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Section 26 - Bearwallow Gap to Black Horse Gap (USFS 186) Displayed from North to South

Maintained by:
  Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club http://www.ratc.org/ RATCHikemaster @ gmail.com Black Horse Gap to Pine Swamp Branch Shelter, and US 460 at the New River to VA 611 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
Bearwallow Gap (VA 43)
   Poor           Great




VA 43 diverges from US 11 just south of the James River crossing in Buchanan. It goes east then south meeting and then joining the Blue Ridge Parkway for several miles. The AT crosses VA 43 about 0.2 miles north of the Parkway (approximately 4.8 miles from Buchanan). There is no parking at the crossing. In another 0.1 miles there is a dirt parking lot on the left. This is just before VA 43 reaches the Parkway. The red marker on the attached map indicates the parking area. GPS: N37.4845 W79.6684. There is a rotatable view on the left side of the map. Click on that and rotate to the east and south to see the parking area. People using this area should be aware of the following statement in the Appalachian Trail Guide to Central Virginia (3rd ed., 2014). "Beware of a large deep culvert at the edge of the parking area. Numerous vehicles have requiring towing from here." Note There is another parking area on the other side of the Parkway overpass. The route designation on that side is VA 695. See next listing. Any parking safety comments here should be for the VA 43 area. There is by design no direct trail connection between the parking area and the AT. Walk north along VA 43 for 0.1 miles to the crossing. The northbound trail (to Section 25) goes right climbing some rock steps. The southbound trail (to Section 26) goes left. The trace of the Appalachian Trail shown on the map is not entirely accurate. The position of the crossing indicated by the green marker labeled Appalachian Trail is accurate. GPS: N37.4856 W79.6686 Click on this and then on the thumb nail picture on the left of the page that appears. Several photos of the crossing will be displayed. The last photo in the Pictures for Section 25 also shows the parking area. The first photo for this section (26) shows the crossing. 07/08/19 3-4 in VA 43 area
  1

  1

David Cullen
0.0
Bearwallow Gap (VA 695)
   Poor           Great



 
Coming from Buchanan alternate parking at Bearwallow Gap can be reached by following VA 43 to the Blue Ridge Parkway. On the other side of the overpass, the road becomes VA 695. (Southbound VA 43 joins the parkway until near the Peaks of Otter.) The dirt parking area on VA 695 is on the left only a short distance after the overpass. The marker shows the location of this. GPS:N37.4829 W79.6688 The street view to the east to south from this point shows the parking area. Any parking safety comments recorded here should be for the VA 695 area. Note supposedly VA 695 can be used as an access road from Montvale and points to the east and south. However I know nothing about this route. Follow the highway back under the parkway and past the dirt parking lot VA 43 parking lot on the right. The trail crossing is 0.1 miles past this. See previous listing for more details about the crossing. 07/08/19 5-6 in VA 695 lot
  1

  1

David Cullen
1.7
Mills Gap Overlook
   Poor           Great



 
Traveling south on Blue Ridge Parkway (compass southwest) Mills Gap Overlook is on the right at Mile 91.8. This is 0.9 miles south of the junction of the Parkway and VA 43 westbound to Buchanan. The GPS Coordinates of the red marker on the attached map are N37.47945 W79.68325 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.
I have chosen two points on the map that present good views of both the southbound and northbound trail. The northbound trail goes into the woods at the east end of the overlook. The north view from the point indicated by the white circle ( the one furthest east) shows the northbound trail to Bearwallow Gap. The trail is behind the trash can. The southbound trail to Sharp Top Overlook leaves the parkway near the red marker. Rotate the street view from this point to the south to see the southbound trail. Rotate either view to see the overlook area. 07/09/19 10-15
  1

  1

David Cullen
2.4
Sharp Top overlook
   Poor           Great



 
Traveling south on Blue Ridge Parkway (compass southwest) Sharp Top Overlook is on the left at Mile 93.1. This is 1.6 miles south of the junction of the Parkway and VA 43 westbound to Buchanan. If you are planning to park overnight, be aware of the BRP notification rule. See Mile 1.7. The southbound trail reaches the north end of the overlook, crosses it on a paved walk , then crosses the Parkway diagonally. The marker on the attached indicates the actual Parkway crossing. GPS: N37.4742 W79.69215 Rotate the street view on the attached map from this point. to the west to see the southbound trail. Rotate to the north to see the overlook. The point where the southbound trail reaches the overlook ( or where the northbound leaves it) is by the large apparently dead tree to the right and behind the van in the view. 07/09/19 5-7
  1

  1

David Cullen
3.1
Bobblets Gap Overlook
   Poor           Great



 
Traveling south on Blue Ridge Parkway (compass southwest) Bobblets Gap Overlook is on the right at Mile 93.1 just before the low point of the Parkway in Bobblets Gap. This is 2.2 miles south of the junction of the Parkway and VA 43 westbound to Buchanan. The marker on the attached map indicates the entrance to the parking area. GPS:N37.4672 W79.6991 The lot is clearly visible on the satellite view. If you go into Street View mode on the map, there are two blue circles near the parking area. Click on either of these to get rotatable views that show the parking area. If you are planning to park overnight, be aware of the BRP notification rule. See Mile 1.7. The AT does not actually reach this parking area. See next listing for details on how to get to the AT. 07/10/19 15-20
  1

  1

David Cullen
The AT does not actually reach this parking area. There is an unmarked "informal" trail. The best way to find this trail is to stand at the far end of the parking lot looking at the sign. If you look to your right, you should see the trail. This trail descends steeply a short distance to USFS 4008 which passes under the parkway. Go north (right) on the road a short distance to meet the AT. The AT intersection is indicated by the marker on the attached map. GPS:N37.4674 W79.6991 Southbound AT is to the left. The northbound is straight ahead on the road. In approximately 0.1 miles It goes right into the woods and starts to ascend. 07/10/19

  1

 

David Cullen
5.5
Harveys Knob Overlook
   Poor           Great



 
Traveling south on Blue Ridge Parkway (compass southwest) Harveys Knob Overlook is on the right at Mile 95.3. This is 4.4 miles south of the junction of the Parkway and VA 43 westbound to Buchanan. If you are planning to park overnight, be aware of the BRP notification rule. See Mile 1.7. AT crosses parkway at this overlook near the "northern" (compass east) end. For people traveling southbound on the Parkway, the northbound AT is on the right, southbound on the left. The marker on the attached map indicates the trail crossing. GPS: N37.44541 W79.2625 Click on either of the thumbnail pictures on the map to generate a rotatable street view. If this is rotated to the south, the southbound trail can be seen on the opposite side of the road. Look for the white blaze. In the south view, a small spur of paving can be seen going to the left. This is the beginning of the northbound trail. The paving ends in a few feet and the trail follows an old road. The view to the west shows the overlook parking. 07/10/19 15-20
  1

  1

David Cullen
6.1
Montvale Overlook
   Poor           Great



 
Traveling south on Blue Ridge Parkway (compass southwest) Montvale Overlook is on the left at Mile 95.9. This is 5.0 miles south of the junction of the Parkway and VA 43 westbound to Buchanan. The marker is set at the middle of the overlook. GPS:N37.4409 W79.7345 If you are planning to park overnight, be aware of the BRP notification rule. See Mile 1.7. The southbound AT comes in from the north end of this overlook, crosses it, then goes into the woods at the south side. It soon passes a picnic table. If you click on either of the thumbnail pictures on the left side of the map, a rotatable street view is generated. Rotate this to see the parking area and the route of the AT across it. 07/10/19 About 15
  1

  1

David Cullen
7.3
Taylors Mountain Overlook
   Poor           Great



 
Traveling south on Blue Ridge Parkway (compass southwest) Taylors Mountain Overlook is on the left at Mile 97.0. This is 6.1 miles south of the junction of the Parkway and VA 43 westbound to Buchanan. The southbound AT reaches the end of the overlook , traverses it and then crosses the Parkway diagonally at the other end (Parkway south). The street view is from the point of the actual crossing. Rotate the map to the southwest to see the southbound AT entering the woods. Rotate to the north to see the more "southerly" (actually the west) entrance to the overlook. 11/27/2009 10-12
  1

  1

David Cullen
8.0
Black Horse Gap (USFS 186)
   Poor           Great



 
Black Horse Gap is at Mile 97.7 of the Blue Ridge Parkway. This is 6.8 miles south of the junction of the Parkway and VA 43 westbound to Buchanan. It is 8.3 miles north of the intersection with US 460. While there is a sign for the gap, there is also an equestrian crossing sign which shows a diagram of a rider on a black horse. Assuming you are traveling southbound on the Parkway, there is parking space on the left (2-3 cars) with additional parking for a like number on the right at the intersection with USFS 186 (Old Fincastle Road). Do not block any roads or gates. See the last two pictures for this section (26) and the first two for Section 27. If you are planning to park overnight, be aware of the BRP notification rule. See Mile 1.7. The marker on the attached map indicates the intersection. GPS: 37.4296 W79.7572. Note: Access via USFS 186 isn't really a possibility. The Google map shows it as a trail. It also is gated. Rotate the street view from the point of the marker to the north to see Old Fincastle Road. Walk up this road a short distance to the AT crossing. There the northbound AT to Section 26 goes to the right towards Bearwallow Gap. The southbound trail to Section 27 goes left towards Salt Pond Road and eventually Daleville. 07/11/19 4-6 roadside
  1

  1

David Cullen

Most of this section closely follows the Blue Ridge Parkway. All the overlooks that provide access to the AT have an AT logo on the sign at the entrance. While there is nothing about it in the 'AT Guide to Central Virginia', notification of the Parkway Rangers may be required if parking is to be done overnight. This is the rule at other such areas on the Parkway. Such notification would certainly be prudent.
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Page last updated: 8/21/2020 2:53:57 PM