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Climbing the Priest

Difficult

Trail

8.2 mile 13.1 kilometer out and back
Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 3,092' 942 m
Descent: -3,093' -943 m
High: 4,090' 1,247 m
Low: 997' 304 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 14% (8°)
Max Grade: 41% (22°)

Dogs

Leashed
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Trail shared by John Phillips

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

John Phillips

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.

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Check-Ins

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
Aug 28, 2018
Andrew Lilly
Strenuous 4.5 mile climb to a very nice viewpoint. Straight up, straight down. 9.1mi — 4h 30m
Aug 23, 2018
John Scrivani
Nice August weather. Great trail even with steep ascent. Limited view at summit 9mi
Jun 10, 2018
Imogen Bradbury
9.1mi
May 26, 2018
James Ortmann
Rain, deteriorating trail conditions, and a spoked dig turned us back before the summit. 5.4mi
Apr 18, 2018
John Glockner
9.4mi — 8h 00m

Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 13 votes

#1906

Overall
  4.2 from 13 votes
5 Star
46%
4 Star
31%
3 Star
23%
2 Star
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1 Star
0%
Hike Rankings

#51

in Virginia

#1,906

Overall
409 Views Last Month
5,834 Since Jan 27, 2017
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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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