Tooth trailhead. Nice little scramble up to the Tooth. The terrain was very rocky in sections (use trekking poles) and offered a little bouldering too. View was awesome at the top. One of my favs.

Amazing hike! It took us 3 hours exactly for round trip. Much more climbing than anticipated, but so fun!

Beautiful views and a great workout.

My favorite hike. It's a nice hike up but then you hit the rocks you have to climb and it just makes it so much better. Though it was pretty crowed. We didn't have a lot of options to rest and look at the view with everyone else in the way.

This is a pretty hard trike. Some points it feels like your going straight up. It has good views but I've seen better.

The hike starts out with a steep climb up Gateway trail. I took the connecting trail to Snake Root trail (and saw a snake!) then poverty creek horse trail to Jacobs ladder, another steep climb. Fantastic workout and an absolutely beautiful trail system. No dramatic overlooks but lush plant life, some wildlife, and pretty creek crossings along the way. I set up my hammock for a break at the base of Jacobs Ladder. I’m a fairly consistent weekend hiker ( not a runner) and it took me 4 hours and 18 minutes including my break. Had my chihuahua with me, too.

hiking
1 month ago

My first time hiking this trail, I was not disappointed. I enjoy hikes where I can push myself. Beautiful spring morning, as usual I hike mornings to beat the crowd. I saw some wild flowers, a Bellwort, another first. Great views from the top, ate lunch and rested a bit before heading back down. Only 45 minutes from Blacksburg, I will go again soon.

Great trail run to work on elevation training! Can be a challenging run at times. Views from the top are pretty nice. Continue on to Jacobs latter trail and get onto poverty creek to extend your run/hike.

A fun hike. I don't think I'd classify as "Hard" but there's a bit of rock hopping. It does have a pretty unique summit. Fun for pretty much the whole fam. Littles may need to be carried for 1/3 or more of the hike.

hiking
2 months 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.

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.

hiking
2 months ago

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

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!!

hiking
2 months 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.

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