Parking on the VA/WV Appalachian Trail

Section 22 - James River (US 501) to Petites Gap (USFS 35) 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
James River (US 501)
  Poor            Great




There is an AT parking area on the south side of US 501/VA 130 near the intersection with USFS 36 (aka 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. My estimate of the number of parking spaces available approximately 25. There is a boat launch area just to the east where more parking may be available. The marker on the satellite view of the attached map is at the intersection of Hercules Road (VA 812 and US 501/VA 130). The hiker parking lot can be seen to the west of this intersection. The boat launch area can be seen just to the east. The southbound trail (to Sec. 22) crosses the highway east of the parking area then bears right and comes close to it. There is fence around most of the parking lot, but thre is a break on the east side which allows access to the trail. From there the trail proceeds under the railroad tracks and crosses the James River Foot Bridge. Rotate the street view to the south to see where the trail goes south from the highway. 11/25/2009 approximately 15 1
dlcul @ conncoll.edu
There is a bridge across James River on US501, there is parking there for 20-25 cars and it where AT crosses US501 and then heads across James on the James River Foot Bridge. 5/25/06 20-25
tmartinez @ atconf.org
Car window smashed out while hiking. Don't leave ANYTHING in your car. 04/14/07
stacylabare @ earthlink.net
See satellite view of the attached map. This map is similar to the one in the first listing for this mile marker, but the marker here indicates the entrance to the hiker parking area. The railroad bridge is the larger one the right, the Foot AT Bridge is the one on the left (See Section 22). Rotate the street view to the southwest to see the parking area. 11/25/2009 1
dlcul @ conncoll.edu
2.1
Matts Creek Trail
  Poor            Great



 
This is old route of the AT before the James River Foot Bridge was opened. The trail head is just south of Snowden Bridge on US 501. There is a small dirt parking area at the entrance to a now overgrown gated road. This is just north of the sign welcoming people to Bedford County. This area is on the west side of the highway. The trail begins just north of the parking area. The green arrow on the attached map indicates the position of the parking area. The street view shows the dirt lot. I have not hiked this trail but have seen the two ends. It is 2.5 miles from US 501 to the AT just north of Matts Creek Shelter. Coordinates ate the AT intersection are 37.5998 -79.4114 (See http://bp2.tribleoutdoorscom/ViewTrip.aspx?tripid=48025 1/29/10 3-4 1
dlcul @ conncoll.edu
4.9
Sulphur Spring Trail (N. Jct)/ Balcony Falls Trail
  Poor            Great



 
Assuming N to S travel on the AT, the Sulfur Spring Trail to the right (west) follows an old road for 1.4 miles until the road ends. This is the upper terminus of both the Sulfur Spring Trail and the Balcony Falls Trail. The latter trail is 4.1 miles long and ends at parking area and trailhead on USFS 3093. To reach this Balcony Falls Trail parking area by car go south on VA 759 from VA 130 near Natural Bridge Station. In 0.9 miles turn left on VA 782. Beyond the Jellystone Park Campground the paved road makes a sharp righ tturn. Continue straight ahead onto a gravel road at this point. This is initially still VA 782 but becomes FS 3093. Go 0.7 miles further to the end of the road which is the trailhead. The green arrow marks this point. If one zoom in on the satellite view of the area around the green arrow, a rather large parking area can be seen at the end of the road.
To the left from the AT the Sulfur Spring Trail rejoins the AT at mile 7.2 See that mile marker for directions to Sulfur Spring Trailhead.
I have not scouted either the trails or their trailheads though I have seen the intersection with the AT. Information is from the AT Guide to Central Virginia. and the following web page: http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/gwj/gp/pdf_files/hiking-trails-james-river-face.pdf . Coordinates at the AT intersection are 37.5910 -79.4511 . These are from the web page referenced at Mile 2.1. 1/29/10 Several 1
dlcul @ conncoll.edu
5.4
Belfast Trail
  Poor            Great




At this intersection a trail leads right (assuming N to S travel on the AT). The AT Guide calls this the Belfast Trail but the sign says the Gunter Ridge Trail. However both sources agree it is 0.4 miles to junction of the two trails. The Belfast Trail goes left and then leads 2.4 miles farther to VA 781. It passes the Devil's Marbleyard, a boulder field, which can be seen approximately in the center of the attached map. To reach the Belfast Trailhead follow USFS 35 4.2 miles from Petites Gap (Se Mile 9.9), going away from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Alternatively, follow VA 759 south for 3.2 miles from VA 130 at Natural Bridge Station. Go left (east) on VA 781 1.5 miles to reach the trailhead. Limited roadside parking. There is additional parking on the left beyond the trailhead. The green arrow marks the trailhead. If one looks at the satellite view of the map and zooms in on the area of the arrow, the parking lot can clearly be seen. I have not scouted either the trails or their trailheads. Information is from from the AT Guide to Central Virginia. and the following web pages: http://www.midatlantichikes.com/devilsmarbleyard.htm and http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/gwj/gp/pdf_files/hiking-trails-james-river-face.pdf . Coordinates at the AT intersection are 37.5859 -79.4551 . These are from the web page referenced at Mile 2.1. 1/29/10 6-8 1
dlcul @ conncoll.edu
5.4
Gunter Ridge Trail
  Poor            Great



 
At this intersection a trail leads right (assuming N to S travel on the AT). The AT Guide calls this the Belfast Trail but the sign says the Gunter Ridge Trail. However both sources agree it is 0.4 miles to junction of the two trails. The Gunter Ridge Trail goes right and then leads 3.4 miles farther to the Glenwood Horse Trail where it ends. A large parking lot is nearby. To reach this parking area by car go south on VA 759 from VA 130 near Natural Bridge Station. In 0.9 miles turn left on VA 782. Beyond the Jellystone Park Campground the paved road makes a sharp right turn. Stay on the paved road and continue 0.3 miles to the horse trail parking lot. This is marked by the green arrow on the attached map. I have not scouted either the trails or their trailheads. Information is from from the AT Guide to Central Virginia. and the following web pages: http://www.midatlantichikes.com/devilsmarbleyard.htm and http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/gwj/gp/pdf_files/hiking-trails-james-river-face.pdf . Coordinates at the AT intersection are 37.5859 -79.4551 . These are from the web page referenced at Mile 2.1. 01/30/10 Ample 1
dlcul @ conncoll.edu
7.2
Sulphur Spring Trail (S. Jct)/ Trailhead
  Poor            Great



 
Following information from the AT guide to Central Virginia and the following web page: I have not scouted these trails or trailheads, though I have seen the intersections with the AT. To reach the Sulfur Spring Trailhead follow USFS 35 2.6 miles from Petites Gap (Se Mile 9.9), going away from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Alternatively, follow VA 759 south for 3.2 miles from VA 130 at Natural Bridge Station. Go left (east) on VA 781 which becomes USFS 35 for another 3.2 miles. Trail with limited parking is on the left by a bridge. The approximate location of the trailhead is at Marker A on the attached map. I have not scouted either the trails or their trailheads though I have seen the intersection with the AT. Information is from from the AT Guide to Central Virginia. and the following web page: http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/gwj/gp/pdf_files/hiking-trails-james-river-face.pdf . Coordinates at the AT intersection are from the web page referenced at Mile 2.1.
The Sulfur Spring Trail essentially follows the route on an old road. The Google map recognizes this as a road, incorrectly called the Belfast Trail. It is not open to traffic. It is 2.9 miles to the southern intersection with the AT (Marker B). The Sulfur Spring continues, meeting the Piney Ridge Trail in 125 feet and then going 2.3 miles to meet the AT again at Mile 4.9. 1/30/10
3 or 4 1
dlcul @ conncoll.edu
7.2
Sulfur Spring Trail (S. Jct.)/ Piney Ridge Trail
  Poor            Great



 
The Piney Ridge Trailhead is reached by turning west off US 501 onto gravel USFS 54 (AKA Hunt Club Road) about two miles northwest of the Blue Ridge Parkway James River Bridge or 0.9 miles southeast of the south end of Snowden Bridge. After 0.6 miles, just beyond Big Island Hunt and Fish Club, bear right uphill about 600 feet along a gravel logging road to limited parking. The trail begins at a gated road. The green arrow on the map marks the approximate position of the trailhead. If you zoom in on the satellite view of the area around the arrow, it appears a if there is a parking pull-off here.


I have not scouted either this trail or the trailhead though I have seen the intersection of the Sulfur Spring Trail with the AT. Information is from from the AT Guide to Central Virginia. The Piney Ridge Trail goes southwest 3.5 miles to meet the Sulfur Spring Trail. Go left here for 125 feet to meet the AT. Coordinates at the AT are 37.5760 -79.4373. (See web page referenced at Mile 2.1) 01/30/10 Limited 1
dlcul @ conncoll.edu
7.7
Marble Spring Campsite
  Poor            Great



 
An 0.8 mile unblazed unmarked trail leaves the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 68.7 and meets the AT at Marble Spring Campsite (the site of the former Marble Springs Shelter). Parking is 0.6 miles uphill at the James River Valley Parking Area. Parkway rangers must be notified of overnight parking. The markers are at the parking area. Rotate the street view to the east to see the parking. I have seen what I think is trail at its intersection with the AT. It bears right at the north end of the campsite. I have not seen the trail head at the Parkway. Normally I am hesitant to submit unmarked trails I have not hiked myself, but I met a Natural Bridge Appalachian Trail Club maintainer who told me the trail still does exist. It avoids the steep climb up and over Highcock Knob or in the other direction, the 2000 foot climb from the James River. 06/05/07 8-10 at James River Valley Parking Area. 1
dlcul @ conncoll.edu
9.9
Petites Gap (USFS 35)
  Poor            Great



 
Parking area is on north side of USFS 35, 300 feet west of Blue Ridge Parkway (Milepost 71). Further to the west USFS 35 becomes VA 781 where state maintenance begins. USFS 35 may be gated at the parkway during winter. The B marker on the attached map indicates the actual trail crossing and parking area. The A marker shows the intersection of Petites Gap Road with the Blue Ridge Parkway. The street view shows Petites Gap Road at the Parkway. At the actual trail crossing the northbound trail to Section 22 goes east (right if coming from parkway). The southbound rail to Section 2 goes left (west). 11/26/2009 6 1
dlcul @ conncoll.edu

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