Hike Dragon's Tooth

Details

Distance

4.5 miles

Elevation Gain

1250 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Added by Hailey Carter

Enjoy amazing views along the hike to the top. There's a fun, 0.7 mile rock crawl along the way. If you choose to make this an overnight, there are scenic campsites (with water access).

From I-81: Exit 140 and take Highway 311 north for 11 miles towards New Castle. Dragon’s Tooth parking lot is on the left, just past Catawba Grocery.
LAT 37.3787 LONG -80.1563

Ready to tackle the Dragon? This 4.6 mile, out and back, trail provides one with a true hiking experience. The hike will take approximately 3 hours, including a half-hour spent exploring up top. As you pull into the trail head parking lot, watch your speed, it's a short, but bumpy pull into the lot. The lot is usually pretty full in the middle of the day. There are outhouse type bathroom facilities at the trail head (hand sanitizer is provided). There is an information kiosk at the trail head that provides a map and important information about the trail and what kind of things you may encounter on your journey. There is no fee to enjoy this hike. As you follow the blue blazed trail from the kiosk you will venture your way, shaded by the trees, into some amazing places to set up camp for a night, just .30 from the kiosk! In addition, there is a water source next to the camp sights in the form of a creek. You will see a sign pointing to the "boy scouts trail" to the left or the Dragon's Tooth trail which bears right. From this point, the trail will cross a creek several times. The first few crossings are in the form of wooden bridges and the next several crossings are by steps on rocks within the creek. Watch your footing! Some of the rocks are unstable and wet. After crossing the creek for the final time, the trail begins a slight ascent for the next mile. Luckily, this part of the trail is shaded by trees.

Once you reach the "Appalachian Trail" sign there are more areas to camp (without a water source). The next 0.7 miles are strenuous, in the sun mostly, to the top, or I should say tooth! From this point on, I would recommend not bringing along any older dogs that may have difficulty climbing rocks or going up very step embankments. The rock crawl does require some endurance and pulling yourself up and over rocks. No rock climbing experience is necessary in order to complete this fun, challenging hike. The rocks are marked by a white marker so you know which way to travel up the rocks. Take your time and enjoy the aw-inspiring views that flourish among this trail. Once you are nearing the top of the trail, some of the more challenging rocks have metal foot holds built into the rocks to assist you up. Once you make it to the top of the ridge, bear to the left and follow the trail for another .2 to the tooth.

At the top, the trail features some of the most breath taking views, of the mountains, surrounding Roanoke. For an even more spectacular view, make sure you follow the rocks around to the front of the tooth. Climb under or over the rock in between the two boulders. Once you make it to the top of the tooth, be sure to pull out your camera and snap some pictures.

The top of the tooth makes for a perfect place to enjoy a packed meal or if you'd rather eat after, I would suggest stopping by the Home Place Restaurant located at 4968 Catawba Valley Dr., Catawba. This place is a local favorite known to serve some of the best southern cooking in Virginia. Keep in mind the Home Place is only from 4-8p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 11a.m.-6p.m. Sunday. Simply follow the same trail you hiked up, in order to return to the parking lot.

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Known for

Hiking
Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Food Nearby
Forest
Picnic Area
River
Scenic
Wildlife

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Reviews

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Strenuous but beautiful

One should not take the rating ‘difficult’ lightly. Don’t underestimate this trail. It’s very rocky the entire way through. We passed over a lot of creeks that we had to hop from rock to rock and very steep inclines with a lot of rock scrambles. The paths are very narrow so you have to be extra precautious. It is also very icy around this time and I would not recommend going on this trail without proper hiking shoes or you will slip a lot. Sadly, I would not recommend bringing your dog unless they are very used to hiking. One of my dogs got too scared to come down the narrow mountain and had to be rescued by another group of more apt hikers. There was gorgeous scenery of the Roanoke valleys and snow capped mountains but it was an intense hike that I don’t recommend for someone who hikes occasionally for fun.

Make this a priority

Stumbled upon this adventure not too long ago and decided I'd check it out. Was pretty shocked at how fun this hike was. The rock formations make for some epic photos (forgot the camera on this day hike) so come during sunset and make your way back down by headlamp!

about 3 years ago

My Favorite

This hike is probably my absolute favorite, it was actually my first hike ever. I have done it at least 3 times. Be careful when turning into the parking lot because at times there has been a bump or drop (can't remember) that isn't too friendly on your suspension.

Dragon's Tooth

The first part of the hike is a trail through the woods. Eventually you'll come to the section where you have to start climbing up rocks. I HAVE YET TO FIND A HIKE MORE FUN THAN THIS ONE. I was not expecting the rock climbing to be as great as it was. It's tiring but not difficult. As for the top - not the best view I've seen around the area but still stunning. Highly recommend.

Adult Jungle Gym

The last .7 of a mile to the top is the most fun I’ve had hiking in a long time. And the top at sunset is incredible. Hope to go back soon.

818 total saves

4.9/5

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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