Three Ridges Trail is a 13 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Lyndhurst, Virginia that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. 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.
dogs on leash
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.
Great hike. Did it as a two day hike and stayed at the Harper Creek Shelter, which is just over half way if you do the AT leg first and the Mau-Har Trail second. This is defiantly not a moderate hike; I would rate it as difficult. At least my 50+ year old body does.
Overall, a great loop, more people on the trail than expected, but lots of scenery, nice vistas on the AT side and great water views on the Mau-Mar side. I was in a group of 3 sets of fathers & sons; ran into many similar father/son, father/daughter, mother/daughter groups. Also, ran into several groups from Ohio. I take for granted what awesome outdoor experiences we have here in Virginia.
This was an amazing hike, and definitely one of the most difficult hikes I've ever done. You could probably finish this hike in one day if you started really early in the morning (and are an experienced and fit hiker), but if you plan on backpacking you can break it up into 5-6 hour days and stay overnight. There are many campsites set up for anyone to use (no permits required!). We used the main campsite on the Appalachian Trail portion next to Harpers Creek at about the midway point that has a privy, shelter, and plenty of places to pitch a tent and start a campfire.
The altitude on AllTrails is deceiving, because the hike is constantly up and down. In total, you will ascend 6,800 feet over the course of the hike and probably descend about the same amount. There are few flat areas, so you will have to take breaks often and bring lots of water. There is a mixture of steep switchbacks and direct inclines/declines, so you will be kept on your toes (or heels!). The reward includes some really amazing views of the Appalachian mountains in Shenandoah National Park and a long, winding creek that includes a large waterfall and has a few spots that feel like a hidden oasis. Very beautiful and worth the challenge!
We completed this hike in 8.5 hours and we took just few short breaks during this time. We are decenty fit and we hike on a regular basis, but we found this trail extremely challenging. You constantly climbing up or going down - only about 10% of the trail is flat. This is a beautiful trail and it would be great for two days/one night backpacking trip. However, it is way too challenging for a one day hike unless you are in a superb shape. Someone mentioned here that it can be done in 6 hours - I believe there are very few among us who could do it so fast. If you do decide to do the whole trail in one day, make sure to get there very early in the morning to have enough time. Also, special hiking shoes would make your hike much more pleasant! The trail itself is absolutely beautiful and there is a decent number of freshwater sources along the way.
My girlfriend and I did this as a day hike. Totally doable if you start early enough and are in somewhat decent shape. We took about 6 hours including a couple breaks. There are also a healthy number of established campsites along the way if you want to break it into a multi-day trip. I would also come back in the summer just to play around in the water on the Mau-Har Trail.
It is definitely a 2 day hike. If you're going to try it in one, leave plenty of time and start well before 9:00am. The AT potion of the trail is manageable for the first day if you choose to break it up. If not then the Mau-Har trail will kick your ass on the way back(Speaking from experience). Really challenging hike but well worth the views. TBird, Pancho Via, Hershey & Mike - 15.8miles in 7hours on 12/10/2016.
Very challenging. Oct 1 weekend. Girlfriend and I arrived Friday at 930 in a downpour and dark. Trail was highly visible with white blazes throught AT and blue for Mau-Har(?). After about half mile hike a sending we reached a camp on left to set for night. Next morning set out and took the AT trail at the maupin shelter to left. Its a challenging climb up bee mount and the three ridges with 40# packs. amazing view at the top tho!! after you do a handfull of descents thru rock gardens and long switchbacks. Stayed at Harper shelter area second night. next day set off on the mauhar trail which is about .6 mile away from shelter and he 3.6ish on the mauhar back to the maupin shelter area. The MH trail is difficult in the begining with steep and steady ascentions, and moderatetly challenging areas by the waterfall and creek area (if your not athletic or carry weight well).Then about 2.6 back to the car. I loved this trail but it was definitely an experience and you come out with huge sense of accomplishment. I would not recommend for first time backpackers mainly because you have to cover the distance thru hard trail or your stuck without water or good place to set up. That being said, you do have oppurtunites to fill up else where. Didn't have any bear problems but they're around according to signs. Great views and a good challenge await on this highly recommended trail that shares a few miles with the AT (Appalachian trail)
This is NOT a easy trail.. if you a slow hiking like I am, make this a three day hike.. don't get to see the Beautiful views cuz it was rain this weekend.. I was not able to finish the trail so I walk out to rt 56 and get a ride back to my car.. I'm a slow walking, and get hurt on the trail.. what I head the Mau-Har trail was very hard.. I don't go on this part cuz I want to make it out today.. but my dad and brother try to come help me and they said it was back.. I would say the other part is a hard trail
did it as a challenging one day. highly recommended to do the trail in reverse, taking mau-har at the split instead of the AT, if attempting this as a one-day. yields great view toward the end, and a mostly easy descent back to the parking area.
This hike was a very enjoyable test for our group. A strong majority of the trail is shaded, which helped greatly on a very warm weekend. Heavy packs began to take their toll half way through the loop, but we pressed on until reaching a beautiful area situated between a flowing stream, waterfall, and rock faces. Continuing out the next day was mostly uphill with a series of switchbacks, but less ground to cover from where we decided to camp. Overall, the terrain was equally challenging as it was beautiful. Three Ridges is perfect for a weekend excursion.
I'm an ultra trail runner and went with my 17 yr old teenager - we finished the 14m loop in just over 6 hrs and were toast by the end. Very challenging but worth it. I would rate the hike difficult based on completing in a day and elevation gains/descents - numerous spots to camp along the way, most notably at the top of the ridge-line and then later, along the creek with small waterfalls. We went the AT side first from the shelter (clockwise). Use poles. From the car to the shelter has a quarter mile straight climb - hang in there, it levels out (at least for awhile)...
Amazing hike and backpacking trail. Very challenging but well worth it! One of the most challenging trails on the East Coast.