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  1. #1
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    Default Virginia Triple Crown Section HIke

    Looking at planning a trip to do the Virginia Triple Crown in a 43- day section hike next year. Wondering if others have done this, or have experience from thru-hiking this portion that would be good to know.

    Specifically, what is the best time of year to do this? When do thru-hikers usually pass through this area (want to not go then, so as to avoid it being really busy)? Recommendations on where to start/end? Other considerations?

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    Did you by chance mean a 43 MILE section? It only take a couple days to hike the VA Triple Crown so I'm not sure why you would plan a 43 DAY hike around this relatively short section.

    I hiked that region a couple of years ago. If I were doing it in a 43 mile section, I would start at the VA 630 (Sinking Creek) trail head and go to Scorched Earth Gap (41.6 miles). I very much enjoyed the hike across Sinking Creek Mountain and would recommend extending a Triple Crown hike far enough south to include this. On the way up you can see the Keffer Oak (big tree) and on the ridge there are some great views and fun rock outcroppings to hike through, around, and over. After that you go across the mountain with the Audie Murphy Monument (worth walk up the short blue blaze side trail). After that you go over the mountain with the Dragon's Tooth. The scramble down from the Dragons Tooth is famous for the boulders you have to climb down. After that you are at the first of three road crossings with access to Catawba. The first one is close to the grocery store (more of a gas station convenience store) and the funky 4 Pines Hostel. The Homeplace Restaurant in Catawba is very popular among hikers. It was closed the day I went through. Their hours are seasonal so check before you go. From this point all the way to US 220 at Daleville (if you get that far), camping is only allowed at designated areas. Also water can be hard to come by so ask so you have enough. After the third Catawba road crossing, it is a pretty easy hike to McAfee Knob. After that you get to Tinker Cliffs. Right after the cliffs you get to Scorched Earth Gap. From there you have two choices. You could take the Andy Layne Trail 3 miles down to the trail head at VA 779 or you could continue 10 miles to the trail head in Daleville at US 220 (close to all services).

    According to Map Man's historic NOBO thru hiker data, the peak of thru hikers will pass this section in mid May, but expect to see thru hikers all the way from April through June. However the triple crown sights are some of the most popular day hikes on the AT, so you are likely to see lots of day hikers in that area, especially on weekends and possibly over-nighters in the shelters near the road. I was there in mid summer which of course can be hot, but up in the mountains under the trees, I never found it oppressive.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Odd Man Out View Post
    Did you by chance mean a 43 MILE section? It only take a couple days to hike the VA Triple Crown so I'm not sure why you would plan a 43 DAY hike around this relatively short section.
    Wow, just noticed that typo. I meant a 3 or 4 day section hike. Yikes, this is why proofreading is important, lol.

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    Quote Originally Posted by soccerwonk View Post
    Wow, just noticed that typo. I meant a 3 or 4 day section hike. Yikes, this is why proofreading is important, lol.
    I had planned a 6 day hike and started a bit further south (Stony Creek), but my knee started to act up so I had to take a zero at the hostel and hiked up to McAfee Knob as a day hike with no pack. If you start at Sinking Creek, you could probably make it Daleville in 3 or 4 days, depending on how many miles a day you want to do. Dividing this section up can be tricky due to the camping restrictions. If you look at the map, you will notice this section runs more EW than NS. You cross several mountain ridges as the trail goes from the ridge along the WV border by Pearisburg to the Blue Ridge range that the trail follows from Roanoke all the way up to MD. The pattern is to climb a ridge, follow it for a while, then drop down to the valley, then repeat (I think all that up and down did a number on my knee). The tops of the ridges tend to be dry. The shelters, water sources, and trail heads tend to be on the sides of the ridges or in the valleys between the ridges. Once you pass Dragon's Tooth, you are on the same ridge all the way to Daleville. That's why water is so scarce on this long 24 mile section. You can camp up on a ridges south of Dragons Tooth but you would have to carry water. One of my best campsites ever was in the rocks on top of Sinking Creek Mountain. I could see the sun set on one side of my tent and rise on the other. The next ridge by the Audie Murphy Monument is an old fire road (I think) and is a big wide flat grassy field. Not much to look at, but very easy walking. There's even a bench to rest on.

  5. #5

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    april/beginning of May or sept/oct might be good
    May is a nice time of year there, but you will get some more thru-hikers then as you get further into May. But it's not a huge bubble that far along the trail... since some people have quit and the rest are spread out

    a bit too hot for me in july/aug

    Lots of section and day hikers there any time of the year, but moreso when it's good weather!

    You can start/end at daleville as one point. it's not too far after tinker cliffs. Homer knows the area and will give you a good deal if you need a shuttle:
    Homer and Therese Witcher. Will shuttle anywhere, when available. Live 2 miles from intersection of I-81 and US 220. [email protected] (H)(540)992-3932
    (C)(540)266-4849

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hikingjim View Post
    april/beginning of May or sept/oct might be good
    Homer knows the area and will give you a good deal if you need a shuttle:
    Homer and Therese Witcher. Will shuttle anywhere, when available. Live 2 miles from intersection of I-81 and US 220. [email protected] (H)(540)992-3932
    (C)(540)266-4849
    Thanks This is especially helpful. Been trying to figure out if we're going to get a shuttle or make our trip into a loop.

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