You may be familiar with the Triple Crown of thru-hiking, but if not, it consists of hiking the Appalachian Trail (A.T.), the Continental Divide Trail (C.D.T.), and the Pacific Crest Trail (P.C.T). Completing all three of these bad boys will give the much deserved hiker the title of being a Triple Crown Thru Hiker. That sounds great and all, but who has the time for that?
This is where section hiking comes in. All you have to do is pick a long trail that you would like to hike a section of. Not necessarily one of the trails above, but for the Virginia Triple Crown you’ll find yourself hiking on the A.T. The Virginia Triple Crown is located outside of Roanoke in the Blue Ridge Mountains along the Appalachian Trail, and is comprised of three geological structures: Dragon’s Tooth, McAfee Knob, and Tinker Cliffs. Each can be hiked individually as day hikes or combined over a multi-day backpacking trip consisting of a loop path.
The “traditional” Virginia Triple Crown hike is an approximate 37-mile loop that includes the North Mountain Trail that parallels the A.T. Hikers can start at any of the trailheads leading up to the structures and proceed to hike northbound (NOBO) or southbound (SOBO). Each crown offers its own special and unique quality. Dragon’s Tooth features a 35-foot quartzite spire shooting up out of the earth. McAfee Knob is visited by over 60,000 people every year and features a breathtaking view from the overhanging ledge. Tinker Cliffs provides a vast and beautiful view of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the South.
Whichever way you choose to tackle this section hike, know that there are rock scrambles, large elevation gains and losses, and an overall, unforgettable trip. The Virginia Triple Crown offers a perfect combination of beauty, challenge, and reward. At a deeper level, it can provide the necessary experience to search oneself and discover your grit, determination, and love for the outdoors.
Check out next week’s blog about my solo hike of the Virginia Triple Crown and meeting some furry friends along the way.
Hope From the Trail
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