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Dragons Tooth Trail
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2020-06-25  
mini location map2020-06-25
16 by photographer avatarDaytripper
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Dragons Tooth TrailWestern, VA
Western, VA
Hiking avatar Jun 25 2020
Daytripper
Hiking5.87 Miles 1,500 AEG
Hiking5.87 Miles   3 Hrs   15 Mns   1.96 mph
1,500 ft AEG      15 Mns Break12 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Located in Jefferson National Forest atop Cove Mountain just west of Catawba,Va, this Tuscarora quartzite monolith is a popular hiking destination. Planned to take the blue blazed Dragon’s Tooth trail to the junction of the AT and then head south to the short spur trail leading to the Dragon’s Tooth. On the return make a short loop using Boy Scout Connector which connects the AT with Dragons Tooth trail near the trailhead. Arrived at the trailhead about 0800 to only 4 other cars in the large lot, there are pit toilets but now closed due to COVID. The Dragons Tooth trail is not very rocky, not very steep, there were several maybe 8 stream crossings that were easy. Nicely shaded but not a worry today as temp was 59° at the trailhead when I started, 69° at the finish. The trail condition allows hiking at a good pace, after the junction with the AT the story changes for the next .7 miles. Steep and rocky, several “stairways” , metal rung footholds and directional arrows pointing straight up, so slowed the pace and put the gloves on being very glad I wasn’t backpacking . Some rate this section the toughest section of the AT this side of Maine. Continued following the white blazes until arriving at the Dragons Tooth spur trail turned left and descended .3 miles to the rock formation which I had to myself , first thought is no way would I climb up that . After moving to the south side of the tooth it looked possible, decided to try crawling under a wedged boulder and found some reasonable footholds . Then after some class 3 scrambling found myself looking up at only about 20 feet of narrow smooth rock to crawl up to the top which is about 3 foot square , not enough room for me to comfortably stand up though :scared: Nice views of the mountains and Valleys of this portion of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Retraced my steps back to the Dragons Tooth trail junction but this time continued down the still rocky AT to the clearly marked junction with the yellow blazed Boy Scout Connector trail. From there smooth sailing to the parking lot. Used route scout until reaching the tooth and then needed to save phone battery.On the way down the crowd was steadily building now passing by a score of young adults and teens. To reach the trailhead on route 311 I drove on Mount Tabor Rd. from the Mountain Lake Lodge . Along this road one passes by the Audie Murphy plane crash site on Brush Mountain. As far as Mountain Lake Lodge it was called Kellermans resort when it was the location for filming of “Dirty Dancing “ , sadly due probably to a fissure Mountain Lake is now a pond, not known if it will ever refill.
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