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Section 20 - Long Mountain Wayside (US 60) to Blue Ridge Parkway (Punchbowl Mt. Crossing) Displayed from North to South

Maintained by:
  Natural Bridge Appalachian Trail Club http://www.nbatc.org/ b2wheels @ mindspring.com Tye River at VA 56 to Black Horse Gap Black Horse Gap to Pine Swamp Branch Shelter, and US 460 at the New River to VA 611

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Mile
Marker
 
Hiker Rated
Parking Safety
Directions Comments Number of Vehicles  Map   &  
 Weather  
Source
0.0
Long Mountain Wayside (US 60)
   Poor           Great




The wayside is 5.4 miles east of the intersection of US 60 and Blue Ridge Parkway. Right here the highway runs north to south. The parking area is on the east side of highway (left if driving eastbound on US 60. The marker indicates the wayside. GPS: N37.7231 W79.2498 Rotate the street view from this point to the north and east to see the wayside. The street view to the south shows Swapping Creek Road which provides access to the trail crossing and parking on USFS 38. See Mile 3.8 The southbound AT from Section 19 comes out of the woods into the wayside, goes right and follows the wayside access road to the highway. It tuns right along the highway for a short distance before going left (compass west) into the woods and towards Section 20. 11/24/2009 Updated 06/23/19 ample parking
  1

  1

David Cullen
3.8
USFS 38
   Poor           Great



 
There are two routes from US 60 to the trail crossing, which is indicated by the marker on the map. GPS: N37.6854 W79.2713
Option 1:Drive about 3.5 miles east on US 60 from the intersection with the Blue Ridge Parkway. VA 605 goes north here, USFS 39 (AKA Reservoir Road) goes south towards Pedlar Dam. Take the latter and drive approximately 5 miles on a good gravel road then go left on USFS 38 (AKA Swapping Creek Road). The trail crossing is 1.2 miles further on this road.
Option 2. From the Long Mountain Wayside (See Mile 0.0) go south on USFS 38 (AKA Swapping Creek Road) for 3.5 miles to the trail crossing.
When I hiked through this area in 2005, I did not see any parking near the trail crossing. According to the ATC map and guidebook, there is now a parking area just west of the crossing. A photo of it of is in the Pictures for this section (20). It is really a parking pull-off good for 3-4 cars. Note: In the latest ATC Guide to Central Virginia (3rd edition, 2014) it does say parking is limited. At the trail crossing, the northbound trail goes north towards Long Mountain Wayside while the southbound trail goes south towards Pedlar Reservoir. 06/23/19 3-4
  1

  1

David Cullen
6.8
USFS 39
   Poor           Great




Drive about 3.5 miles east on US 60 from the intersection with the Blue Ridge Parkway. VA 605 goes north here, USFS 39 (AKA Reservoir Road) goes south towards Pedlar Dam. This point is 2 miles west of Long Mountain Wayside via US 60. Take USFS 39 and drive 7.2 miles on a good gravel road Just past the access road to the dam look for a suspension foot bridge on the left. Parking is on east side of road a little further south. The marker indicates the point where the AT crosses USFS 39. GPS: N37.6708 W79.2836 There is a picture of the parking available on the map. There are alternate routes to get to this point. However see Parking Safety ratings for a comment on the alternate route from the Blue Ridge Parkway. The southbound AT parallels the east then south shores of Pedlar Reservoir though seldom in sight of it. It crosses the Pedlar River on a suspension bridge and reaches USFS 39 just north of the parking area. The bridge can clearly be seen on the satellite view of the map On the west side of the road the AT starts the climb to Rice Mountain and the Blue Ridge Parkway. 11/24/2009 Updated 06/24/19 4-5
  1

  1

David Cullen
10.6
Robinson Gap Road (VA 607)
   Poor           Great



 
Drive about 3.5 miles east on US 60 from the intersection with the Blue Ridge Parkway. VA 605 goes north here, USFS 39 (AKA Reservoir Road) goes south towards Pedlar Dam. This point is 2 miles west of Long Mountain Wayside via US 60. Take USFS 39 and drive 6.7 miles on a good gravel road . Turn left on USFS 311 (AKA known as Panther Falls Road). In 0.7 miles go left staying on USFS 311. Drive another 2.6 miles to the intersection of USfS 311 and VA 607. There may be room for 2-3 cars to park here. The marker on the attached map indicates the intersection. GPS N37.6762 W79.3322
Note: There are several routes to get here but all involve gravel USFS or state roads of varying quality. There is no direct connection between VA 607 and the nearby Blue Ridge Parkway. Although it was several years ago, I have driven the route given except for the last 2.6 miles. The road quality then was good. If anybody has information on another route, please let us know.
The AT crosses Robinson Gap Road (VA 607) diagonally. The southbound trail goes southwest and climbs toward the Blue Ridge Parkway. The northbound trail goes northeast and east starting the climb to the multiple summits of Rice Mountain.
Note: There is much better parking 0.3 miles away on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is much more easily reached. See Mile 10.9. This particular access on VA 607 may be of limited usefulness, The exception would be if you are coming from the area of Pedlar Dam. See Mile 6.8. 06/26/19
Limited roadside parking
  1

  1

David Cullen
10.9
Blue Ridge Parkway (Punchbowl Mt. Crossing)
   Poor           Great




The Punchbowl Mt. Overlook is at Mile 51.7 of the Blue Ridge Parkway, 5.9 miles south of the intersection with US 60. The parking area is on the east side of the road. There is space for 6-8 cars.
Note: People who wish to park overnight should be aware of the following from the Blue Ridge Parkway FAQ page.
Anyone wishing to leave a vehicle in an overlook for approved camping/hiking purposes must contact the Comm Center (828-298-2491) either the day before or the morning of their excursion to advise detailed information regarding their excursion and vehicle.
The AT crosses the parkway here.
The marker on the attached map indicates the entrance to the parking area. The street view to the south from this point shows the parking area. The northbound AT to Section 20 leaves from the south side of parking area and descends east toward Robinson Gap. The southbound AT to Section 21 goes west from the north side of the overlook beginning the long climb to Punchbowl Mountain and Bluff Mt. The street view to the north from the point of the marker shows the southbound trail going off to the left (west). 1/20/10 Updated 06/24/19
6-8
  1

  1

David Cullen

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Section 20 Pictures


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Page last updated: 8/21/2020 2:53:57 PM