McAfee Knob - JNF
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Terrapin Mountain - JNF, Virginia


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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
10.1 mls
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:
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5 hours and 40 minutes with 1 hour and 30 minutes of breaks
2,658 ft
Jefferson National Forest

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Parking for the Terrapin Mouintain loop trail. 37.53088, -79.42825

By Trail Contributor: Zach Robbins ()

The Terrapin Mountain Trail in Jefferson National Forest is an excellent cold season option because of its abundant winter views and easy access on the eastern side of the Blue Ridge Parkway. It also has the benefit of lying due east of the largest Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, protecting it from the harsh west winds in the winter. You can try the short but steep out-and-back to Terrapin Mountain, or tackle the full loop which mostly follows forest roads along Reed Creek and tributaries on the return. From two overlooks you’ll have fantastic views of Apple Orchard Mountain, Thunder Ridge, and the Peaks of Otter. If you choose to take the entire loop, you’ll be treated to a surprise waterfall beside the trail near the end of the hike. 

Calculate roughly how many calories you could burn on the Terrapin Mountain hike:

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Hiker Reviews For The Terrapin Mountain Hike (5 Most Recent)
Review the Terrapin Mountain hike here!   Average Rating:   Share Hike: 

By: Kt Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 27, 2018
Challenging trail. Took us 7 hours to complete. Trail mustíve been remarked and sign posted since earlier reviews as we found this trail unambiguous and easy to follow. As an enthusiastic but only modestly fit hiker, the biggest challenge was carrying enough water. We did not see a single soul during the entire hike. This probably accounts for the description of this trail as a good cool weather option. The first third of the hike was very steep and parts were essentially a wash bed but the first vista was a great reward. The summit was a little hard to find (instructions above do not reflect new signage, but the summit is accessed by a spur off the summit trail which was initially confusing). The first wet crossing was such a relief for our tired feet. The end of the hike was pleasant and fun. We appreciated the incredible views from the first vista, ridge line, and the summit, as well as the varied terrain. It stormed while we were hiking, providing a welcome shower, and the rain did seem to have affected the water crossings. We only had one wet crossing and were able to rock hop across the remainder. I agree that the placement of the crossings doesnít exactly align with the guide above.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, May 20, 2018
Very poorly marked, and after 3 days of rain, Reed Creek was fast moving and dangerous. I didn't account for this and ended up lost as the trail had washed out. The option to hike back the way I came (about 7 miles around the loop) in the dark seemed dangerous. Ended up dialing 911, and getting help navigating down the mountain through some private property before getting picked up by Bedford County Fire Dept. Highly recommend not hiking this trail until it is remarked.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, February 25, 2018
We hiked this loop from the top lot and hiked counterclockwise thus reaching the summit within 1.5 miles of starting our trek. after the summit we continued down the mountain which was EXTREMELY slippery and rocky. At 8 miles were began crossing the creek (total of 6 crossings). The creek was VERY fast moving and high our day of hiking, and this made crossing nearly impossible on 3 of the 6 crossings. The final crossing I just gave up and walked half calf up to water through it for 20 yards. The mile marker stating 2.5 miles to the upper lot was a joke, as I've found are most trails as they evolve and signs aren't updated. In all, the loop was 13 miles. Would I hike this trail again? Absolutely. Do I wish the trail was adequately marked and millage accurate? For sure. Most hikers depend on markings to keep them on trail and depend on accurate milage to plan for water, food and daylight.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, October 07, 2017
I enjoyed this hike, but it was definitely a tough one! We did the loop and the first couple of miles are the most intense. Starts off remarkably steep, but then it suddenly gets even steeper and stays that way for a good portion of the way up. Great view, though not as scenic as other nearby hikes. I recommend doing this hike in the winter since the leaves block out much of the view while hiking along the ridge during the summer and early fall. The trail is not well marked in some areas and there are a number of forks along the way. We didn't have any trouble finding our way, but make sure to have a topo map or GPS on hand with directions handy just in case.

By: Bethany Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, December 29, 2016
Fantastic hike. I thought the directions provided were very helpful and pretty accurate although the mileage on my GPS watch was slightly different. I brought my dog along and we both really enjoyed the varied terrain. Great views throughout with no leaves on the trees and Reed Creek was beautiful!

    View all 9 reviews for the Terrapin Mountain hike
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