If you’re looking for a beautiful hike in Virginia, you could spend all day just sorting through the options. From coastal hikes to mountainous terrain, there are hundreds upon hundreds of miles just waiting to be explored. So claiming one hike as more beautiful than all the rest is debatable, but Dragon Tooth is undoubtedly a contender. Here’s more about this memorable and quintessential Virginia hike:
Located just outside of Catawba, Dragon Tooth Trail is a 4.3-mile out and back trail that is part of the noteworthy Appalachian Trail. It’s consistently popular among all sorts of hikers, despite being a bit of a scramble to the top. Like many trails in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Dragon Tooth offers a scenic view whose beauty could rival anywhere in the country.
The aptly-named trail is most famous for the dramatic rock formation located at its peak. From the top of Cove Mountain emerges the Tuscarora quartzite which looks as intimidating and magical as its name implies.
Hikers can access the trail via VA-311, following signs for the trail head and parking area. There you will find information about the trail, which is signified by a blue blaze. Early on in the trek you’ll cross a couple of small bridges and follow alongside a creek. After a short distance, the trail intersects with the white-blazed Appalachian Trail, which you will then follow to the top of the peak.
This section of the hike is the hardest, but most rewarding. You’ll encounter a series of rock steps to help guide you up the incline of rocks. Feel free to take a rest along any of the overlooks. The view is not to be missed, and you’ll appreciate a break! Depending on the time of year, you'll want to look around for some beautiful and unique blooms along the way.
After the intense climb, it’s a quick 1/4 mile until you’ll reach Dragon Tooth. You can carefully climb onto the rock formation by following the trail behind. No matter how you choose to appreciate this view, you’ll be in for a real treat. As you can tell by the above photography, the landscape is especially breathtaking in the fall.
Many hikers choose to either make the climb during sunrise or sunset, creating an especially breathtaking view as the colors explode over the 360-degree view of mountains. Located nearby is the equally-popular McAfee Knob, which will seem comparatively easier after hiking Dragon Tooth.
Have you recently hiked Dragon Tooth? We’d love to hear about your experience there, or about any of your other favorite Virginia trails!