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black Dragon's Tooth

  4.6 ( 16 ) Favorite

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4.8 mile 7.7 kilometer loop


Ascent: 1,162' 354 m
Descent: -1,174' -358 m
High: 2,889' 880 m
Low: 1,774' 541 m


Avg Grade: 9% (5°)
Max Grade: 31% (17°)


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Trail shared by Hiking Project Staff

A trail to an aptly-named outcrop of Tuscarora quartzite straddling Craig and Roanoke Counties!

Hiking Project Staff

Features River/Creek · Views


This fun loop hike is a great way to


Parking is directly off VA 311. From the Dragon's Tooth parking area, head towards the information kiosk and restrooms located at the rear of the parking area. The blue-blazed Dragon's Tooth Trail begins at the kiosk.

Go about 0.25 miles, crossing two small bridges before arriving at the intersection of the yellow-blazed Boy Scout connector trail. There are a couple of camping spots at this intersection, and if the creek is running, they are the only camping spots on the whole trail with a water source. You'll use the Boy Scout connector trail on the return trip. Bear to the right on the blue-blazed Dragon's Tooth Trail.

For the next 1.4 miles you'll cross the creek or creek bed about 7-8 times on a steady but easy climb to the intersection of the white blazed Appalachian Trail (A.T.) There are some great camping spots (no water source) at this intersection. Turn right onto the A.T., heading south towards the Dragon's Tooth.

Now the fun begins! The next 0.7 miles is one of the toughest parts of the A.T. that we have taken. The trail becomes very rocky, climbing multiple series of rock steps, the trail seemingly clinging to the edge of the mountain at times, near the top at two different places you'll use a series of U-shaped iron bar steps embedded in the rock due to the steepness of the trail, and a few overlooks to give you a breather prior to reaching the intersection of the blue-blazed Dragon's Tooth Spur Trail, bear left. Imagine doing this part of the trail as an A.T. thru-hiker with 25-35+ lbs on your back!

From there, it is less than 0.3 miles to Dragon's Tooth on an easy path. Keep your eyes open on the left for a paths leading to overlooks prior to reaching Dragons Tooth. Be sure to circle behind the Tooth, as there is a crevice that makes it possible to climb onto the Tooth. It is not the easiest climb, and if you don't feel comfortable, don't do it, be safe! There are plenty of good views without climbing the Tooth.


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May 15, 2019
Jason Hall
Apr 6, 2019
Beth Goodson
Mar 28, 2019
Andrew Lilly
Great hike with better views at the top 4.8mi — 3h 15m
Jan 26, 2019
Cynthia Bustos
Nov 14, 2018
Allison Klein
Oct 17, 2018
Shane McNabb
Oct 12, 2018
Conor Murphy
Sep 3, 2018
Dave Shanton
Hiked up pre sunrise. Thankful for the arrows and markings especially where the trail hugs the rock face.

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 16 votes


  4.6 from 16 votes
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