Home Sweet Home Virginia!
It’s well known on trail that the Virginia Blues are a thing for AT thru-hikers. The AT in Virginia covers over 550 miles, that’s more than any other state and about a fourth of the trail. The excitement of state crossings fades away and the heat sets in. But, Virginia is my home state and I am so excited to hike it! I’ve been saving all the fun hiking spots that I write about below for my thru-hike so I’d been looking forward to all these views for awhile.
Virginia Creeper Trail
Leaving Damascus I did a little blue blazing (taking side trails that are not the actual AT) and experienced part of the Virginia Creeper Trail. It’s a 35 mile multipurpose trail that runs along the Laurel Creek and criss crosses a few or more times with the AT. It’s really beautiful and would make a great mini getaway destination for anyone who likes to be outdoors. It crosses over the Laurel Creek in a series of pretty bridges that are great for photos.
The Grayson Highlands is the first of many iconic and beautiful spots along the AT in Virginia. I was lucky enough to catch a break in the rain for my visit with the wild ponies. The way the sun popped out and brightened the clouds made for some great photos.
Zero Shelter/Magic Van
I took a zero in Marion, VA at the Partnership shelter. The shelter is next to the visitor center and ranger station so there is a water spigot along with an outdoor phone for hikers to use to call and order food from the local pizza place. Some of us at the shelter went in on an order and while waiting at the gate to the center for the food to arrive, the van below, a local shuttle, stopped by to offer a ride into town. He also let us sign the van which is covered with hikers signatures. I used the spigot to take a hiker trash shower and do laundry. The center was closed so I didn’t have to worry about bystanders haha.
The trail comes very close to Blacksburg, which is where my aunt Christine and cousin Vitorio are. They were awesome and picked Snacks and I up at a nearby gap for a little R&R. We took a double zero and enjoyed a fantastic break with them. It was a first time to Blacksburg for both of us and they were wonderful hosts both showing us around and keeping our bellies full. We even took a trip Floyd, VA to checkout the bluegrass scene on Friday night. There were tons of jam circles and a main stage behind the country store and we had a super fun time walking around and listening to the music and taking in the sights. Thanks again Christine & Vitorio for such a wonderful visit and break.
Virginia Triple Crown
The VA Triple Crown consists of Dragon’s Tooth, McAfee Knob and Tinker Cliffs. I’ve been waiting patiently to hike these spots and they were everything I imagined and more. Dragon’s Tooth was fun-climbing out onto the tooth requires a bit of tricky maneuvering/climbing through some tight rock crevices. I was feeling brave and almost made it to the top of the tooth. It’s super high so almost is a big deal. Snacks even told me to stop haha. McAfee Knob was so special. We caught a sunset and a sunrise on the knob. Tinker Cliffs provided great views of where we had hiked from.
Middle Creek Campground
Snacks and I stopped at a local campground for the 4th of July. The facilities were awesome. Thru-hikers had tent spots along the creek and there is also a pool, general store with hot food and showers. There is a pavilion by the pool where we enjoyed a band one night and a little karaoke the second night. It was super hot on the 4th so we spent the day by the pool. In the afternoon a man appeared with a watermelon and called all the kids together to announce a watermelon contest. He slathered the watermelon in baby oil and tossed it in the pool and the kids had to get the watermelon to the edge of the pool and out of the water. Pretty entertaining. They shared the watermelon and also homemade banana ice cream…yum!
My awesome friends Jill and Ian came all the way from the other side of VA to the campground on the 5th. We had a short but sweet visit and of course we ate lunch and ice cream! They dropped us back off on trail where we continued hiking North. Thanks Jilly B & Ian!
More to come soon!
This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!
To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.