Reeds Gap to Dripping Rock AT

  • Highlights: Great views, Cedar Cliffs, Appalachian Trail
  • Distance: 9.6 miles out and back
  • Elevation Change: 831 feet
  • Trail Surface: Dirt with rocky sections
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate/strenuous (distance, rocky sections)
  • Trailhead Parking: Reeds Gap, Blue Ridge Parkway MP 13.7
  • Website: Virginia Trail Guide
  • Beer Pairings: Skipping Rock Beer Co.—Roasted Pecan Brown Ale & Bru-1 IPA

The Hike:

This hike has some great views. Our first attempt at this hike was on a rainy, foggy day in May with near zero visibility. After about a mile, we decided to return when we could see more than 100’ feet. Fast forward four months and we had perfect weather and a great day on the AT.

From the Reeds Gap parking area (space for about 25 cars but they fill up fast as this is also a starting point for the popular Three Ridges hike) cross Route 664 and head north on the white blazed AT. Reach the Three Ridges overlook at .6 miles. Sure you can drive on the Parkway to this overlook, but what fun is that? 

Follow the AT across the Parkway. The next few miles pass through some rocky sections as you pass beside some cool rock formations. The trail undulates a bit with no significant elevation changes. It’s a nice walk through the woods.

At 3.7 miles reach a sign pointing to an overlook on the left. A short spur trail leads to some nice views of the valley and Sherando Lake. Cedar Cliffs at 4.3 miles has some even better views to the west and north. Continue north to the Parkway at 4.8 miles. There is a small parking area at Dripping Rocks which can be an alternate starting point. Retrace your steps on the AT heading south to return to Reeds Gap and your vehicle.

Hike Photos:

Click on an image below for an enlarged view.

Beer Pairing: 

The Wintergreen area has lots of good post-hike beer options. However, we heard many good things about Skipping Rock Beer Co. in Staunton and decided to give them a try. Located about 35 minutes from the trailhead, Skipping Rock is well worth a visit. They have indoor and outdoor seating, are dog friendly, and have a variety of food options available including Za Spot pizza.

A hint of fall was in the air which was all Pete needed to try the Roasted Pecan Brown (4.9% ABV • 30 IBU). This English-style brown ale made with hand-roasted pecans would be perfect in any season. Caramel and toffee flavors balance the nuttiness of this excellent beer. Kathy really liked Bru-1 IPA (6.5% ABV • 30 IBU). Part of their single hop series, this New England IPA brewed with just Bru-1 hops which impart distinct notes of pineapple & tropical citrus fruit. 

Hike and drink responsibly. Never drink and drive. Stay safe, be responsible, and leave no trace.