GWNF: Three Ridges - A Very Strenuous 14.4 Mile Hike!
Hikers who love steep climbs and stunning views live for these moments: standing astride a boulder outcrop, mountain scenery stretching to the horizon, and far below, tucked in a valley, the orchard . . .
The term wilderness conjures visions of craggy peaks and untamed woodland far from the beaten track. Virginia’s newest designated wilderness area, Three Ridges and the Priest region, isn’t quite that. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The Appalachian Trail bisects both peaks. The link between them, the Mau-Har Trail, follows Campbell Creek past a 40-foot waterfall and numerous smaller cascades. The treacherous terrain, soaring views, and sheer elevation gain makes this one of the most difficult and dramatic hikes in Virginia. " Hiking Virginia
Three Ridges Wilderness is located east of the Blue Ridge Parkway and north of the Tye River. Elevations range from 1000 feet at the Tye River to 4000 feet at Three Ridges. This area is generally very steep and rugged, consisting of undulating ridges with deep V-shaped hollows. Large rock outcrops are common, and there is spectacular scenery.
There are a total of 11 miles of trail within the wilderness. Also, eight miles of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (A.T., FT #1) run through this very rugged terrain. Our hike is a combination of trails and will cover the most rugged areas for a most strenuous hike. Several old home sites in the Three Ridges Wilderness are gradually being reclaimed by nature.
Three Ridges Wilderness is located in Nelson County in west central Virginia. It is managed by the U.S. Forest Service as part of the Glenwood-Pedlar Ranger Districts of the George Washington & Jefferson National Forests.
Very Strenuous Hike Pre-Approval Required:
Note that while this is a spectacular hike, it is very strenuous. This hike is much more challenging that Old Rag which many consider a strenuous hike. If have not earned the pre-approval "title" for our very strenuous hikes, you must contact the hike leader before signing up for this hike so you can make an informed decision together regarding this hike. It is dangerous to hike beyond your physical limitations. About 48 hours before the hike, I will check to see if anyone has signed up for this hike without contacting the leader and remove them for safety purposes. Thank you for your understanding and let's have a great time out there.
This hike will be led at a moderate pace of about 2.5mph and the average hiking pace used as a baseline in most hiking books. (most common pace).
Nearby City: Lovingston
Length: 14.4 total miles
Terrain: Dirt footpaths and old dirt forest roads run through steep mountain ridges, high-elevation rock outcrops, stream gorges, and sloping hardwood forests.
Elevation Gain: 5,053 Feet
Trail Type: Loop
Skill Level: Very Strenuous
Duration: About 10 hours but depends on hike pace
Trailhead Elev: 1,000 feet
Top Elev: 4,000 feet
Local Contacts: Anderson Marsh State Historic Park
Local Maps: USGS Massies Mill, Horseshoe Mountain, Sherando, Big Levels
Topo Map: PATC Map 12 and Three Ridges Topographic Map
Guide Book: Hiking Virginia (Burnham) Guide Book
We hike rain or shine!
There are 2 carpools for this hike!
Baltimore Area Carpool
To carpool or caravan with the hike leader from the Baltimore metro area, meet at Savage Station. Click here for directions to Savage Station.
DC Area Carpool
To carpool or caravan from the metro DC area, meetup at the Centerville Park and Ride. Click here for information and directions to the Centerville location.
If you can drive or want to carpool from additional locations, please post your location in the comment section below. For those who need a ride, reach out to the drivers. Make friends, and support the environment - by just offering a ride!
Directions to the Trailhead
Click Here for Directions to Where We Meetup for This Hike.
If you have any questions regarding directions, please contact the hike leader at the number provided below and not in the comment section. The comment section is more for member to member communication and arranging carpools.
Hike is at 9:00 a.m.
Carpool meetup time at Savage is 5:00 a.m.
Carpool meetup time at Centerville is 6:00 a.m.
Park Entrance Fee
Fido is Welcome on This Hike With Leader Approval
Let's have good times and see you on the trail!