Appalachian Trail - Overnight Backpacking Loop

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Embark on the thrilling Overnight Backpacking Loop on the Appalachian Trail, commencing and concluding at the Rt. 311 Appalachian Trail trailhead in Virginia. This epic journey spans approximately 32 miles, perfect for a three-night backpacking excursion filled with awe-inspiring landscapes and natural wonders. To begin, hike northward on the Appalachian Trail towards the iconic McAfee Knob, boasting unparalleled panoramic views of the surrounding wilderness. After enjoying this breathtaking sight, veer left onto the Andy Layne Trail, continuing until you intersect with the North Mountain Trail. Follow the North Mountain Trail southward until you reach Rt. 311. Cross over and ascend towards the renowned Dragon's Tooth, a geological marvel offering a challenging yet rewarding ascent. After conquering Dragon's Tooth, continue your journey by retracing your steps northward along the Appalachian Trail, eventually leading you back to the Rt. 311 parking lot, marking the conclusion of your unforgettable adventure Camping along the trail is regulated: between Rt. 311 and Andy Layne Trail, camping is only permitted at designated shelters and sites adjacent to shelters. The same rules apply between Rt. 624 and Rt. 311. For a suggested itinerary, on the first night, camp at one of the shelters along the trail. On the second night, settle near the Andy Layne Trail shelter. Finally, for the third night, camp at the designated site along the Dragon's Tooth Trail. Conveniently, a quarter-mile south on Rt. 311 from the Dragon's Tooth trail parking lot, there's a convenience store where you can stock up on any last-minute necessities or treats before concluding your adventure. Embark on this unforgettable Appalachian Trail journey, where nature's beauty awaits at every turn.

  • Map View:
  • Directions: •From Roanoke - take I-81 south to exit 141.

    •Turn left at the traffic light onto route 419 (Electric Rd.) and follow 0.4 miles to next traffic light (Rt. 311).

    •Turn right onto route 311N and follow 5.6 miles to the top of the mountain.

    •The trailhead parking lot is at the very top on the left.

  • Difficulty Level: Difficult
  • Distance in Miles - Round Trip: 32
  • Friday Hours: Open
  • Monday Hours: Open
  • Saturday Hours: Open
  • Sunday Hours: Open
  • Thursday Hours: Open
  • Tuesday Hours: Open
  • Wednesday Hours: Open