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  1. #1
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    Default Dragon's tooth, McAfee Knob, Tinker Cliffs section

    I'm planning a section hike in July from VA 621 (Craig Creek Road) to Daleville. This section has been recommended in this forum several times and I'm excited about all of it.. I prefer not sleeping in shelters but didn't see many designated camping spots in my AT Guide. Does anyone recall many non-shelter camping spots in this section? How about recommendation for shuttle from Daleville to VA 621? Also, I'll appreciate any other general or specific advice about the section.

  2. #2
    Registered User swjohnsey's Avatar
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    Don't remember many specific places but there are plenty. Just after Dragon's Tooth is a nice spot "Lost Eyeglasses" or some such. Allow a lot of time for Dragon's Tooth it is slow going.

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    There's camping at/near all the shelter locations as I recall. Lambert's Meadow has some good spots that are far enough north of the shelter to not really notice the crowd (if one even existed).

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    There is a camping ban from 728 all the way to Daleville I believe. (It might end at the Pig Farm site?)
    The only camping in that are is at the shelters (not many good tent sites) and on a designated campsite
    with a fire ring between the shelters. This includes hanger's.
    This area probably gets more traffic than any other part of the AT.

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    Registered User tarditi's Avatar
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    Lambert's Meadow was our favorite camp - still tell stories about it.

    I thought it was no camping on Tinker's Cliffs and McAffee knob, but there were some used fire rings when we were there a few years ago.

    Dragon's tooth is worth the extra trip - just a cool place.

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    Quote Originally Posted by swjohnsey View Post
    .... Allow a lot of time for Dragon's Tooth it is slow going.
    Unless you are trying to beat a thunderstorm into 4 Pines Hostel, then it is scary fast.

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    1,630 miles and counting earlyriser26's Avatar
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    Years ago we camped at dragons tooth. A nice sandy area that could take several tents. Don't know if you are allowed to camp there today. And you have to tote water to the spot. This one of my favorite sections on the trail. The climb down on the North side of Dragons tooth I recall was a bit of a rock scramble.
    There are so many miles and so many mountains between here and there that it is hardly worth thinking about

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    Registered User LittleRock's Avatar
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    You can camp away from the shelters, but most of the water sources in that section are near the shelters so you will need to dry camp. If I remember correctly, there was a decent spot at Dragon's Tooth, which is 0.1 mi off trail. The Pig Farm and Lamberts Meadow camping areas were also nice.

    The toughest part going NOBO was coming down from Dragon's Tooth. I remember having to stop and take off my pack several times in order to climb down. It's slow going, but the rock scramble is only a mile or so long. McAfee Knob is gorgeous, but it's also easy to get there from the road so expect plenty of company.
    It's all good in the woods.

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    Registered User scope's Avatar
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    This is why you should hang. There will always be a spot to hang, but you'll never know where the next good flat spot is going to be.

    p.s. if you arrive late and leave early, and don't make a campfire, you can camp just about anywhere, anytime.
    "I wonder if anyone else has an ear so tuned and sharpened as I have, to detect the music, not of the spheres, but of earth, subtleties of major and minor chord that the wind strikes upon the tree branches. Have you ever heard the earth breathe... ?"
    - Kate Chopin

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    Here are the links to the website with official information regarding this section from the local trail club responsible for that section. There is no dispersed camping allowed from VA624 (road crossing at 4 Pines Hostel) to US 220 (Daleville). In that section there are seven places you can camp: John's Spring Shelter, Catawba Mountain Campsite and Shelter, Campbell Shelter. Pig Farm Campsite, Lamberts Meadow Shelter and Campsite. I believe you would be allowed to camp next to a shelter, but I'm not sure what sites may be available. There are few reliable water sources in this section so plan accordingly.

    South of VA624, dispersed camping is allowed. However, the hike from VA 620 (Miller Cover Rd) to VA 624 (the Dragon's Tooth section) goes up the mountain and then follows a narrow ridge, so there are not many places suitable for camping that I recall, except for Lost Spectacles Gap (mentioned above - no water). This is about halfway down from Dragon's Tooth (going north). It is where the trail splits - day hikers take the access trail following the drainage to the left to the parking lot on (VA 311) while the AT follows the ridge a bit further before dropping down to the right to VA 624 (see map link). Also in this section is Pickle Branch Shelter which I skipped as it requires a bit of elevation loss to get to (and elevation gain to get back to the trail).

    I camped by Trout Creek at the VA 620 road crossing. This is an unpaved mountain road that gets little traffic so it was pretty quiet, but there could be car campers there - you never know. In my case my knee had given out and it was late in the day, so I had no choice to stop there for the night. There are large open flat areas you can camp. Trout creek is a good water source and one of the last if going NOBO so drink up

    The section from VA 621 to 620 goes up and over Brush Mountain past the Audie Murphy Monument (off a short spur trail). The trail on this ridge must be an old road as it is wide and flat and grass covered (could could probably land a plane on it - plus there is a bench at the top of the climb!). You could camp here but if starting at VA 621 you may not be ready to stop yet.

    If you have time I might suggest adding the next section further south from VA 630 to VA 621. This goes over Sinking Creek Mountain. Again there is a shelter along the ridge (Sarver Hollow) which I skipped to avoid the elevation gain/loss, but on the way down Nicay Shelter is right on the trail. I carried water up so I could camp on the ridge. Some sections are wide and flat, but other sections are rocky. I found a small spot in the rocks just big enough for a tent. It was my best campsite ever. I could see the sun go down on one side of my tent and rise on the other. Sinking Creek is a good water source. I don't recall about Niday.

    http://www.ratc.org/wp-content/uploa...N.OFFICIAL.pdf

    http://www.ratc.org/mcafee-knob-and-the-triple-crown/

    http://www.hikingupward.com/jnf/drag...images/Map.pdf

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    Thanks Odd. I had forgot about that map.

    "Sinking Creek is a good water source. I don't recall about Niday."

    Niday actually has a good stream across the trail from the shelter turn off. It has has good water even in the driest years. The key is to keep going across the first tiny stream bed and follow it down about 40/50 feet and turn left. That is where the main stream is. Many people never get to see that spot. If you make your way down the main stream a little ways, there is a nice little place to clean up.

    V8


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  12. #12
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    Thanks everyone for the good info. Is there safe parking near AT crossing at US 220 in Daleville?

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    GA-ME Feb. 27th–July 1st, 2016 lwhikerchris's Avatar
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    You can probably park in the Howard Johnson lot if you ask them, which is really close to the trail. Also, don't pass up 4 Pines hostel at the foot of Dragons Tooth and The Homeplace restaurant!
    John GoodMan

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by rwd111 View Post
    Thanks everyone for the good info. Is there safe parking near AT crossing at US 220 in Daleville?
    There's a commuter-type parking lot with access to the AT. I parked there for several days a few weeks ago and had no problem. There were a lot of cars in the lot.

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    IIRC... not much camping to be had between Dragons Tooth and Pickle Branch shelter, except just north of that shelter. I was paying attention to that very matter.

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    Another way to do this section is using the Andy Layne Trail. It is a shorter way to ger from/to Tinker Cliffs.

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    Registered User hobbs's Avatar
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    If you looking for parking the commuter lot is patrolled nightly by the sheriffs department...Homer Wyatt is the shuttler in the area.He's listed in th ATC shuttle providers list...Hope this helps someone...
    My love for life is quit simple .i get uo in the moring and then i go to bed at night. What I do inbween is to occupy my time. Cary Grant

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