The Priest Mountain & Crabtree Falls may2008|
The few miles along the Appalachian Trail that lead from the dirt parking lot to the summit of the Priest might be my favorite trail to hike. Mainly because it's a struggle to get up, so my ability to do so willingly multiple times makes it seem like I enjoy the pain. It's an elevation gain of around 3,400 feet, in four miles.
From the top of the Priest, the easiest and most scenic way down is to follow the Appalachian Trail down the other side of the mountain, and then to cut off and trek down the Crabtree Falls trail--but taking that route requires either a return trip up the Crabtree trail, up the Priest and back down the Priest. . . or my preference: walking the six miles on the road back to the dirt lot.
The Priest Wilderness Area is located within Nelson County, VA.
I've tried to make the Priest a yearly trip, forcing others to the tortuous climb. The photos below are from my 2008 trip, but there's also pictures (and video) from the 2009 trip.