Virginia is home to 544 miles of the Appalachian Trial, more miles than any other state! And 101 of those miles lie in beautiful Shenandoah National Park and parallel to Skyline Drive.

The Appalachian Trial in Virginia also parallels the famous Blue Ridge Parkway, goes through Mount Rogers National Recreation Area in George Washington & Jefferson National Forests, and ends in Damascus, known as Trail Town USA, where the trail goes right down its main thoroughfare. 

Related Read: Gear Must Haves for Hiking

Appalachian Trail in Virginia
Appalachian Trail in Virginia

Here’s your guide to the Appalachian Trial in Virginia

Looking to hike parts of the Appalachian Trial in Virginia? Here’s your guide to the various portions of the trail.

Virginia’s Northern End of the Appalachian Trail 

The best time to hike this portion, 54 miles, is springtime and September through early November, making it the perfect time to see the fall foliage. Begin your hike at the border of Virginia/West Virginia in Clarke County. Many backpackers consider this portion of the A.T. perfect for spring break!

Tips Along the Way:

» Sky Meadows State Park in Fauquier County is a popular access point to the Appalachian Trail. Primitive campsites are available, too!

» G. Richard Thompson Wildlife Management Area in Fauquier County offers the greatest place to see wildlife. The trail covers the entire upper portion of the area and runs for about 7 miles. 

Shenandoah National Park of the Appalachian Trail 

The best time to hike this portion, 101 miles, is springtime and September through October. The Trail is well-graded, well-maintained and gentle grades for less-experienced hikers. The park facilities close in early November through March, and snow shuts down Skyline Drive to motorists. Although cross-country skiers and snowshoers are welcome!

Tips Along the Way:

» Shenandoah National Park offers two lodges, Skyland and Big Meadows, as well as plenty of campsites, waysides and camp stores along Skyline Drive, which the A.T. parallels. Backcountry permits are needed when camping along the trail in the Park. 

Virginia’s Central Portion of the Appalachian Trail 

The best time to hike this portion, 225 miles, is springtime and September through October. The Trail becomes more difficult the further south you travel, with many 2,000- to 3,000-footclimbs, crossing ridges and valleys. The Trail follows the Blue Ridge Parkway to Roanoke.

Tips Along the Way:

» George Washington & Jefferson National Forest in Bedford County offers many primitive campsites.

» Peaks of Otter in Bedford County has the Peaks of Otter Lodge and plenty of campsites. 

Virginia’s Southern End of the Appalachian Trail 

The best time to hike the southern end of the Appalachian Trial in Virginia, 166 miles, is May through October. The A.T. travels more westerly through the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests from Roanoke County to Pearisburg in Giles County. According to the Appalachian Trail Conference, this portion of the A.T. is the most remote and less traveled. By the time you reach Damascus, you’ll probably be ready for civilization again or you can begin your hike on either the Virginia Creeper Trail or Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail.

Tips Along the Way:

» Big Walker Lookout is a 100-foot tower to view the spectacular scenery.

» Mount Rogers National Recreation Area offers many campgrounds and Mount Rogers, the highest peak in Virginia and the Mount Rogers Scenic Byway.

» Grayson Highlands State Park features access to the A.T. and plenty of campsites, overlooks and wild ponies.

» Damascus is an ideal place to start or end your A.T. trek. Free parking is available and shuttles can be arranged for one-way hikes.

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  • Travel Dudes

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