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Three Ridges Trail is a 13.3 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Lyndhurst, Virginia that features a waterfall 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 but must be kept on leash.

Length 13.3 mi Elevation gain 3,917 ft Route type Loop

Dogs on leash

Backpacking

Camping

Hiking

Nature trips

Bird watching

Running

Forest

River

Views

Waterfall

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Description
Waypoints (0)

Situated in Central Virginia, just 30 miles southwest of Charlottesville, the hike has vista after vista along the Appalachian Trail, and many small waterfalls and pools on the Mau-Har Trail on Campbell Creek.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (230)
Photos (437)
Recordings (180)
Completed (534)
Nahum Goodenow
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 2, 2020
Hiking

Nice portion of the AT with a few trailside backpacking campsites and a large campsite and shelter. Finished at Bee Mountain at 3000ft.

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Z Haskl
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 25, 2020

A hot and humid day, clockwise from Reid’s Gap. 4hr47 as our fastest hike yet, with time lost lost at a river crossing— (tip: you cross it late on Ma Haur, not at the campsite clearing, but scramble up the right side rocks to follow the trail; cross only after a long uphill parallel to the river)...and hard but short fall off trail into a ravine. This may be the best trail in this area. All the elements- altitude, descent, variety, views, waters... On a hot day, bring closer to 3L of water...

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Ryan Irizarry
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 19, 2020
BackpackingBugsRocky

This trail was a beautiful trail, but definitely a strenuous one. My friend and I hiked the loop clockwise because we got a late start and wanted to camp at an overlook. We started about 4:30 and made it about 3.5 miles to the first ridge by about 6:45 where we camped for the night. The second day, we clocked about 11-12 miles which made for a very long day. Coming down from Chimney Rock was very rocky and steep in some places. I would also say make sure to pack plenty of water. We didn’t find any water before the Harper’s Creek shelter after leaving the Maupin campground. Most of the day we spent hiking next to Campbell Creek on the Mau-Har so there was plenty of opportunities to get water. Going up some parts of the Mau-Har was extremely difficult with bigger backpacks so keep that in mind. There are some parts of the trail that are very steep where you have to climb up damp rocks. Despite the long second day, the hike was still extremely beautiful and not very crowded. We started on a Friday and there weren’t many people but by Saturday afternoon we saw many more people. Despite COVID, everyone we came across was still very nice, and everyone just kept good distance.

Iain Tait Gordon
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 7, 2020
Hiking

Overall solid hike, really enjoyed it and found some great views tucked away along the first half of the hike. Definitely was an intense hike though, 9 miles in the first day, ~5 back doesn’t sound too bad, but this terrain is steep so it is tough on the legs haha. I did see one black snake and another garden snake, nothing out of the ordinary, but something to potentially watch out for. Safe hiking, cheers!

Anthony Rowen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 5, 2020
Backpacking

We did a two night backpacking trip with mostly inexperienced backpackers; it was definitely a challenging hike but everyone was able to get through it. The appeal of this hike is definitely the challenge more than the views, which is not for everybody so keep that in mind. Maybe two good vistas on the hike and a lot of tree coverage this time of year on the ridges. First night we hiked from reed’s gap to Maupin campground, which took about 45 minutes. We did the loop counterclockwise as we wanted to get the hard stuff out of the way and camp on a summit. Based on reviews on this site we had planned to find a campground near Chimney Rock, but unfortunately we could not find any. So we continued the steep incline from chimney rock to three ridges when everyone was already exhausted, ultimately about 10 miles of hiking from 10am to 7pm with a good amount of breaks. Campgrounds at the top of three ridges were great and it made for a much easier second day (~4.5 miles took us 3.5 hours), but first big day of hiking was grueling for everyone, especially the inexperienced. Be sure to pack enough water; plenty of opportunities to fill up along the mau har and at both campgrounds, but other than that there is one brook about half a mile before three ridges and another one about 1.5 miles past three ridges going Ccw.

Marc Mazzella
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 8, 2020
HikingBlowdownBugsRockyScramble

This was a phenomenal trail and every bit a difficult one. I started at Reids Gap and went counterclockwise to the Mau-Har(d) Trail which looped to the AT. I didn't pass one hiker going that direction and now I know why, it's very challenging. I chose that way because I wanted to do the bulk of the miles on the first day and then camp at the summit to enjoy the sunset and sunrise. Both were epic by the way and the campsite at Three Ridges was very nice. I definitely recommend that you pack a good bit a water for this hike due to the difficulty and because the last water source is about three miles from the top. Which reminds me, I want to thank the amazingly generous hiker I met who shared a half a liter of water with me. Thank you buddy! My second day, I continued on the AT and found one additional small stream about a mile or so down. The best vista was on this leg. I clocked a little more than 19 miles for the loop. Not sure how accurate that was but it's certainly more than posted. All around wonderful hike.

Jeffrey Levy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 6, 2020
BackpackingRocky

Fantastic, challenging hike. Rocky for much of it (very, very rocky at points); a small percentage is easy, carefree strolling. Trekking poles saved our knees! Tip: if you don’t like how steep it is getting to the very first switchback, turn around. You’re in for much steeper and much longer. To park, ignore the destination it be directions and park in the obvious lot at the nearby intersection. The views are spectacular, and unlike most hikes, you get them in many different directions. Just walking along the ridges, we could see through the trees and out in both sides, and there were some wildflowers. The creeks are also beautiful, with many waterfalls and cascades. We went clockwise and slept on top of Three Ridges, which was gorgeous! There’s space for one tent right at the top up a short, obvious trail to the left, and more spaces a little way further down the trail. It was a very nice evening, looking out at the twinkling lights (and there’s a fire ring although we didn’t use it). However, staying up there made for a very long second day: 9 miles, nearly 3000 feet down and about 2000 up. We passed many people going counterclockwise. The big choice is whether to do that 3.2 mile, 2200 foot section between the summit and Harper Shelter going up or down. But know that the whole loop is a lot of steep climbing and descending, some over big, broken rock, no matter which way you go. View the waypoints to see campsites and water. All the marked water sources other than on the big descent were flowing well: the spring at about 3 miles, the creek by Harper Shelter at about 7 miles, and when the Mau Har reaches Campbell Creek at 10 miles (get water there; once you start climbing, you’re not close to the creek other than when you cross it nearly at junction with the AT). There’s no water on top, though. The app went nuts on my recording, adding many miles to the distance. It’s marked as 14.4 miles on the Hiking Upward description, which gives nicely detailed directions. I kept it open to use as a second reference. https://www.hikingupward.com/GWNF/ThreeRidges/images/Map.pdf

View Jeffrey's Recording
Charlie White
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 30, 2020
Hiking

One of my favorites in VA. This is one hike I do every summer. The camping spots are some of the best I’ve seen on any trails in the area. One bonus about this hike is that it’s right down the street from Devils Backbone brewery, perfect for a nice meal and drinks after the strenuous trek.

Josh Frechem
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 30, 2020
HikingBugsMuddyScramble

I went in January and it was a nice hike, but after a rain and surrounded by the summer foliage.... it was quite an amazing hike with the waterfalls in full beauty. It was rather busy from people going clockwise because it is easier, but I did both counterclockwise. You have this sort of technical down-climb at the waterfalls on MHT and then the ~4 mile steady uphill climb that can be pretty brutal. Plenty of water on the MHT and in wet conditions there are a few places that you can get water on the AT section. But, if you are doing it in the summer, make sure you do the AT section with plenty of water. It is more exposed and the climb is tiring.

John Brower
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 24, 2020
Hiking

Tough trail, closer to 16 miles than 13. A lot of ascents and descents. Couple of good views, plenty of water and camping spots along the trail. Fun hike!

Austin Flask
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 14, 2020
Hiking

great trail. meant to do it as a backpacking loop and spend the night, but got far enough in I didn't feel like sleeping at 5. definitely recommend.

Joseph Dunn
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 1, 2020
HikingRocky
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Hasan Khan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarApril 19, 2020
HikingRocky

We did this hike counterclockwise starting at Reeds Gap - tough but the last leg was mostly downhill. Lots of water sources on the Mau Har section. Doable as a day hike (we clocked in around 7 hours) but could also be done as an overnight trip.

Nick Kirchner
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 17, 2020
Hiking

Did the full circuit in 6 hours. Based on the distances posted on signs, it should be roughly 13.7mi total. Pretty decent 4.6mi hike to the summit with a nice vista at Hanging Rock. Downhill on the south side is pretty rocky, highly recommend you have trekking poles. Mau Har section is pretty tough, you have to scramble over rocks and it’s a long uphill at the end of your hike. But it is beautiful in that section. The trail runs alongside a creek with many, many small waterfalls for approx two straight miles. I did this a few days after the area got 4-5” of rain so the creeks were swollen. That made the 10ish creek crossings on Mau Har pretty tough and in need of improvisation. Again, trekking poles are your friend. Overall, great hike. Very challenging and it feels pretty remote. Will definitely do this again.

Peter Kehr
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 12, 2020
Hiking

Did in early April. Great hike! Some posters recommended going the opposite direction from the recommended route; I’d stick with what’s recommended as when you take the Mau-Har trail going back you’ll be going upstream and get to look at all the cool waterfalls and swimming holes. If it’s hot out, you could cool off during the slog. Some posters also mentioned this hike “only” has like two viewpoints. It’s true that there’s probably only like three knock your socks off vistas but if you go in early/late spring you can see through the trees as you’re descending the ridge and get great views of the valleys below. Phone app said hike was 14.5 miles but I did some smaller side viewpoints as well.

Derick Michaux
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 6, 2020
HikingRocky

This is an awesome trail. Definitely has some difficult climbs if you do it in the opposite direction, which is what I did. I still would recommend doing it the opposite as it leaves the best overlook for last. The Mau-Har Trail has some cool waterfalls and multiple places to take a dip in. It is a long and hard day hike. My iPhone tracked 16 miles. I don't know how accurate that is but it's definitely more than 13.3. Reid's Gap is where I parked. Super easy to find and makes for a beautiful drive up. When I do it again, I will definitely make it a two day hike.

Luke Forrester
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarApril 5, 2020
Hiking

I enjoyed this trail but it is falsely advertised. This trails ends up being around 16 miles and not the 13.3 miles that this app says it is. It has about 1 or 2 good overlooks but thats about it. Not much too see on this hike, but a great hike if you want to challenge yourself.

Sally Houston .
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 19, 2020
Hiking

One of my favorite hikes. Pretty difficult, but definitely worth the trek. Had a couple good swimming holes if you go in the summer time.

Jack Helmer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 8, 2020
HikingRocky

Backpacked this over 2 days as a possible Scouting trip. It was one of the most beautiful trails I have been on, very manageable but still tough enough to be fun. I started at the parking lot and went clockwise. I would recommend this route as the uphills are more solid and you don't end up trying to scramble down rocks with a 30-40 lbs pack. The shelters were in great shape, as well as the trail. I saw maybe a little over a dozen people in two days, but other than that it was very quiet and secluded. I am in decent shape and it was tough but still extremely doable. Tons of water, so bring your filters if you plan on filling up. It was a wonderful trail and I would recommend it to any of my friends.

Rod Murphy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 7, 2020
HikingRocky
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Josh Frechem
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 1, 2020
Hiking

The parking area on the directions is incorrect. When you come up to an intersection near the trail head, the parking area is the one you expect it to be. It’s not further down the road where the GPS location likely is in the navigation app. I got there after sunrise, maybe 9:30, and there were a fair number of people there. I did it clockwise and saw about 4-6 people packing up camp or heading back to their cars. The rest of the trail I was all alone and, I like many va hikes, I couldn’t hear anything except nature for hours. The isolation of this hike in winter was pretty great. I didn’t see people until the top (two people) and until I got near the last few miles where a lot of people were walking dogs. The parking lot was pretty packed upon return. So, either people were just doing short hikes with pets, or were quite a ways behind me. The views were nice for a covered hike like this. Very little exposure, in my opinion. I can imagine in the summer this is nearly totally covered. There were lots of stream crossings and several waterfalls. I recommend waterproof boots just so you can comfortably cross these without having to dance over rocks to avoid getting wet. I will have to do this again in the summer. It seems like a great summer hike. As a winter hike, it was mainly just a nice, private training hike.

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Matt Henry
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 27, 2019
Hiking

One of my favorite day hikes. I’m glad to get it logged. Went counter clockwise/did mau har first. Shout out to the trail runners who passed me twice. Y’all some savages.

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Kevin Foreman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 21, 2019
Hiking

Did this hike on 10/19/19 in about 7 hours with one 20 minute break and several other 5ish minute ones..... definitely a hard but overall rewarding hike with good trail conditions though I agree with others in that it’s definitely at least 14.5 miles total (my Apple Watch was saying 16 miles but I do question how accurate that thing is)... after completing it I wouldn’t want to do it when it’s hot outside so I would suggest spring or fall if your thinking about tackling it. I started from the Reid’s gap parking area right at 7am and went clockwise through the trail. There were already several vehicles there and only a few parking spots remaining so I’d recommend getting there early. If your going just for the best views I’d recommend doing it like this and making it an in-and-out trail ending at the top of the first knoll as I personally found the rest of the hike rather challenging (with the views not as rewarding as the first vista) when done in this direction but not without its own rewards for those willing (especially if the water is flowing down Campbell’s creek). I did see one bear cub about 1.5 miles in (but didn’t see mama though I’m sure she wasn’t far) and 2 deer as well shortly after. All water sources but Campbell’s creek were dry and Campbell’s creek had only a small amount flowing... looked like it would’ve been beautiful had it not been so dry...the ground bees others have mentioned were still there however when I got to them there were pieces of paper taped to trees warning about them about 10 yards or so before on both sides of the nest as well as a secondary path that passed around them others had cut slightly up hill (was kinda steep but easily doable) though how long those will last is questionable. For the first half of the hike I passed one through hiker on the way up though the first three campsites I passed had tents. After the first 6-7 miles I started passing more and more people so I would again recommend getting there early if you prefer to avoid crowds. Being at the time and direction I started I had the first vista to my self which was very nice. I did pass multiple groups (5+) of people that were working on the trail on the back half of the hike but I didn’t find it overly crowded at all...10/10 would recommend for the view from the first vista alone at the very least as an in and out trail though I would definitely go for the whole loop if you are able.

Clay Huie
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 11, 2019
HikingRocky
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