Hike The Priest
Virginia › Upper Crabtree Falls Parking
Added by Jess Fischer
This is a great hike with a steady, easy elevation gain over the course of 2 miles to the summit. In addition this hike is rarely crowded so you'll get the trail to yourself.
Starting at the Upper Crabtree Falls Parking area, continue up the "road" for half a mile until you come to the intersection of the Appalachian Trail. That will be the steepest part of the hike. Look for two rocks on either side of the trail with white blazes on them. Take a left up the trail and you'll see a kiosk. Keep hiking for about a mile until you see a huge rock boulder (it's seriously huge) and a sign directing you to The Priest Shelter. Take a left at this sign (don't keep going straight). Keep a keen eye out for the outlook, there is no definitive trail leading you to the outlook, rather you'll see a clearing past the trees with a bunch of rocks, about 0.3 miles from the last intersection. Sometimes people build rock cairns to signal that you've reached the outlook.
- 4 Wheel Vehicle - the last four miles of road to get to the hike have been washed out. You'll cross two creeks, there are deeeeep potholes and you'll be driving precariously close to the edge of a cliff.
- Extra hat or jacket (the summit can be windy)
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10/10 Would Recommend
When you get to the trail head, make sure you go left unless you want to hike the 11-12 mile loop. When going to the left, this is not a super long hike. It's about 4 miles out-and-back. The view at the overlook is absolutely gorgeous. The trail is well maintained and clean.
Best Memory Of The AT
Steady climb to the top, steep decent to the road/creek. Nice camping spot near the creek at the bottom. MAKE SURE to stop in at the shelter along the trail. It is the Priest shelter and the log book has become known as the "confessional" every AT hiker starts their entry with "forgive me for I have sinned" and they write all of their "sins" they done while thru hiking... Absolutely hilarious.
Long!! Much longer than listed anywhere official or otherwise. We clocked our mileage. Still, nice because it's not popular so you mostly have the trail to yourself! A perfect stream about 2 miles in that you can chill your water bottle in and splash on your forehead. A gorgeous rocky overlook about half way to the peak. Bring lots of water, continually steep, not many flat breaks.
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