Backpacking VA: Spy Rock, The Priest, Three Ridges to Rockfish Gap (40 miles)

This is a past event

Location image of event venue


This will be a four day backpacking trip northbound on the AT. The last day will be shorter so people have plenty of time to get home for New Year’s activities. There will be an option on the last day for an out and back hike to Crabtree Falls.
This is winter backpacking, with long miles on the middle two days, with some of the shortest daylight durations of the year. Microspikes will be mandatory! We will rise early to take advantage of the daylight, but be prepared to hike some in the dark. Be sure you have working headlamps and extra batteries. For a full list of winter backpacking essentials, check Jim’s Backpacking 101 file:

Day 1 (5 miles): We will meet at the Rockfish Gap Tourist Information Center [masked], [masked]) and drop cars, taking remaining cars to the Montebello Fish Hatchery. We’ll hike from Montebello Fish Hatchery [masked], [masked]) up to the Appalachian Trail and to Spy Rock, probably the best viewpoint in the central Blue Ridge. The rock outcrop, at 3,980 feet elevation, provides a 360 degree panoramic view of numerous mountain summits. From there, we’ll continue to the Priest Shelter to make camp.

Day 2 (14 miles): Our most strenuous day, we’ll hike down, down, down the Priest and then back up, up, up Three Ridges, ending the day at the Maupin Field Shelter. There are fantastic views on the way up and down the Priest (though not at the summit) and even more heading up 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.

Day 3 (16 miles): Longer miles, but not as much elevation gain today, as we hike from the Maupin Field Shelter to the Paul C. Wolfe Shelter, passing a number of viewpoints, including Humpback Rocks. After the Humpback mountain summit, it’s pretty much all downhill for about six miles to the shelter.

Day 4 (5 miles): This is a pretty straightforward hike to the end. Once we return to the cars, there will be an option to stop at the Crabtree Falls lot just down the road. Crabtree Falls is a series of waterfalls, all beautiful and tall but not one distinct drop. There are 3 distinct sections. The lowest section is the tallest and consists of many drops, the lowest right near the parking lot. The middle section is a single drop through a crevice surrounded by trees and moss, it is wildly different than the lowest section. The upper waterfall is the largest single drop over a massive cliff.

Weather forecast:

Sunset ~5:06 PM
Sunrise ~7:30 AM
Carpooling fees
Please secure your ride by posting your comments and coordinate amongst yourselves. Making friends & sharing cost.
* If you can offer a ride: From where and how many you can take. *If you need a ride: From where or carpool location.
* Carpool ride is NOT a free ride: The round trip from Centerville is about 500 miles. Please pay your driver(s) a minimum of $15/pp.

How to find us
Grey Honda Pilot and David’s cell is[masked]

Washington Backpackers Liability Terms
By RSVPing or being part of this trip, you agree to liability terms mentioned below:

Attendees (1)