McAfee Knob - JNF
Appalachian Trail's most photographed
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North Mountain Trail - Catawba, VA

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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
12.2 mls
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:
7.0 hours with half hour for lunch
3,350 ft
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Park in the lot on Route 779 (Catawba Road). 37.45744, -80.01747

By Trail Contributor: Jeff Monroe

The North Mountain Trail was once an alignment of the Appalachian Trail, back when landowners did not give permission for the trail to approach McAfee Knob and before the National Park Service purchased land for the present route. The North Mountain Trail remains in use today, close to three of the top hiking destinations in Virginia (McAfee Knob, Dragon’s Tooth, and Tinker Cliffs) and allows a backpacker to connect all three in a loop of about 37 miles.  The North Mountain Trail has nothing of note along its distance when compared to its nearby superstar destinations with few if any summer views, and there is usually no water to be found along its length.  However, it does offer solitude and multiple campsites.  And if you are backpacking the entire Triple Crown, this trail completes your loop.

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Early March
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