Welcome to the herd
All hikes are DONATION based
Only 9 spots available each hike
We believe and follow
Leave No Trace principles
10 hikers will limit our impact on the trail
We hike at your level and carry a Garmin In-reach Mini tracker and SOS device for your protection. If you'd like to rent trekking poles we have plenty ($10). We suggest you wear good hiking shoes and carry a daypack with water and snacks. We will have back-ups just in case ; )
The Great Channels
This seven-mile, out and back hike starts out on a gravel road and progressively narrows to a footpath. Hikers will encounter rocky sections which can be uneven. Upon reaching the summit of Middle Knob of Clinch Mountain, participants will enjoy views from the top of large boulders (elevation 4208’) and wander the maze of deep crevices below.
The Great Channels trail is rated as moderately difficult due to the steadily uphill climb, gaining 1,555 feet in 3.5 miles and intermitten steep and rocky conditions.
A footbridge near the parking area on Rt 42 gives a nice view of Dismal Creek, providing a fun photo-op. From the trailhead, hikers travel approximately two miles on the Appalachian trail in a northbound direction before reaching a .3 mile blue-blazed trail which leads to the Falls of Dismal. Rocks and roots cover the trail in some sections. A single whirlpool is fed by Dismal Creek which drops 12 feet over 40 foot wide stair-step ledges to the left and straight ledges to the right. A refreshing swimming hole awaits for those looking to take a dip. We consider this hike moderate.
Who doesn’t enjoy a good cliff walk? Enjoy breathtaking views of Catawba Valley and McAfee Knob from a mile-long cliff atop Tinker Mountain. From the Andy Layne trailhead, participants will pass through a riparian area, negotiate cattle barriers, cross a footbridge over Catawba Creek, and encounter several man-made staircases as they climb steadily. Upon reaching an area known as Scorched Earth Gap, hikers will traverse a section of the Appalachian Trail until they reach Tinker Cliffs. The rewards are lunch with a view, several incredible photo-ops, and a full mile of cliff exploration! With an elevation gain of 1,945 feet and an out-and-back hike of 7.3 miles, the rating is difficult.
Don’t let the length of this hike fool you! There are several points of interest jammed into this 5.5 mile out-and-back hike. Beginning at parking lot 1, view the beach and Hungry Mother Lake. Follow the Lake Trail to the boat dock and take advantage of a photo op with the
giant picture frame that centers on Molly’s Knob. A footbridge spans the lake taking hikers to the amphitheater. Also notice the several structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corp. Continue on the Lake Trail and a short section of the Ridge Trail before picking up Molly’s Knob Trail. Enjoy a snack break at a platform offering a clear view of the Knob. Upon reaching the summit via the Vista Trail, rest a bit on one of the benches and enjoy the mountainous view.
This hike is rated as moderate and has an elevation gain of 984 feet.
If this hike is not on your bucket list, it should be! Views from one of the most photographed iconic spots on the Appalachian Trail and the rock shelf atop the knob are not to be missed. From the McAfee Knob trailhead, participants will hike approximately 4 miles along the A.T., gaining 1700 feet in elevation. The ledge that is McAfee Knob offers a 270 degree view of Catawba Valley from 3,197 feet above. The return trip to the trailhead follows the AT for 1.4 miles, where an easier option along an old fire road for the last 2.6 miles is offered. Some sections of this out-and-back hike are steep and rocky, thus qualifying it for a moderate to difficult rating.
Come explore the former site of a fire tower within Jefferson National Forest. From the trailhead, located near site 6 within Racoon Branch Campground, participants will traverse a steady incline for approximately two miles, gaining 951 feet in elevation. Along the way, enjoy the sounds of a babbling creek, Racoon Branch, and views of Sugar Grove and Rye Valley just before reaching the summit of Dickey Knob. Five concrete posts mark the location of the former tower; two are embedded with geological markers and engraved dates. Will you be able to locate the hidden geocache? This out-and-back hike for a total of 5.5 miles, along with time for exploring and lunch, will take approximately 6 hours. This trail is rated moderate due to elevation gain.
STACY "GOAT" YORK
I want to share my passion for hiking with you. Hiking allows me the opportunity to clear my head as I cover miles leading to the reward of a spectacular view, a stunning sunset, or refreshing waterfall. Along the way, I enjoy inspecting wildflowers such as lady slippers, trillium, or columbine, to name just a few. I 've had the thrill of seeing bears, snakes, and baby minks while on various trails. I love the oxymoron of having an adrenaline rush in the most peaceful setting that hiking affords.
I will share with you the experience of viewing Mount Rogers and Pine Mountain from rocky outcrops along the Twin Pinnacles Trail, one of several trails in Grayson Highlands which is fewer than three miles long. I’ll guide you on the Rhododendron Trail to Wilburn Ridge as we search for wild ponies. We’ll conclude our day with a visit to the picnic area, which features multiple attractions comprising a Homestead.
I look forward to introducing you to a small piece of Virginia’s natural and regional history.
ANDREW "COACH" LIVINGSTON
The reason I changed my entire life, switching from being a professional theatre actor to starting Marion Outdoors, was to share my passion for nature and being outside. I've been backpacking, bikepacking, hiking and camping since I was a kid. I didn't realize how important it was until I wasn't able to do it for an extended period of time. I need it to remember how to be in the moment. To enjoy every second that I have here. I've been taking my kids camping and seeing their faces as they embark on these great adventures is priceless. Do you give yourself permission to be in "the moment." If not, going on a guided trip with us would be a good start.
I like type 2 fun, which means I may not be having fun while doing it, but the memory of it is the best thing I've every experienced. I crave it. I love challenging myself to the point of wanting to quit. But I never quit, and I'm rewarded knowing that I can achieve anything. I'm strong and willing to fight for what I want.
When I go on a backpacking trip and I'm in the middle of the woods with nothing more than what can fit on my back, I'm reminded that we are all equal. We are all just trying to survive.
Second hike we have done with GoAT and Marion Outdoors, have had an absolute blast both times :) We were able to make a quick stop by the store today on our way home and enjoyed beverages and a surprise, along w/a little shopping. Looking forward to future hikes!