The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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Heart of the Blue Ridge

Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail

By Bob Heafner © 2012

The original route of the Appalachian Trail crossed the Pinnacles of Dan, traversed the Dan River Gorge and climbed Indian Ladder to the plateau known locally as the Rich Bent. This path carried hikers through some of the most breathtakingly beautiful terrain the Blue Ridge Mountains have to offer.

Earl Shaffer on his historic first ever through hike of the entire Appalachian Trail in one season, passed through this area and described it thusly, “This couple of miles was probably the most rugged and most spectacular segment of the Trail, which now has been relocated far to the west. This incredible peak is called the Pinnacles of Dan, and is visible from the [Blue Ridge] Parkway.”

The Blue Ridge Parkway followed the path of the Appalachian Trail as it proceeded north from Meadows of Dan, Virginia. John Barnard, an early AT supporter, maintained the trail across the Pinnacles, Dan River Gorge, and up Indian Ladder. Mr. Barnard also built the unique arrowhead Trail marker near his home in Mayberry, Virginia.

Display # 
Title Created Date Author
The Appalachian Trail June, 1984 Written by Bob Heafner
Walking With Spring - The Appalachian Trail June, 1984 Written by Earl V. Shaffer
Appalachian Trail Map - Circa 1933 June, 1984 Written by Potomac Appalachian Trail Club
Camping and Eeling On The River Dan July, 1984 Written by Y.O.C.
Dan River Gorge - The Grand Canyon of the East July, 1984 Written by Bob Heafner
John R. Barnard - The Man Who Knew His Way September, 1984 Written by John Hassell Yeatts