Three Ridges

Raphine, Virginia 24472

Three Ridges

Three Ridges Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"Climb—and then climb some more—for this epic hike filled with great views and even some waterfalls.

Make no mistake. This hike is one of the more challenging routes in the area, starting off with a 5.3-mile climb. However, it rewards those who persevere with vista after vista.

Starting from the parking lot, cross VA 56 and look for the white blaze that marks the Appalachian Trail (AT). For most of the day, you will be following those white blazes. Follow the trail over a suspension bridge that spans the River Tye. After crossing the bridge, get ready to start climbing."

More Three Ridges Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Hiking Virginia - 4th Edition (Falcon Guides)
Bill and Mary Burnham
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"The term wilderness conjures visions of craggy peaks and untamed woodland far from the beaten track. Virginia’s newest designated wilderness area, Three Ridges and The Priest region, isn’t quite that. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The Appalachian Trail (AT) traverses both peaks and the two AT shelters on either side of Three Ridges suits an overnight hike perfectly. The link between them, the Mau-Har Trail, follows Campbell Creek past a 40-foot waterfall and numerous smaller cascades. The treacherous terrain, soaring views, and sheer elevation gain makes this one of the most strenuous and dramatic hikes in Virginia."
Best of the Appalachian Trail Overnight Hikes (Menasha Ridge Press)
Leonard M. Adkins & Victoria and Frank Logue
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"You will follow the A.T. and Mau-Har Trail on this short overnight hike. There are several fine viewpoints on the A.T. portion of this hike, which climbs to the summit of Three Ridges. The Mau-Har Trail boasts a 40-foot waterfall and creates an easier descent back to the Tye River. Also of note is the 100-foot-long suspension bridge over the Tye River, which was built by the U.S. Forest Service. All in all, this is an outstanding weekend hike, but it is not to be underestimated. Although the hike is less than 14 miles long, there is a 3,000-foot change in elevation from the Tye River (elevation 920') to the summit of Three Ridges (elevation 3,970'), and most of the change comes in 3 miles of climbing."

Three Ridges Trip Reports

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My son and I hiked Tye River to Reid’s Gap for a and overnighter on our continuation of the AT through VA. We frequent the Mau-Har trail as an in-out overnighter on several occasions to "tune-up' for more difficult hikes as the season progresses. The AT up to Reid’s Gap can be difficult but staying overnight at Maupin Field makes it a leisurely affair with a few exceptions. Great views on the AT and while the Mau-Har doesn’t really have the views, Campbell’s Creek is usually running well and the sound of the rushing water makes a good nighttime tranquilizer. Plenty of existing cap sites/fire rings on Mau-Har beside the falls.
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Great overnight hike with nice vistas of the valley and plenty of water sources. Hike up the ridges can be a bit strenuous, but use the time to take in the scenery.
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Did the trail in the opposite direction starting at Reed's Gap. Beautiful scenery and great camp sites but extremely challenging terrain. This is a very hard hike.

Wonderfully uncrowded--Labor Day weekend and only saw two other groups of hikers. The Harper's Creek shelter is especially nice, located right on the Creek.
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A really good trail. With a pack it took about 4 hours for the 6 miles up (including stops for pics, etc.). There were a quite a few overlooks but most were obscured by cloud cover. It also took about 4 hours for the 8 mi. decent using the mau-har trail. This trail had many great views of waterfalls along the way.

Note: The mile by mile description in "Hike Virginia" is pretty close, but the elevation graph was off by hundreds of feet at times.

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This was a beautiful hike around and around three ridges mountain. My dog and I spent 3 hours going up and 1.5 hours coming down. Their is a shelter about halfway up where a nice cup of tea can be made with a little burner. Just up the way there is a rock where you can sit and have lunch a take a view of Charlottesville, stunning!

Three Ridges Photos

Trail Information

Nearby City
4,914 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
6-7 hours
Hunting, Camping
Additional Use
Waterfalls, Views
George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, Glenwood & Pedlar Ranger Districts (; 540-291-2188)
Local Contacts
Trails Illustrated: Lexington/Blue Ridge Mountains, George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, Map 789 (National Geographic)
Local Maps

Trail Log