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Section 24 - Parkers Gap Road (USFS 812) to Jennings Creek Road (VA 614) 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
Parkers Gap Road (USFS 812)
   Poor           Great



 
USFS 812 leaves the Blue Ridge Parkway at the north end of the Sunset Field Overlook (Mile 78.4 of the parkway) and heads north. The AT crosses USFS 812 0.3 miles from the parkway. See attached map. The marker indicates the crossing. GPS: N37.5106 W79.52255 Note: Vehicle approach from the other direction is not recommended. Although USFS Rd. 812 is passable by car, it winds nearly 10 miles from VA 781 in Arnold Valley through mountainous terrain to the AT. Parking right at the AT crossing is virtually non-existent. Far better parking is available at the nearby Sunset Fields Overlook. This is labeled as Apple Orchard Falls Trailhead on the map. Either walk down USFS 812 or follow the Apple Orchard Falls Trail (initially paved) 0.2 miles to the AT, then turn right (northbound) on the AT 0.1 miles to the USFS 812 crossing. At the crossing the northbound trail to Section 23 goes east (right if coming via the road from the Parkway) while the southbound goes west (left) to Section 24 07/02/19 Probably 0 at crossing. Use Sunset Field
  1

 

David Cullen
0.0
Parkers Gap Road (Sunset Field))
   Poor           Great




Sunset Field Overlook is at Mile 78.4 of the Blue Ridge Parkway. This is 14.5 miles south of US 501 and 7.6 miles north of the point where VA 43 enters the Parkway from Bedford, VA. The marker on the attached map indicates the north entrance. GPS:N37.5077 W79.5235 The street views to the north and west from this point shows the overlook parking. USFS 812 is the road going off to the right on the north view. USFS 812 (Parker's Gap Road) soon becomes gravel. 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.
To reach the trail crossing of Parkers Gap Road (USFS 812) either walk down the road for 0.3 miles or take the Apple Orchard Falls Trail from the parking area. For a short distance this is paved. Via that route it is 0.2 miles to the AT. Go right (northbound) for 0.1 miles to reach the USFS 812 crossing. There is little to no parking at the crossing. The trace of the AT is marked on the map. GPS of crossing: N37.5106 W79.5255 07/02/19 Ample at Sunset Field
  1

 

David Cullen
0.1
Apple Orchard Falls Trail (North Creek Road)
   Poor           Great



 
See previous listing (Mile 0.0) for description of this approach from the upper trailhead at Sunset Field where there is ample parking. To reach the lower trailhead from I-81, take Exit 168 and follow VA 614, Jennnings Creek Road, for 3 miles. Turn left on USFS 59. There is a large sign for the North Creek Recreation area at this intersection. Follow USFS 59 to its end 4.5 miles from VA 614. Ignore all side roads. The road passes North Creek Campground. All but the last 1.8 miles is paved. There is a sign for this trail (as well as the Cornelius Creek Trail) at the intersection where the gravel portion begins. There is a reasonably large parking area at the trailhead. Since Google does not acknowledge the existence of the last two miles of the road, a Google map is useless here. GPS at trailhead: N37.5296 W79.5532 It is 3.4 miles and a 2000 foot climb from the lower trailhead to the AT via this trail. At the AT, the southbound trail goes right while the northbound goes left. Coordinates at the AT are N37.5097 W79.5228. It is obviously easier to get to the AT from the upper trailhead (Sunset Field). However the route from the lower trailhead makes for a very nice if strenuous loop trip. when combined with the AT and the Cornelius Creek Trail. See Mile 1.2. 07/02/19 12-15
 

  1

David Cullen
1.2
Cornelius Creek Trail
   Poor           Great



 
Trail head for this trail is at the end of USFS 59, which is also the trail head for the Apple Orchard Falls Trail (See Mile 0.1) It is 2.9 miles and a 1760 foot climb to the AT via this trail. At the intersection the southbound AT goes right while the northbound goes left. Coordinates at the AT are N37.5065 W79.5356. This trail combined with the AT and Apple Orchard Falls Trail (See Mile 0.1) makes a nice if strenuous loop. The following link provides a good description of the loop. https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/regions/southern/AppleOrchardFalls/index.shtml 07/02/2019 12-15
 

 

David Cullen
2.7
Cornelius Creek Shelter Trail
   Poor           Great



 
This unmarked access starts at Floyd Field (Mile 80.4 of the Blue Ridge Parkway). The parkway here is running northwest-southeast and the field is on the southeast side. Parking is possible on the grass. There is a dirt road at one edge of the open area and there are one or two obvious parking places along it. The red marker indicates the entrance to this road. GPS: N37.4928 W79.54935 If you rotate the street view from this point most of Floyd Field can be seen to the south and west. The fire road that is the start of the trail to the shelter is on the north side. While day parking is probably OK, I assume the usual regulation of notifying the Parkway rangers if you plan to park overnight applies See Mile 0.0 (Sunset Field). . The access route, a SIDE TRAIL, starts on a fire road on the opposite side of the parkway. Follow this about 0.1 miles, looking for an unmarked but obvious trail to the right. Follow this another 0.1 miles. The composting privy is passed, then tenting sites and finally the Cornelius Creek Shelter is reached. GPS at the shelter: N37.4937 W79.5472. The position shown for the shelter on the map is incorrect. From the shelter follow the blue-blazed trail 0.1 miles to the AT. Northbound trail is right, southbound is left. 07/04/19 Several on grass.
  1

  1

David Cullen
7.5
Button Hill Trail to VA 714
   Poor           Great



 
From the AT crossing of VA 614, Jennings Creek Road, (Mile 11.4) continue on VA 614 0.3 miles. Go left on VA 618, passing a commerical campgound. In 1.9 miles at a T intersection, go left on VA 620 for 250 feet. VA 620 crosses Middle Creek, then goes right. Continue straight ahead on gravel VA 714 0.7 miles to end of state-maintained road. On the attached map, VA 714 is labeled Inn Road and VA 614 is labeled Middle Creek Road. The trail head and end of state maintenance is shown by the marker. There are dirt pull-offs at the end of the road where parking is possible. Button Hill Trail is an entirely unofficial name for this connector SIDE TRAiL. This area was the site of a dump for a button factory hence the name. The trail goes to the right (east) from the end of VA 714 over Button Hill, meeting the AT in 0.5 miles. It starts out following an old road. There are two roads going southeast from the end of VA 714. Take the more southerly of the two, the poorer quality one. The two roads come together in a small field in about 100 yards. The trail continues on the old road and goes back into the woods. The initial blazes were quite faded when I hiked this trail, but became much better after the trail re-entered the woods. The old road descends briefly, climbs gradually, and then ends at a small clearing. The trail continues as a footpath, bearing to the east and descending steeply to meet the AT 0.1 miles east (trail north) of Bryant Ridge Shelter. There are no trail signs at the VA 714 end and only a sign to the shelter at the AT end. At the AT intersection, the northbound trail goes right, the southbound goes left. Coordinates at the AT are N37.5284 W79.5851 . A recent report (July 2019) from the Natural Bridge Appalachian Trail Club says the trail is currently in very good shape.. Thanks to nstanner12 @ comcast.net . 07/07/19 Limited roadside parking
  1

  1

David Cullen
From the Blue Ridge Parkway at Powell Gap (Mile 89.1) follow VA 618 north for 4.1 miles to the intersection with VA 614. Turn sharp right. The two route coincide for 0.6 miles. When they separate, go left on VA 618. In 0.7 miles the intersection with VA 620 is reached. VA 618 goes left towards Middle Creek Campground. Continue straight ahead on VA 620 for 200 feet and then VA 714 0.7 miles to end of state-maintained road. Total distance from Powell Gap 7.5 miles. Here is another recent (July 2019) report on this trail from nanthony @ embarqmail.com of the Natural Bridge Appalachian Trail Club..
The northbound trail from Va. 714 over Button Hill is in good condition. I was over it yesterday. It is blue-blazed and the shelter sign is still at the junction of the Button Hill (former AT) Trail and the AT. The Button Hill Trail is very obvious and it is maintained. There is no sign. It is accessed from the end of Va. 714 by following the dirt road that bears right away from the gated road. 07/15/19

 

 

David Cullen
9.2
Blue-blazed Trail to VA 714
   Poor           Great



 
This trail starts at end of VA 714, the same place as the Button Hill Trail (See Mile 7.5 including the attached map). The blue-blazed SIDE trail supposedly goes to the left (northwest) from the end of VA 714, meeting the AT in 0.8 miles.When I did this section of the AT in 2006 I did not see the intersection with the AT. At the VA714 end I saw a few then freshly painted blazes. A recent (July 2019) communication from nstanner12 @ comcast.net of the Natural Bridge Appalachian Trail Club reports this trail is not well-maintained and may be hard to follow in places. At the AT intersection, the northbound trail goes right, the southbound goes left. Coordinates at the intersection are 37.5340 -79.5879. These are from the following source: https://www.backpacker.com/trips/appalachian-trail-va-614-to-blue-ridge-parkway
Update: Here is another recent (July 2019) report on this trail, this one from nanthony @ embarq.com of the Natural Bridge Appalachian Trail Club. "The southbound trail from Va. 714 heading over Fork Mt. is neither obvious nor maintained for several stretches of its 0.8 miles. It is accessed via a narrow trail that bears left away from the edge of Va. 714 through a brushy area several yards before the gated road at the end of Va. 714. Parts of it are easy enough to follow but on other parts you have to know where you want to go. There are some remaining blue blazes. I hope that this situation will be remedied in the not too distant future since this is listed as s trail that NBATC maintains." 07/15/19
Limited roadside parking
 

 

David Cullen
11.4
Jennings Creek Road (VA 614)
   Poor           Great




From Exit 168 of I-81, go east on VA 614. Eventually this bears south. The trail crossing is 4.6 miles from I-81. The parking area is on the left just after the road crosses Jennings Creek on the Panther Ford Bridge.
From the Blue Ridge Parkway at Powell Gap (Mile 89.1) follow VA 618 north for 4.1 miles to the intersection with VA 614. VA 618 goes right. Bear left onto VA 614. Continue on VA 614 for 1.8 miles to the trail crossing. Parking lot is on the right just before the bridge over Jennings Creek.Most of this route is on gravel roads. Total distance from Powell Gap 5.9 miles
The northbound trail (to Sec. 24) goes into the woods at the entrance to the parking area. The marker on the attached map indicates this point. GPS:N37.52928 W79.6230 The street view to the south from this point shows the northbound trail. The view to the east shows the parking area. The southbound trail (to Sec. 25) follows the road and crosses the bridge. It goes goes left into the woods at the point labeled Jennings Creek Appalachian Trail. GPS at this point: N37.5297 W79.6219. Rotate the street view from this point to the north to see the southbound trail. 07/07/19 10-15
  1

  1

David Cullen

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