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  1. #1
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    Default Which way to hike from Damascus?

    Two friends are looking to do a 75 mile hike on the AT in mid-summer starting or stopping in Damascus VA.
    Hikers are middle aged, very fit, with some (but not a lot of) backpacking experience.
    Which section would you recommend?

    Damascus to the I-81 crossing NE of Atkins VA (75 miles north)

    or

    Damascus to the US19E crossing between Elk Park NC and Roan Mtn TN? (75 miles south)

    or

    Some other 75 mile stretch of the AT (south of NJ)

    TIA

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Odd Man Out View Post

    Damascus to the I-81 crossing NE of Atkins VA (75 miles north)
    I'm sure you'll get suggestions for both your choices, as they are both good ones. If this was my hike i'd choose Atkins because that gets you the Grayson Highlands. And I'd hike towards Damascus and go for a bike ride on the Creeper the next day.

  3. #3
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    I-81 SOBO to Damascus. i provide shuttles too

  4. #4
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    I like the southbound from Damascus to Roan (19E) so you can stop at the Mountain Harbour Hostel/ B&B and have the best breakfast anywhere on the trail!

  5. #5
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    The section north of Damascus is way better than the section just south. (You'd have them stopping just before it gets really good in TN/NC.) Start at I-81 and head south the Damacus - one of my favorite sections ever.
    Ken B
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  6. #6

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    as said ,both choices are great,Grayson Highlands should not be missed though

  7. #7
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    I went SOBO out of Damascus to Erwin last summer. Nice section, eases in for the first day or so, then gets more strenuous for those of us looking to gain trail legs and altitude lungs. I had the trail virtually to myself as most folk were NOBO. Literally did not see anybody for two days and had shelters andcampsites to myself for three nights, and only one or two others in shelter for two other nights. You should go on past Elk Park ( if tisme allows)at least to Roan to hit the Humps!!! This summer, I am NOBO out of Damascus to Pearisburg. Sounds like another great hike, although I am not looking forward to breaking my legs and lungs in through the Greyson Highlands, I am looking forward to the views. They look spectacular!!! Either way you go, it will be a memorable experience. Enjoy!!!

  8. #8
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    Oh, and definitely bike the Virginia Creeper Trail at least once!!!! VERY COOL!

  9. #9
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    I agree that north would be better, cuz of mt Rogers & grayson highlands.

  10. #10
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    Last summer I did the Iron Mountain Trail/AT loop out of Beartree Campground. You car would be safe, no shuttle to mess with, and you get to finish with a swim and shower at the campground. I think the loop I did totaled around 55 miles. You can make it longer by wandering around the Highlands area in general. Get the trails illustrated map and check it out.

  11. #11
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    Been beaten to the punch here but I also would suggest hiking SOUTHBOUND, back to Damascus, either from Atkins or the Mt. Rogers Headquarters. (If you do the latter, you won't get 75 miles in, but you'll have the leisure to hike shorter days, and believe me, in this stretch, that's exactly what you'll want).

  12. #12
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    This one is a no brainer to me - do the section north of Damascus. It's one of the nicest stretches on the entire AT.

  13. #13
    Registered User SassyWindsor's Avatar
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    Travel SOBO to Damascus where AT crosses road. Road, rural type highway, runs north out of Sugar Grove, VA. and is just before the Interstate.

  14. #14
    Registered User SassyWindsor's Avatar
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    I looked up the highway north out of Sugar Grove, VA. It's VA16 aka Sugar Grove Hwy. 60ish miles of trail to Damascus.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by max patch View Post
    I'm sure you'll get suggestions for both your choices, as they are both good ones. If this was my hike i'd choose Atkins because that gets you the Grayson Highlands. And I'd hike towards Damascus and go for a bike ride on the Creeper the next day.
    Agree that Grayson Highlands N of Damascus is the side to hike on. wild ponies! Great views! What's not to like?
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  16. #16
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