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An eight-mile, out-and-back hike following the Appalachian Trail as it climbs over 3,000 ft to the summit of the Priest.


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Map Key

8.2

Miles

13.1

KM

Out and Back

4,090' 1,247 m

High

997' 304 m

Low

3,092' 942 m

Up

3,093' 943 m

Down

14%

Avg Grade (8°)

41%

Max Grade (22°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Fall Colors · Views

Overview

Strong hikers will enjoy the challenge of this climb and the views from the rock outcrops. Families or groups with slower members can set the first overview as a goal for the day.

Description

This trail is likely the most strenuous outing on the section of the AT maintained by the Natural Bridge Appalachian Trail Club ( AT: Natural Bridge Appalachian Trail Club). The hike starts from the parking area on VA-56 beside the Tye River.

Sustained steep climbs and descents combined with the rocky and rooted nature of the trail make this route a bit difficult to negotiate. The challenges are well-rewarded however! There are rocky overlooks on the southeast down into the Tye River Valley and northwest from the summit of the Priest.

If making the return journey in the same day sounds like a bit much, there is a shelter located near the summit of the Priest.

Contacts

Shared By:

John Phillips

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 22 votes

#737

Overall
  4.3 from 22 votes
5 Star
50%
4 Star
27%
3 Star
23%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#27

in Virginia

#737

Overall
55 Views Last Month
10,595 Since Jan 27, 2017
Difficult Difficult

0%
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14%
86%
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Photos

This rock overlook offers great views of the Tye River Valley to the southeast.
Jan 28, 2017 near Nellysford, VA
A beautiful bridge crosses the Tye River along the AT.
Jun 27, 2017 near Nellysford, VA
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Current Trail Conditions

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Check-Ins

Oct 8, 2022
Joe Pollard
Aug 14, 2021
Will Heinle
Went ahead to the shelter with two SoBo thru hikers. The terrain is characteristic of the region but the consistent steepness makes it difficult 10.2mi
Jul 22, 2020
Ileana Gonzalez
6h 30m
Jul 7, 2020
Helena S
Mar 21, 2020
Maddie McElfresh
Jul 17, 2019
Thaddeus W
Went for sunrise, took 2h hiking fast to get to a nice viewpoint off the trail to the right a little past the high point — 4h 00m
Jun 13, 2019
Joy Granados
Climbing down the priest about 3,000 ft in 12 miles 5mi — 3h 30m
Dec 18, 2018
Mike Dickerson
10h 13m
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