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Re: Trail Weather
How long do you have to hike? Also, is parking your car going to be
a concern? Certainly one area you would like to see/explore is
McAfee's Knob/Tinker Cliffs, immediately south of Cloverdale. Really
nice, but is a high traffic area on weekends. As you go south of
there, the trail goes West towards the VA/WVA border, before it
crosses back under 81 at Atkins, then heading off to Mt. Rogers.
If you go north from Cloverdale, you will be utilizing the Blue
Ridge Parkway for the most part, starting at MP 97 on the
Parkway heading North. Lots of pull out areas to park, but if
you are planning on overnighting, you should mention to the
Park Service what your plans are so they can monitor your vehicle.
The James River face is a really intense three day trip, if you
haven't done much up and down in awhile. Basically, park at
the Thunder Ridge Overlook, and start heading north. Marble
Springs campsite is a good very early campsite; then your next
sites are Matt Creeks Shelter and then Johns Hollow, if you
want to climb back up the other side of the gorge. It's about
a 25 mile hike from Thunder Ridge to Punchbowl Shelter and
out to the parkway, with some very stiff descents and ascents.
At the James River, the AT crosses at 610 feet; at Thunder Ridge,
the elevation is over 3500+ feet. On the other side of the
river, the you top out at over 3400+ feet.
The catch in all this if you're doing it by yourself is to
be able to get a hitch on the Parkway back to Thunder Ridge,
about 25 miles away. That can get tricky at times.
Hope this is helpful.