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  1. #1
    Registered User kolokolo's Avatar
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    Default Camp Sites between The Priest Shelter and Harpers Creek Shelter?

    Hi All,

    I'm planning to section from US60 to Rockfish Gap later this year, and was wondering if there are any places to camp between The Priest Shelter and Harpers Creek Shelter.

    I know that going NB there's a steep five mile downhill followed by a steep two mile uphill, with Crabtree Falls highway/VA 56/Tye River in between. Are there any campsites at, say, Cripple Creek, or near the river? Anywhere else in this stretch?

    Thanks for any info.


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    Formerly uhfox

    Springer to Bear Mountain Inn, NY
    N Adams, MA to Clarendon VT
    Franconia Notch to Crawford Notch

  2. #2

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    It's been a while. I won't count on a spot at Cripple creek. There is a good sized spot at the Tye river, but it's also basically on the road. Harpers Creek shelter has one of the nicest settings in VA and is well worth the effort to get there.
    Last edited by Slo-go'en; 07-09-2017 at 22:42.
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  3. #3
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    You're basically running all downhill from the Priest to 56... then back up to Harpers... the only spot I can think of is the above spot RIGHT on 56 at the bridge. We stayed at Harper's creek then just shy of humpback on a dry ridge the next night. There are a lot of spots from 3 ridges on.... but really can't remember many others on the stretch ur asking about.

  4. #4
    Registered User LittleRock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UHFox View Post
    I'm planning to section from US60 to Rockfish Gap later this year, and was wondering if there are any places to camp between The Priest Shelter and Harpers Creek Shelter.
    I know that going NB there's a steep five mile downhill followed by a steep two mile uphill, with Crabtree Falls highway/VA 56/Tye River in between. Are there any campsites at, say, Cripple Creek, or near the river? Anywhere else in this stretch?
    I don't remember seeing any good campsites between The Priest and VA 56. You could probably set up camp on the north side of the Tye River bridge, but I wouldn't recommend it since you're only about 100 yards from the road at that point.

    I remember seeing some flat space suitable for camping up on top of the ridge where the AT meets the Mau-Har trail, but there's no water so you're probably just better off walking the extra mile or so down to Harper's Creek Shelter rather than carry water up from the river.

    As others have noted, Harper's Creek is a great spot - nice creek flowing right in front of the shelter and lots of good campsites nearby. It also sets you up in a good spot to knock out a tough climb up Three Ridges at the beginning of the day.
    It's all good in the woods.

  5. #5

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    Cripple Creek - Zero camping, the trail passes the creek in a hairpin switchback - great water source for us, but on the side of a steep hill.
    56: Once you walk over the Tye River footbridge, there is plenty of tenting along the north side of this river. We took a swim and had a nice visit with local Sheriffs department. Good people up there.
    My suggestion would be to move on past this to knock out the first of 2 climbs up 3ridges. The shelter area around harpers and its surround .2 mile radius south of the shelter has enough space for probably 50 tents. If you are not a strict logistical planner, and do not mind tenting that close to roads, then the Tye river would be a very nice spot during swimming months of the year.

    3ridges: There is tenting at the top, and no water the whole way up, nor at the top. I do not remember the next time we had water availability but I want to say it was at the Maupin field shelter but possible had a source on the down hill of 3 ridges.

    NOTE** Everyone we were passing going sobo warned us of rattlesnakes on the southern side of the climb up. We didn't see any on south side but did see a nice one on the climb down the north side.

    Humpback: At the TH for humpback there was a road side pool but I wouldn't say it was reliable year round. Next GOOD water was Paul C Wolf shelter, very nice shelter and surrounding area with a strong flowing creek I would say probably runs year round. From there it is an easy 5miles to Rockfish.

    I did this section 1 week ago, finishing the state of VA at Rockfish Gap.
    My trip:
    Day 1 - Salt Log Gap to Harpers Creek Shelter
    Day 2 - Harpers Creek to Paul C Wolf
    Day 3 - Paul C Wolf to Rockfish Gap

    From US 60 to Rockfish Gap - I would rate this section at the top of the list in difficulty IN MY EXPERIENCES for Virginia. Runner up would probably be the Daleville to James River how ever the climb I remember specifically thru there was the Jennings creek north to James river over apple orchard mountain.
    Trail Miles: 4,007.6 - AT Trips: 70
    AT Map 1: 2004.8
    AT Map 2: 265.0
    Sheltowee Trace Map: 84.0
    BMT Map: 57.7
    Pinhoti Trail Map: 0.0

  6. #6
    Registered User kolokolo's Avatar
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    Hey Gambit, Did you start this hike at Salt Log Gap? Do you remember any good campsites close by? I'm heading out this week and hope to make my first night's stop somewhere near there.

    Definitely going to aim for Harper's Creek shelter for the second night.
    Formerly uhfox

    Springer to Bear Mountain Inn, NY
    N Adams, MA to Clarendon VT
    Franconia Notch to Crawford Notch

  7. #7
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    I did Rock Fish sobo to 60 in lil over 2 days at the end of march. Agree with Gambit, was fairly challenging terrain given the torrential downpours! I rarely stay in shelters but highly recommended Harpers creek shelter. I stopped for lunch there on day 2, great spot.

    My trip itinerary
    Mid day start at Rockfish got to Maupin Field shelter just after dark. Rained from about midnight on through the following day. Late start around 10...waiting on the rain. Gave up and hiked to Harpers Creek shelter ate lunch...didn't take short cut but given weather I should have! Lil after dark made it to Seeley Woodworth shelter, still raining and no one else was there so me and the pup stayed there for the night. Last day were up and hiking around 6 and made it to my truck around noon. Nice section....






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  8. #8

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    UHFOX: I do recall some but I don't have details on them. I know that south of the hog gap parking area there was a mountainous field with a tenting area that would be nice but no water there. just north 100 yards past hog gap road there was a water source.

    Salty: That was some good miles.. And I like that photo
    Trail Miles: 4,007.6 - AT Trips: 70
    AT Map 1: 2004.8
    AT Map 2: 265.0
    Sheltowee Trace Map: 84.0
    BMT Map: 57.7
    Pinhoti Trail Map: 0.0

  9. #9

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    Excellent camping at the Priest overlook, bring water. Good spots at the falls on the Mau-Har Trail.

  10. #10
    Registered User dukakis's Avatar
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    Mau-Har trail should be on the AT. Loved every minute of hiking next to waterfalls. Three Ridges was a huge letdown for all of the effort it required.

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