Route: Catawba Triple Crown (VA)

Virginia, US
54 km
Vertical Gain
2,700 m

The Catawba Triple Crown is a 35 mile loop in SW Virginia that goes around the small town of Catawba using the AT on Catawba/Tinker mountains and the North Mountain trail on North Mountain.  It goes past the highly photographed McAfee Knob, the iconic Dragon's Tooth rock formation, and Tinker Cliffs. There is a Strava segment for the effort (just happens to be CCW and starting at the Dragon's Tooth parking):

(EDITOR NOTE: This was previously listed on this website as the "Catawba Runaround", which is very similar but a slightly shorter version that misses Dragon's Tooth. The image below of a map is for the Runaround).

- Clarified by Mark Lattanzi, 5/22/2020.

The duathlon from Blacksburg has been called the "Blacksburg Brunch", described by Kristoffer von Ow as follows:

"This tour consists of biking, hiking and trail running. The start/finish line is in the heart of Blacksburg downtown, which we chose to be the door to "The Cellar" downstairs! From there you bike essentially to Dragons Tooth trailhead via Catawba Rd.. Once at the trailhead you embark upon the hiking/trail running portion of the tour, the "Catawba Run-around", which is essentially the triple crown but created into a loop via the North Mountain Trail which connects back to the Dragons Tooth trailhead. Dragons Tooth is the only outback portion of the the entire run-around, and we chose to go in the direction of Dragons Tooth and Macafees rather than starting on the North Mountain Portion. Once you complete the Run-around you get back on your bikes and return via the same way, Catawba Rd., and rejoice at the finish line! Oh and don't forget to grab a beer at the Cellar! In total the tour amounts to around 48 miles of biking, 35 miles of hiking/trail running, and around 9400' of vert."



Thinking about giving this loop a unsupported FKT attempt in the next couple weeks. I'll shoot to beet the 6:47:46 time mentioned by prejoyful. Hopefully it'll spark some more interest in the route. 


Looking at doing the Blacksburg Brunch sometime late spring next year. Love the idea, much like the Jackson Picnic. Is there a Strava or other GPS of the full route including the bike? 

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You can find the above map of both the 31 mile Catawba Runaround and the longer 34 mile Catawba Triple Crown at

ExploreMark and I are planning an unsupported FKT for the full triple crown this Saturday, Sept 5th, 2020. 

I will be doing an unsupported Blacksburg Brunch on Saturday September 12th, 2020 (Danny Mathieson).

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I (Josh Goad) plan to attempt an unsupported FKT for the full triple crown on Wednesday, Sept 23, 2020.

I am planning on an unsupported FKT attempt for the full triple crown on this Saturday, October 3, starting at Dragon's Tooth trailhead.

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I will be attempting the supported FKT this Saturday, October 17, starting at Dragon’s Tooth Trailhead and running counter clockwise.

I'll be attempting this route on Monday, Oct. 26th. I'm currently planning on unsupported, but I have a friend considering coming with me who might want to join me for half the route. If that pans out, I'll be supported. I'm planning to start at Dragon's Tooth trailhead and running it clockwise.

I ended up doing it clockwise starting at McAfee Knob instead. I went unsupported.

Giving this a solid go tomorrow morning (11-9-20) starting at Dragon's Tooth Parking lot and heading up that to do the course CCW. Looks to be a lovely day! Planning unsupported or bust.

I'll be back in a few months. This was a stunningly difficult route. Love it, but legs are too fatigued from my other FKT the other week despite being on pace to finish under the time needed. Leaves made pace sluggish and just not worthwhile this late in the season.

I'm going to attempt the unsupported FKT tomorrow Aug 23rd. Don't know the trails really well so going to start at Dragon's Tooth and head CCW like some of the other FKTers. Hoping the heat holds off as long as it can!