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Three Ridges Loop via Appalachian Trail and Mau-Har Trail

hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(125)
George Washington National Forest - Lee District

Three Ridges Loop via Appalachian Trail and Mau-Har Trail is a 12.8 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Tyro, Virginia that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length 12.8 mi Elevation gain 4,087 ft Route type Loop

Dog friendly

Backpacking

Camping

Hiking

Nature trips

Bird watching

Forest

River

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Rocky

Scramble

Waypoints (0)
Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (125)
Photos (389)
Recordings (75)
Completed (290)
Annie Jarvis
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jul 06 2020
Hiking

This was my first over night backpacking trip and it was amazing!! I went on A Sunday and hiked 3 or 4 miles to harpers creek shelter where I stayed the night with a very nice and friendly thru hiker who gave me lots of good info. I got up early and went for the rest of the loop and about 3 hours in I saw a BLACK BEAR. Very humbling experience, I recommend keeping an eye and an ear on your surroundings but that’s nothing new. Beautiful river views but not so many good Mountain views.

Lindsey Dye
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Jun 23 2020
HikingRockyScramble

Wow. That just about sums up the views from this trail! This was my first overnight backpacking trip and it was an absolute blast! It’s definitely a tough trail, so make sure you’re fully prepared to tackle this one. Definitely some slick spots, although rain definitely contributed to it. The trail is well marked and maintained. We hiked it counterclockwise and I highly recommend doing this, as the hike out is much easier and you get the hard parts done when you’re still fresh.

Lisa Ghidotti
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jun 21 2020
Rocky

I loved hiking the Three Ridges Loop today! I parked at the Route 56 lot and did the entire loop (lollipop) in 6.5 hours. My GPS calculated it from the parking lot as just over 14 miles. The trail was gorgeous...but tough, technical, and the rocks were slippery. The fog lifted enough to have one nice overlook view on the way back down. I saw a black bear scampering away, and picked up a hunting dog hiker buddy for the last 5 miles. I will definitely do this again soon!

zach l.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarThu Jun 18 2020
Hiking

This is a tough hike, if done in one day. Started about 0800, took about 7.5 hours. Not many views, mostly shaded. Hiked counterclockwise. Trails are well marked, but don’t know if I’d do this hike again.

Nicole Nelson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jun 15 2020
HikingRocky

Great trail- We planned to make this a two night three day trip but ended up doing only one night because of rain. We ended up hiking the last 4 miles of this loop soaked but honestly the forest & waterfalls are even more beautiful in the rain so we couldn’t complain. A lot of AT hikers say that this is one of the spots they love and come back to. Very challenging but rewarding. Thought it was funny when we got to the first ridge and looked up at the mountain ahead and said there’s no way we’re climbing that... then proceeded up the next ridge. Plenty of water too!

Demetre Flores
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat May 30 2020
Backpacking

Trails were a little crowded, but the weather was great.

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Hayley Christine
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat May 30 2020
Backpacking

A Review for the slow and steady hikers like me! This is doable, challenging and rewarding. I recommend hiking it counter clockwise from either Reeds Gap or Tye River. Only because I really didn't want to hike up Mau-Har trail, cause its a bit technical. And there's a terrible 1 mile up (counter clockwise), but push through it! I'm a 1mph gal! 35lb pack weight with water. USE HIKING POLES. I live in Hampton Roads, so we drove out Saturday afternoon. Arrived at Tye River Parking around 1530, crossed the foot bridge, headed to the AT intersection and headed towards Harpers Creek Shelter. Hammock camping - woke up to the rushing of the creek and birds chirping. Wonderful. Took our time and hit the trail about 9am. Hiked up and up and up! The views are spectacular and the Peak is magical. Hiked back down and camped at Maupin Field Shelter, arrived around 1730. The next morning we met a NOBO called MUSIC MAN and he played us a song! Gave him some extra food and chocolates! We departed around 0900 down Mau-Har trail. The falls are beautiful. Then back towards Tye River, arrived at the car around 1330 on Monday. I'm so glad we didn't rush the trip. Put our feet in at the river and drank some celebratory whiskey. ENJOY IT!

David Whitehurst
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMon May 25 2020
Hiking

Foggy and on the way back drizzly. Not a hard hike, though you can roll an ankle easily so running is only possible for just a few small sections.but I only got to the second ridge, as fog kept getting thicker, visibility even on trails under 30m in some areas so I returned back on clockwise direction back to car. I was wanting to do the Priest but fog made that idea pointless.

Mae Plachetka
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue May 12 2020
Hiking

This is a beautiful hike, but just wanted to put out there that we left from Crabtree Falls Hwy and when finished, our GPS clocked the loop at 15 miles. It was a challenging hike and took all day, but the views from the top and waterfalls on the way back down made it worth it. If day hiking, make sure you bring plenty of water and start early.

Anthony Frischling
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Sep 21 2019
Running

One day, 3 loops. 41 miles, 12,500ft VA I would strongly recommend mountain runners and hikers training for elevation to give this challenge a shot. Leave in darkness, return in darkness - used my car at the trailhead as a base camp. This was the only way doing this challenge was feasible for me, and I still ran out of water on the third loop. The route is technical, so from the start, watch your foot placement. Plenty of biting ankle-breakers on this trail, both in ascent and descent. Some good spots for running, esp. downhill (maximize these opportunities). Have some familiarity with the trail for this challenge, because speed is crucial. This was my first time on this trail, so my first loop was slow. Will return soon to try for four.

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Scott Heffron
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Sep 07 2019
Hiking

Wooh. All up hill if you go counterclockwise. Ran out of daylight so stopped after 6 miles. Didn’t have enough time on Sunday AM to complete loop (3?hour drive home) so I retraced my steps and came back down the AT south. Tough hike. Not too well trafficked in September.

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Baylen McCarthy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Sep 02 2019
HikingRockyScramble
Scott Holmes
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarTue Aug 20 2019
Hiking

Overall great trail. Definitely diffcult. Hardest trail I’ve done up to this point, but in terms of views there are only a few and none at the actual peak. Most of the views are blocked by trees even though you can tell there is something beautiful behind it. So be prepared to be happy with just beautiful forest views and general nature with 2 or 3 real viewpoints over the entire loop. Its very tiring especially with a backpack so pack as light as you can and there aren’t any really hard scrambles, just some really steep hills. Lastly, if you plan on getting water from rivers and such around the trail, the ONLY part of thisbloop with a river following it is the Mau Har portion of it. So if you go counterclockwise, do not expect a water source until around 7-8 miles in. I hope this helps knowing all this when you go in as it is everything I wish I knew. Hope you have a good trip!!

Yuri Khorondze
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Aug 18 2019
BackpackingBugs

Great backpacking trail great views and plenty of campsites. Not too much water besides the shelters.

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Bill Speidel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSun Aug 11 2019
Hiking

Hiked it counter clockwise. The AT sections were in great condition and despite it being cool and perfect conditions in August, I only saw a total of 5 other hikers. The suspension bridge alone is worth the trip. So cool! The descent down Mau Har was a disappoint for me. Maybe its dry summer, but didn't see a waterfall, just a low stream with a trail that kinda petered out a bit here and there and left me scrambling through sections with biting flies or stinging nettles. Plus, even though my trail shoes had good tread, they kept slipping out on the dusty hard packed downward sloping trail. The final climb back up for the 3rd peak will test your mettle for sure! 6:30 round trip. 3 liters of water

Chloe Machula
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jul 26 2019
Hiking

This was my first ever backpacking trip, back in 2009. At the time, we weren't really sure whether it was that we were woefully under-prepared physically, or if this was really just that difficult! We STRUGGLED. 10 years later and I'm now a moderately accomplished backpacker. I now know it's both! We didn't quite understand just how difficult backpacking is yet, and we were definitely carrying too much stuff; but I also now know that this trail IS tough. Don't underestimate it, but it's also worth the long climbs! Beautiful views and beautiful waterfall. Enjoy!

Caleb Olson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jun 27 2019
Hiking

The trail is definitely difficult. It starts off seeming like no big deal, but the elevation gains start to take a toll. It’s 1.7 miles of significant elevation gain to get to the start of the loop; from there, it’s about 8 miles to the mid point shelter (if you take the Appalachian trail). Those roughly ten miles took us about eight hours (it was myself a nine year old and two fourteen year old girls.). The mau-har portion was a steep descent and about a mile of elevation gain, but it was only about four miles. We completed everything in 14 hours of trail time (not counting the sleeping time at maupin). Anyone can do this hike as long as you take your time and don’t give up!

Jennifer Catlett
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun May 26 2019
Hiking

Incredibly dog friendly and a challenging yet rewarding hike. Lots of inclines but the shelter at midpoint is two thumbs up!!! Met lots of AT THRU hikers and was cool to connect with them and hear about their experiences!!

dave rivera
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Apr 14 2019
HikingRockyScramble

Just completed this hike! Awesome! Complete wash out first day. Unreal beautiful conditions the second day! Everything you can ask from a hike except for more elevation

Braxton Cross
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarTue Mar 26 2019
HikingRocky

Still exhausted.... hahaha Very difficult and demanding trail but in the end it's well worth the inability to walk and function the next few days haha. When you're not climbing uphill you're hopping from rock to rock downhill. The hike and CLIMB beside the creek was the most enjoyable portion of the trip for me. The view of the three ridges was worth the climb but other than that there was not but maybe one more overlook that gave you that "well would you look at that" moment. I'm over 3 bills, terribly out of shape and completed this with three friends in a day and a half. Best motivator aside from burgers and beer was if you ever wanted to turn around and go to the car, the hike back was going to be even more difficult.

Shona Freeman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarTue Feb 05 2019
HikingRockyScramble

This is definitely one of the hardest trails I have ever done. Very rocky with quite a few scrambles. The views are incredible. We saved the Mau Har trail for last and somehow got off the trail and could never get back to it. We didn’t think there were enough clear markings for the trail, but maybe that is just us. We were definitely lost and it was getting dark. Thankfully, we had our head lamps and decided to follow the river. We found a road and decided to walk it hoping to come to a house that had someone in it! In the mean time we were mentally making plans to stay overnight in the woods. No cell signal, so no way to contact anyone. We were fortunate to find a kind gentleman who offered to drive us back to our car in the parking lot. He made us feel better when he told us we weren’t the first to get lost and that he had driven others back to the parking lot. We are grateful for kind souls. I know my friend will not do this trail again, but I probably will just to see where in the world we missed the trail! Be ready for a very challenging hike!

Nick Schneider
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Dec 23 2018

Tough but good route

Jim D
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Nov 14 2018
Hiking

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

Dak Hardwick
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Oct 21 2018

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.

Austin Vogel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarThu Oct 11 2018
Backpacking

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.

Mark Thompson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Aug 29 2018
Hiking

great hike going counter clockwise from rt 56. finished the loop in about 8 hrs with stops to eat and enjoy the scenery. very challenging with excellent views. used this as a training hike for a more difficult climb coming up and definitely got my money's worth. my only gripe if i had to find one is the distance signage is a little off. mau hur section is closer to 4 miles than 3 and total rt56 loop is closer to 16 miles.

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