Parking on the TN/NC Appalachian Trail

Section 1 - Damascus, VA to US 421 (Low Gap, TN) Displayed from North to South

Maintained by:
  Tennessee Eastman Hiking and Canoeing Club chair @ Damascus, VA to Spivey Gap, NC

Submit Information Submit Pictures

Hiker Rated
Parking Safety
Directions Comments Number of Vehicles Map   &  
Damascus, VA
  Poor            Great

11 miles east of I-81 (exit 22, Abingdon) and 33 miles west of VA 16 at Volney via US 58. Via VA 91, Damascus is 12 miles south of I-81 (exit 29) and 14 miles north of Mountain City, TN. This section of trail begins at Damascus Town Hall on Laurel Ave. (US 58) at Reynolds St. - 1 block south of the post office. 2/1/06
WARNING Reported 5/14/07 – 1:00 PM

Toyota Takoma and trailer stolen from parking lot in Damascus. Money stashed in trailer. This has been reported to Damascus police. Police asked them to circulate that a ring has been active in area, seeking out Toyota Takoma trucks.

Section hikers (hiking from Groseclose to Damascus) had pickup and camper trailer stolen from parking lot. They had a second vehicle (a SUV) and little trailer - this vehicle was not disturbed.
Posted originally on Wingfoot's website 05/16/07
lpotteiger @
Overnight Parking on city streets is probably not a good idea. Mt. Rogers Outfitters offer secure parking across from their store for a reasonable price. The official hiker parking area is south of the Damascus Community Park. See Mile 0.4 below. . The marker on the attached map marks the intersection of Laurel Avenue (US 58) and Reynolds Street in Damascus. The trail goes through town on the sidewalks along Laurel Avenue. This is the official southern end of VA Section 45 and northern end of TN Section 1. East from this point is northbound, west is southbound. 12/04/09 1
at @
There are two public lots available for backpackers overnight parking in Damascus. For both of these, the town recommends that you visit the Town Hall and fill out a form. The first lot is off Water Street, on a side street called Wilson St.(See Mile 0.4) Currently, February 2012, this lot is in use by construction workers building the huge new town library and welcome center. The authorities at the town hall tell me, and the construction boss confirmed, that this lot is still required to be kept available for use by backpackers. But in practical terms, there will be space conflicts with all the construction vehicles.

The other lot is beside the Damascus Mill, two blocks north of Town Hall at the end of Reynolds St., just past the post office. This lot is also used by patrons of the restaurant and convention center at the Mill. However the authorities at the town hall make it very clear that this lot is owned by the Town and not the proprietors of the Mill complex. It is probably safer to park here than the more isolated Wilson Street lot, but notifying Town Hall of your intention to park in either lot should improve your chances of a safe long-term parking experience. 02/08/12
25 or more 1
pjwetzel @
The markers on the attached map show the town parking lot near the Damascus Mill. I am not sure in which lot the theft mentioned above occurred. It was probably the Water Street lot. Parking safety comments here should be for the Damascus Mill lot. 04/13/12 1
dlcul @
Beaverdam Road
  Poor            Great

Westbound follow Us 58 through Damascus until it turns right across from the Red Caboose information station. Go lefton Beverdam Road. The town park is on the left. There is some parking here but it is clearly labeled short-term (2 hours). Signs direct people to a longer term lot on Water Street. Continue to the south end of the park and turn left on Water Street. The parking lot is on the right a short distance up this street. The green arrow on the map indicates the approximate location of the parking area.
Eastbound follow US 58 to Damascus. Continue straight on Beaverdam road when US 58 turn left at the caboose. Proceed as above.
The northbound trail comes in from the west along Water St., crosses Beaverdam Road, and goes north through the park, passing through an arch welcoming hikers to Damascus (See pictures). 11/21/08 15-20 1
dlcul @
Backbone Rock
  Poor            Great

2.3 mile side trail to TN 133 at Backbone Rock, TN. It is a hard hike but it is a well-marked trail. 2/3/06 20
The attached map shows the location of the recreation area and the trailhead on TN 133. 01/29/08 1
at @
This is a larger scale version of the map in the previous listing. The markers indicate Back Bone Rock. The street view to the south is through the tunnel in the rock. Note the entrance to a parking area on the left on the other side. The view to the north shows another parking lot entrance, this one on the right. 12/04/09 Ample 1
dlcul @
Mc Queens Gap
  Poor            Great

From Shady Valley, TN go 3 miles NE on TN 133 to Crandull, TN. Turn left on unpaved USFS 69 and go 3 miles to Mc Queens Gap. Vandalism occurs occasionally even during daylight hours. Although the road is decent it is difficult to find. 2/1/06 2-3
The A marker on the attached map shows the intersection of McQueens Gap Road and TN 133. The B marker indicates the trail crossing in McQueens Gap. The route between the two points is highlighed in blue. 12/04/09 1
at @
From Laurel Avenue in downtown Damascus, take Route 133 south. (This is the intersection immediately to the east of Mt. Rogers Outfitters.) Cross into Tennessee. In approximately 11 miles, the road crosses the 'Jim Hutchinson' bridge. The intersection with McQueens Gap Road is just beyond this. Go right here. (There is another road, Wild Rose Road, which also intersects here and may cause confusion.) In about 0.5 miles, turn left, staying on McQueens Gap Road. The road soon turns to gravel. I was not driving on this part so I can't verify the three mile distance given above, but the AT crossing is at the crest of the ridge. There is a parking pull-off on the right. Note: If coming the other direction, it is 2.8 miles from Shady Valley via Route 133 to the McQueens Gap Road junction. In the gap the northbound AT goes right, the southbound AT goes left. 07/13/09 2-3
dlcul @
US 421 Low Gap, TN - north parking
  Poor            Great

Take US 421 18 miles east from Bristol, TN to AT crossing. It is also 3 miles east of Shady Valley on US 421. Picnic table 2/3/06 8-10
01/29/08 1
at @
From Laurel Avenue in downtown Damascus, take Route 133 south. (This is the intersection immediately to the east of Mt. Rogers Outfitters.) Cross into Tennessee. In 14 miles an intersection in the community of Shady Valley is reached. Go right on US 421. The AT crossing is 3 miles from this intersection at the crest of the ridge. There is a large dirt parking lot on the north side of the road (right when coming from Shady Valley). The green on the attached map shows this lot. The southbound AT comes in from the north (Section 1) here, crosses the lot and goes left along the highway a hundred feet or so. There is second smaller lot on the south side of the road. Here the trail makes a sharp left turn and starts to ascend along an old road into Section 2. Rotate the street view to the north to see the large parking lot. 12/04/09 12-15 in larger lot 1
dlcul @
US 421 Low Gap, TN - south parking
  Poor            Great

See directions to the main (north) parking area in Low Gap (see previous listing). There is a smaller parking lot a few hundred feet further west (trail south). This is on the south side of the road. The green arrow on the attached map indicates this area. The southbound AT crosses the other parking lot, follow the highway to this lot, turns left into it and then immediately left on an old road. The street view to the south on the attached map shows the road and one corner of the lot. Rotate to the southwest to see the entire parking area. 06/27/11 5-6 in this lot 1
dlcul @

1 If the MAP, WEATHER or PARKING SAFETY BUTTONS do not work for you, have your browser permit pop-ups for this site.

Section 1 Pictures

Home | Tennessee - North Carolina | Webmaster | Submit Information | Submit Pictures | Other Links | Children's Page

Join us on Facebook

Page last updated: 9/19/2016 3:21:47 PM