Top 5 Best Hikes in Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains

I love to hike whether I’m home or far away, but most of the time, I’m looking for hikes in Virginia. The state might not be known worldwide for its trails, but it has some treasures if you know where to look.  Here are my five favorite hikes in Virginia, all in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and all perfect for locals and travelers alike.

Check out the best hikes in Virginia and plan a great trip! Full article at https://sightdoing.net/best-hikes-in-virginia/

Virginia Hike #5: Devil’s Marbleyard (8.3 miles)

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On top of the “Marbles”

This hike is a natural wonder in an area full of man-made cheesy tourist attractions (interested in Natural Bridge laser shows or Foamhenge?).  It’s a 5.5-hour round-trip with a rocky playground, so it’s not unheard of to add more time just for climbing the massive boulders.

best hikes in va / virginia hikes devil's marbleyard
Find the person in this photo to get a sense of scale on these boulders.

There’s a great sidetrip on the Appalachian Trail to add an additional hour to your journey and include a nice Blue Ridge panorama if you’re feeling ambitious.

Virginia Hike #4: Crabtree Falls (4.4 miles)

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Crabtree Falls in late summer

Crabtree Falls is my favorite short hike in the state.  In just three hours, you’ll witness an area which is rumored to have the tallest waterfalls east of the Mississippi (my opinion: they’re not, since it’s not one continuous waterfall).  It’s a great day trip from Charlottesville, especially in spring when the water levels are at their highest.

>>>>> Read more: Fall in Charlottesville

For a longer hike, combine this with either Spy Rock or The Priest, both also excellent options.  Do Crabtree Falls first thing in the morning before it gets crowded and then drive to the next one in the afternoon.  Serious trekkers can link all three together for a single, 16+ mile hike of about 8.5 hours.  Yup, I did it and LOVED the whole thing.

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Nearby, at The Priest

Virginia Hike #3: Old Rag (8.0 miles)

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Views from along the Old Rag Trail

Shenandoah National Park is overrated.  I’ve been there numerous times because it’s easy to get to, but in my “expert” opinion, the areas further south on the Blue Ridge Parkway are more beautiful than Shenandoah.

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Start climbing!

Regardless, Old Rag is a really fun day hike.  A lot of the “hike” is more about scrambling up the rocks than walking along a trail, so be prepared for some climbing.  Along with the enjoyment of getting there, you’ll get some great views at the top.  Be prepared for crowds.

>>>>> Related Post: Hiking Old Rag in the Winter

Virginia Hike #2: McAfee Knob (8.3 miles)

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A great panoramic viewpoint from McAfee Knob

McAfee Knob is one of the most well-known sections of the Appalachian Trail and for good reason: it’s fun and downright gorgeous.  The overlook is unique, and just a little scary, but it makes for a very romantic sunset spot.

You’ll find the trailhead in Catawba, VA, so it’s a fun weekend combined with a Virginia Tech football game or massive meal at The Homestead (it’s a legend!).

Want more hiking?  We combined this with Tinker Cliffs and Dragon’s Tooth trails for an insanely awesome backpacking trip known as the Triple Crown of Virginia.

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Watch your step!

Virginia Hike #1: The Appalachian Trail through Grayson Highlands State Park (any length)

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Spectacular anytime of year, but the fall colors are lovely.

Grayson Highlands State Park is my favorite section of Virginia.  People describe it like the Highlands of Scotland, which I’ve never been to, but I can confirm this state park is breathtaking.

The spur trail to Mt. Rogers (the tallest point in Virginia) was a bit anticlimactic, but I love the Appalachian Trail as it passes through the park and several regional paths.  Even if you’re just hiking a mile or two, you’ll likely meet some wild ponies, but serious hikers will find opportunities for long hikes as well.

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No filter on this photo – just the eerie view of wild ponies in the fog.

 

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Ready for some backcountry camping

Related Posts: The Great Channels of Virginia and the Creeper Trail are both nearby in Abingdon!  Plan a great long weekend 🙂

Plan Your Virginia Vacation

REI and Blue Ridge Mountain Shops are consistently stocked with topographical maps and trail books to help plan your journey.  Otherwise, Hiking Upward is a great resource for beginning information.

To add variety to your trip and include some activities other than hiking, be sure to check out my list of Virginia travel resources.  This guide to the best of my home state will get you started with city attractions, restaurants, and activities you hadn’t heard of before!

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12 thoughts on “Top 5 Best Hikes in Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains”

  1. LOVE this. I did the McAfee Knob hike a few years ago when I was working on a project in the area. I have the same backpack 🙂

  2. I love hiking so much! I backpacked for years but most of our Virginia hiking was in the Southern part of the State in the Mount Rogers National Recreation area.The area is known for its trails of varied difficulty (somehow, I think all of mine were the difficult ones!) and the trails often incorporate parts of the Appalachaian Tral. The vegetative variety is incredible as well -deciduous forests, spruce stands, alpine meadows… You can even find wild ponies! In the spring the rhododendron area is just too beautiful for words.
    Thanks for the great reminder!

  3. Please recommend trails about10-12miles/ one day trip since I live at leonia New Jersey and like to hike va spruce or mcfee . However there are too many trails to choose .
    Plan to hike 4-5 members In April
    Your guidance would be appreciated

    1. @Gwang, McAfee’s Knob is one of my favorites…it’s only 8.3 miles, but since it’s attached to the Appalachian Trail, you can go further to easily tack on some additional distance. I also recommend the website hikingupward.com for hiking information and maps!

  4. Pingback: 5 Facts About the Great Channels of Virginia to Impress Your Friends - The Girl and Globe

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