June 10


Virginia Triple Crown – [2024 Update] Unofficial Trail Guide

Written by Brian Bailey

June 10, 2021

Difficult, Dragons Tooth, McAfee Knob, Tinker Cliffs

Virginia Triple Crown Statistics


Distance in Miles


Elevation Gain in Feet


Hike Time in Days


Iconic Picture Spots

Virginia Triple Crown Hay Rock Yonoke

Virginia Triple Crown - Unofficial Trail Guide

 Bucket List       Backpacking        Epic  

Virginia Triple Crown is a 27.7 mile section of the Appalachian Trail going through Roanoke, Va. The Triple Crown starts at Dragons Tooth following the trail to McAfee Knob then to Tinker Cliffs. The Triple Crown is completed either by taking the Andy Layne Spur Trail down to the Tinker Cliffs parking lot, continuing past the parking lot and looping down North Mountain back to Dragons Tooth, or continuing down the Appalachian Trail past Hay Rock and exiting at U.S. 220 intersection. 

Editor's Note: We try hard to be accurate in our reporting but please always use multiple references before driving to a trailhead as trail amenities and conditions can always change.

Virginia Triple Crown Location & Trail Conditions

Virginia Triple Crown Best Picture Locations

The three iconic locations for pictures on the Virginia Triple Crown Loop will most likely be at McAfee Knob, Tinker Cliffs & Dragon's Tooth.

Virginia Triple Crown Dragons Tooth Yonoke

How long does it take to hike the Virginia Triple Crown?

Virginia Triple Crown is about a 28 mile hike depending where you drop in a drop out. I took this over a course of three days. The first day was a short hike to Dragons Tooth, then about a 17 mile trip with an overnight around Tinker Cliffs and then the last 11 miles to Hay Rock Trailhead parking lot. 

What trailhead should you park at for the Triple Crown Loop?

I like the Dragons Tooth Trailhead the best for the Triple Crown Loop. It's not as busy as Mcafee Knob Trailhead, not as small as Tinker Cliffs Trailhead, and it seems safer than Hay Rock Trailhead.

Virginia Triple Crown Water Sources

This was a big one that I overlooked. The water sources around Dragons Tooth and Tinker Cliffs are plentiful but it's worth planning your water fill ups around the McAfee Knob area. More information about Virginia Triple Crown Water Sources.

You might also like: 20 Best Hikes Near Roanoke Va

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