Three Ridges Trail is a 12.6 mile lightly 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.

DISTANCE
12.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3,845 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

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.

backpacking
1 month ago

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

backpacking
1 month 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
1 month 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

hiking
2 months ago

We started at Reid’s Gap and hiked clockwise. The first hill is rather challenging but not too bad. Then there is a slight descent for just over a mile. Next, there is a intersection between the AT and Mau-Har. We went left and hiked another three miles up a constant, challenging incline. Once you reach the overlook near the summit, the views are amazing!!!
We camped just below the summit at a beautiful overlook about 5.5 miles in. The next 5 miles were fairly easy - although the steep descent was challenging to go through quickly. Harper’s Creek was the first water source we came upon and we made sure to fill up. However, the trail is not clearly marked there and we took about a three mile detour. (It was a beautiful trail, however, and a great side trip if you have the time and energy!)
Once we got back on track, the hike to the intersection of the AT and Mau-Har trail was moderately difficult. Then we hit the Mau-Har trail. Water is plentiful and the scenery is beautiful but the trail is incredibly difficult. (We hiked this in the afternoon with 25lb packs and averaged just under a mile an hour with stops.) Take a left back onto the AT and back to Reid’s Gap.
My advice - take plenty of water as you’ll go about 10.5 miles before coming across a water source. If you do go clockwise, camp near Harper’s Creek or Campbell’s Creek to get most of the mileage done before tackling the Mau-Har the next day. It’s best done when you’re fresh and it’s still relatively cool. Also, don’t underestimate this hike. It’s all steep uphill or downhill and very little flat trail.

backpacking
2 months ago

So this is a great challenging hike. The trail loop is about 13-14 miles total starting out at the Reeds Gap parking stop. I did the loop and started clockwise heading south on the Mau-Har trail then north onto the Appalachian Trail. The Mau-Har was a nice slightly challenging hike with water stops and places to camp. The south portion on the AT trail was a difficult up hill with a rock scramble and tight trails the higher you go. There are places to camp but i would wait until you get to the locations at the top if you are hammock camping. The north half of the AT portion is slightly challenging and wider trails. There is no water on the AT portion of the trail so you will need to pack in what you need. There are also 2 shelters in this loop. One at each end of the Mau-Har trail. I did run across a rattle snake so just watch your step and watch the ground. Trekking poles will be your friends on this trail. The views are great take time to stop and take them in.

backpacking
3 months ago

Was a beautiful hike went clockwise and after seeing and hearing about the counterclockwise hikers journey. I was happy with my choice. I did it in two days, wanted to take my time. The views were spectacular, trails were makes well. Camped at Harper's shelter, not sure if the mileage is correct I don't think switchback are being counted for mileage, there are a good amount of them. would definaly recommend it to a friend, there was very little water on the AT portion so be careful with that if hiking clockwise bring in water to hike up, crossed one natural spring and it is a dry Aug. so far so riverbeds have dried up mostly.

backpacking
4 months ago

Challenging loop, we did 10-11mi on day one & camped at Campbell Creek. Waterfalls were beautiful & plenty of nice swimming holes to choose from there. Day two was 3-4mi up Mau-Har & was very steep. A challenge, but very fun with all the boulders!

backpacking
4 months ago

One of the better backpacking loops in Va. It’s perfect for a two day trek, with an overnighter either at Harpers Creek or Campbells Creek. We started at Reeds Gap, went clockwise and camped at HC after 10.5 miles, which is a few miles more than the signage suggests. My guess is that many of the switchbacks weren’t taken into account when the signs were posted. The ascent is devoid of overlooks, but there’s a great one facing SW a few hundred ft beneath the main summit, and then a handful of stellar views on the way down to the creek. Another pleasant surprise was the amount of waterfall hiking on Day 2 heading up the Mau-Har Trail. It was lovely bouldering / hiking right next to the (at the time) lively creek for a couple of miles. iPhone tracked us at 10.6 mi on Day 1, 5.8 on Day 2, 16.4 total. Seemed about right.

4 months ago

Very challenging. My husband and I backpacked over two days/one night. Doing the whole loop would have been very difficult and wouldn’t have allowed for much time for breaks/views. The distance is just over 16 miles, not 12.6. The Mau-Har section is very hard, but provides tons of water as you are hiking next to the creek/waterfalls almost the entire time. The AT section was bone dry for us. Luckily, we took the advice on going clockwise so we had our water from home on day one. We hiked 10.5 miles to Harper’s Creek shelter, which we loved, and camped right on the creek. Woke up and finished the last bit which ended up being 6 miles back to the car. (Parked at Reid’s Gap)

4 months ago

Great trail, enjoyed walking near waterfall, tons of excellent camping spots.

backpacking
5 months ago

Challenging hike, but the amazing views make it all worth it. This was the first backpacking trip my wife and I went on together (about two years ago); we were unaware it was considered “hard” prior to. After a late start, we parked along skyline drive and perused the clockwise loop during a two-day; one night trip. We quickly learned the perils over overpacking. Overall, we had a blast and would do it again.

hiking
5 months ago

First off - This hike is absolutely not 12.6 miles. Garmin watch clocked it at 16.3. We did not deviate or take any side paths. Please be aware of this before starting the hike. We did the hike going clockwise - taking the Mau-har trail till it intersected back with the AT. I would recommend going this way. Get the uphill trek out of the way at the beginning of the hike. Careful around the waterfalls and strong creeks - I nearly stepped on a timber rattle snake, absolutely couldn't hear the warning rattle because of the water close by. To round out the hike, the skies opened up and had a torrential thunderstorm down pour for the last 6 miles which made the down hill treacherous on the rocks.

All that being said - I really enjoyed the hike. Wish I could've seen the views, but the rain killed that.

backpacking
5 months ago

This is a challenging hike depending on if you split up the mileage or not. I definitely suggest going clockwise, otherwise you will face a challenging up hill to close out your hike. I’d say if you are in shape without a heavy pack this is a doable day hike. I backpacked this one. Got in at 9:30pm and night hiked the 1.6 to where the trail forks for the loop. Decided to set up camp here. Got up at 6am and was off on the trail at 7a. The clockwise route sets up the day with most of the great views. Given it to was calling for rain in the afternoon going clockwise was important for me to catch the views without rain clouds. I got all the way to Harpers Shelter by 10:30am. And I decided I was going to try and bag the rest of the trail. Hit a wall with about 3-4 mi left. Somehow managed to muscle through it (I think getting rained on is a good motivator). I’d say this is a manageable 2 day backpacking hike. Don’t do what I did! Get there at a decent time and split the miles in half. On the non AT portion of the trail there is a pretty good waterfall. Water was fine for the entire trip (on May 25th) but I could see the AT portion being a problem if there is a dry spout. More abundant on the other side. Also this was a perfect time of the year to do it. Got to chat with tons of through hikers. And gave a couple of them a ride to Devils Backbone (nearby craft brewery) at the end of my hike.

5 months ago

So hard. Gorgeous. Totally worth the effort.

backpacking
5 months ago

In short, the overlooks were underwhelming because of the rain/fog. The waterfalls made up for it and were overwhelming because of the amount of rain. May-Har trail was fantastic and with clear skies, the overlooks would have been too.

6 months ago

Walked in to the camp site and back. Was a difficult walk with the rocky trail but got better along the way. Crowed parking area, but people spread out enough to make a friendly trail but not crowded. Will do it again soon as an overnighter.

backpacking
6 months ago

I would rate this hike as difficult. Some of the steepest terrain I have hiked on the AT. Made it an overnighter at Harpers Creek. Very crowded...but enjoyable! The only downside to me were the rocky trails. Really have to watch the ankles. Gorgeous views and some of the prettiest Forrest scenery around!

hiking
7 months ago

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.

hiking
7 months 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

7 months ago

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.

hiking
8 months 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).

hiking
8 months ago

Great hike on a warm Sunday in March. Did it in a single day, took seven hours at a moderate pace. The distance came out as closer to 14 miles than 12. Still a lot of snow on the trail making it muddy on the AT going up to the ridges. Went counter-clockwise and enjoyed the water on the way down, but since most of the good views on the ridges are south and west facing, it meant the sun was in my face by the time I arrived at the ridges in the early afternoon. If you are a photographer, I would recommend going clockwise instead.

backpacking
8 months ago

Good challenge! Lots of steep ups and downs. Did this loop clockwise, camping at Campbell Creek overnight. Much longer hike Saturday (about 10 miles), but I needed to give myself enough time to drive home Sunday (Northern Ohio). If you're in good shape, you could probably knock this out in a long day. Good campsites around each shelter, and a few good sites along the Mau-Har trail. Water was flowing great at each source, and especially along the Mau-Har. No water between Mau-Pin Shelter and Harper's Creek Shelter, so pack accordingly. There were a few good views, but one was particularly amazing. Ran into about a dozen or so other hikers.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

This is a fun hike. It has a couple of good views and a nice long water feature. I knocked it out in 5:45 including rest stops. It's not the hardest hike I've done in the area, but it is pretty long. Definitely recommend.

backpacking
Saturday, September 30, 2017

Good if you’re looking for a challenge! There’s one vista that’s absolutely incredible. Tons of primitive tent sites. Water was low at Harpers Creek when we went. (Sept 2017)

backpacking
Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Excellent hike. The main overlook is spectacular and the water along Mar-Hau trail is really beautiful. WARNING: When we hiked this August 27-28 there was no water at Harper's Creek. We had planned to camp/refill there but ended up hiking the extra two miles to Campbell's Creek in the dark (we got a late start). Just be prepared that this water source might not be available year-round!

backpacking
Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The views are great! We got there at about 8 am and started the walk we planed on sleeping at Harpers creek but it was only 3 when we got there so we filled up our water and got to moving again down Mau-Har which was not an easy one but we made it to Maupin shelter by about 8 pm and stayed for the night,, it was a great time!

hiking
Wednesday, July 05, 2017

First time doing any hiking in Virginia and was not disappointed. I was able to complete the loop in 6 hours and 15 minutes with only 5 minute stops at the three vistas and about 15 minutes for food. The trail is challenging (as I was soaked with sweat from head to toe) but not undoable by any means. I believe anybody could complete the loop on an overnight trip. It's steep either way, but I went up AT first then back down Mau-Har. Was able to see a beautiful black bear while hiking down the Mau-Har, granted that was close to the time the sun was setting. Highly recommend and will come back

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Very beautiful hike in the fall, many great views as foliage is down. This is a serious hike, as in difficult. I went ccwise going down the mau haur side trail. Steep cutbacks, short scramble sections, waterfalls and streams (mau haur), great distant views, multiple forest types, and a few good picnic spots. If your healthy and prepared the hike could be done in as little as 5-6hrs, plan on 7+ if stopping to eat a meal, breaks, pictures, and nature observing.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

came in from skyline drive total hike ended up over 15 miles. Great hike but its a difficult one!

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