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Crest Trail

Difficult
 4.0 (1)

This very rocky trail goes to Rhododendron Gap, the highest point accessible by mountain bikes on the East Coast.


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Map Key

4.1

Miles

6.6

KM

Singletrack

5,440' 1,658 m

High

4,637' 1,413 m

Low

243' 74 m

Up

821' 250 m

Down

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

16%

Max Grade (9°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Unknown

Features -none-

Description

This trail is described from west to east assuming you're doing it as part of the Mount Rogers Loop. It starts a mile high at the intersection with the Virginia Highlands Horse Trail (VHHT): Scales to Crest Trail. From there, you've only got about 200 feet to climb to Rhododendron Gap.

It seems easy enough, but the first half mile is a really difficult, narrow, twisting path with soccer ball-sized and larger rocks embedded in the trail. A lot of people will probably walk parts of this half mile. Once you reach a gate, the trail becomes much more manageable and a narrow singletrack takes you Rhododendron Gap after another half mile.

Be sure to hangout at Rhododendron Gap for a while. I'm pretty sure it is the highest trail legally accessible by mountain bike east of the Mississippi River. Unfortunately, everything to the northwest of this trail (including Mount Rodgers) is Wilderness and you can't take your bike there.

Rhododendron Gap sits between Pine Mountain (5,525 ft) and Mount Rodgers 1000 ft to the east. It is the highest point in Virginia at 5,722 ft. Give a friendly hello to all the hikers hanging out at the gap, enjoy the awesome view to the northeast, and marvel at the cool rock formations before continuing downhill.

From Rhododendron Gap, the trail drops about 800 ft in three miles. The first half mile is the most difficult, steepest part of the descent with a somewhat narrow path between two fences surrounded by high vegetation and a number of blind turns. The whole path is filled with baby head rocks and much of the tread is wide enough to accommodate two abreast. About halfway down, it enters the forest, but count on getting some rays before that.

This trail is popular with equestrians, so watch your speed on the downhill segments, particularly in the first half mile of descent from Rhododendron Gap which is particularly narrow with blind corners.

Contacts

Shared By:

Lost Justpastnowhere

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 1 vote

#11192

Overall
  4.0 from 1 vote
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Trail Rankings

#332

in Virginia

#11,192

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4 Views Last Month
296 Since Jun 9, 2017
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Photos

Riding the Crest Trail towards the scales. The infamous wild ponies were not amused.
Aug 31, 2020 near Marion, VA
Crest Trail offers awesome vistas of Mount Rogers National Recreation Area and the Blue Ridge Mountains
Jul 10, 2017 near Marion, VA
Juncton with the Va Highlands Horse Trail.
Dec 24, 2017 near Marion, VA
The view from below the summit of Pine Mountain (5,523').
Jul 10, 2017 near Adwolf, VA
Crest trail looking west.
Jan 7, 2018 near Marion, VA
One of the easier rocky sections on Crest Trail climbing to Rhododendron Gap
Jul 10, 2017 near Adwolf, VA

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Jan 6, 2018
Joey Atkins
Dec 27, 2017
Joey Atkins
May 24, 2009
Lost Justpastnowhere