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Section 21 - Blue Ridge Parkway (Punchbowl Mt. Crossing) to James River (US 501) 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 U.S. 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
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

  1

  1

David Cullen
3.5
Salt Log Gap Trail
   Poor           Great



 
Hercules Road (AKA VA 812 or USFS 36) goes north from US 501/VA 130 at the point where the northbound trail crosses the latter. This is just east of the James River parking area. See Mile 10.9. It continues 3 miles to a gate. There is a small dirt parking area there. Beyond the gate is an active quarry. There is a sign that foot travel is welcome. This point is indicated by the marker on the attached map. The GPS coordinates as determined from the Google map: N37.6271 W79.36685 Several years ago I attempted to find this trail. I surmised (correctly) that the trail started up the road on the other side of the gate. I walked as far as the quarry. I saw a couple of faded blue blazes but no sign. This confirms the statements in the AT Guide to Central Virginia (3rd ed., 2014) that the trail is difficult to follow at its lower end due to the quarrying operation. Yet the trail does still exist. The blue-blazed SIDE TRAIL leads 3.8 miles to the AT in Salt Log Gap. It had disappeared from trail maps but is apparently is now back on them. For a description of the trail as of 2014 see the links at Mile 4.6 (Saddle Gap Trail). These are complete with maps and pictures. One important point should be reiterated here. This trail should only be hiked on weekends when there are no quarry operations. At the junction with the AT in Salt Log Gap there is a sign for the trail. Here the northbound AT goes right while the southbound goes left. GPS coordinates at this intersection: N37.6538 W77.3589 06/26/19 3-4 near gate
  1

  1

David Cullen
4.6
Saddle Gap Trail
   Poor           Great



 
See directions and attached map for parking for the Salt Log Gap Trail (Mile 3.5). When I visited this area, I could not find the trail head. This is apparently 0.2 miles before the gate at the end of Hercules Road. It is on the west side of the road. There is apparently room for 2-3 cars to park. The trailhead is marked by a large boulder in the middle of a grassy wood road. There is so trail sign right at the trailhead but there apparently is one a bit further up the grassy road. I do not have the GPS coordinates of the trailhead. This blue-blazed SIDE TRAIL leads 2.5 miles to meet the AT in Saddle Gap. It was part of the original AT route. There is a sign at the junction with the AT. Here the northbound AT goes right while the southbound goes left. Coordinates at the AT N37.6446 W79.3731. The following two links should be helpful if you want to use either this trail or the Salt Log Gap Trail. One of these has a picture of the trail head showing the boulder and grassy road. The first one describes the route as of 2014.
http://www.wanderingvirginia.com/2014/03/saddle-gap-trailsaltlog-gap-trail-loop.html
https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/saddle-gap-trail-saltlog-gap-trail-loop-6088284
06/26/19
2-3
 

 

David Cullen
7.2
Rocky Row Trail
   Poor           Great



 
Trailhead of the blue-blazed SIDE TRAIL is on US 501 3.2 miles west of AT crossing and 2.3 miles from Glasgow. Between these two points the highway climbs. At the top of the climb, it makes a sharp turn. There is a small pull off there and a view over the river. Two or three chairs could park here. The red marker is is at the location of the pull-off. GPS: N37.60745 W79.4308. Rotate the street view from this point from east to south to see the pull off. I have not hiked this trail but have checked out the trail head. From the pull off go north on the highway (westbound) for a 0.1 miles. Watch out for traffic. The trail is on the right and is marked by a hiker logo sign. The walking route from the parking area is shown on the map. The street view to the east from the north end of this route (white circle) shows the trail. GPS:N37.6089 W79.4304 The trail goes east 2.8 miles along a rocky backbone to meet the AT at the top of Little Rocky Row. GPS Coordinates at the AT intersection are N37.6256 W79.4030. The northbound AT goes left towards Fullers Rocks. . Either at this point or somewhere very near it, the southbound AT make a left turn and heads southeast towards Hercules Road. 1/22/2010 Updated 06/26/19 Limited parking, 2-3 cars at most
  1

  1

David Cullen
9.8
Hercules Road - VA 812
   Poor           Great



 
Hercules Road (AKA VA 812 or USFS 36) goes north from US 501/VA 130 at the point where the AT crosses the latter. This is just east of the James River parking area. See Mile 10.9. The trail crosses Hercules Road 0.9 miles north of US 501/VA 130. This point is indicated by the marker on the attached map. There are some parking pull-offs in the vicinity of the trail crossing. See pictures for this section (21) to see views of the trail crossing and some of the possible parking. Right here the road is running east to west. The northbound trail goes north (left if coming from US501/ VA 130) beginning the long climb to Fuller's Rocks. The southbound trail goes south (right) and descends to Rocky Row Run. The southbound AT rejoins Hercules Road just before the intersection with US 501/VA 130. 11/25/2009 Updated 06/26/19 Parking pull offs that will accommodate several cars.
  1

  1

David Cullen
10.9
James River (US 501/VA 130)
   Poor           Great




There is an AT parking area on the south side of US 501/VA 130 near the intersection with Hercules Road (AKA USFS 36 or VA 812). To the west it is 5.9 miles west to Glasgow. From there it is 4 miles via VA 130 to Natural Bridge Station and 6 miles to I-81 (Exit 175). To the east it is 4 miles to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Via US 501 it is 5.6 miles to Big Island. The marker on the attached map indicates the entrance to the parking area. GPS N37.5970 W79.3913 The street view to the south from this point shows the lot which is a good size (approximately 25 vehicles). It can also be seen on the satellite view. The AT comes close to the southeast corner of the parking lot. When I was there, a fence surrounded the parking area, but it was down in that corner providing easy access to the trail. The northbound AT goes left and soon crosses US 501/VA 130. (See next listing). The southbound trail goes right, passes under the railroad tracks and crosses the Foot Bridge across the James River. The bridge can clearly be seen in the satellite view Alternatively one could walk east along the side of the highway perhaps a hundred yards to the trail crossing. 06/27/19 approx. 25
  1

  1

David Cullen
See previous listing for directions to the parking area on US 501/ VA 130. The trail crossing of that highway is approximately 100 yards further east. US 501/ VA!30 at the intersection with Hercules Road (AKA VA 812 of USFS 36) is the southern boundary of Section 21 and the northern boundary of Section 22. The marker on the map attached here is set at that intersection. GPS: N37.59675 W79.38995 The street view from that point to the north shows Hercules Road. The northbound AT (to section 21) follows this for a short distance before going right into the woods. A white blaze can be seen on a tree. The street view to the west shows the beginning of the southbound route to Section 22. The trail follows the road west, then goes left at the end of the guardrail seen in the view. It then passes near the parking area, crosses under railroad tracks and crosses the Foot Bridge across the James River. A portion of the parking area can also be seen in the west view. 06/27/19 0 here but 25 or so at parking lot
  1

 

David Cullen

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