Parking on the VA/WV Appalachian Trail

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




Junction of VA 43 and VA 695, mile 90.9 of the Blue Ridge Parkway, may be approached on VA 43 from Buchanan (I-81 exits 162 and 167), 5 miles north of the AT, or on VA 695 from Montvale on US 221 and 460, 9.5 miles south of the AT. 3/3/2006 Limited parking on VA 43 just off the Parkway and on VA 695, south of the Parkway overpass.
There are two possible parking areas in Bearwallow Gap. Both are dirt. Coming from Buchanan the first parking area (on VA 43) is on the left just before the Parkway overpass. The marker and street view on the attached map are at this point which is the official southern end of Section 25. See the next listing for more information about the alternate parking area. When I hiked this section, the southbound trail to Section 26 turned right and followed VA 43 for about 0.1 miles before going left into the woods. I understand that there has been a relocation in this area avoiding the road walk, but I have not checked it out. Presumably the trail can still be accessed from this parking area. 11/27/2009 4-5 in each area 1
dlcul @ conncoll.edu
Update: According to the 'Appalachian Trail Guide to Central Virginia' (2nd ed., 2010) the trail crossing of VA 43 is now 0.1 miles compass north of this parking area. 06/23/11
dlcul @ conncoll.edu
0.0
Bearwallow Gap (VA 695)
  Poor            Great



 
Coming from Buchanan the 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 green arrow shows the location of this. The street view to the east to southeast shows the parking area. Follow the highway back under the parkway to the dirt parking lot on the right. This used to be the southern terminus of Section 25 and the northern terminus. See the previous listing for information about a recent relocation. 02/10/10 5-6 1
dlcul @ conncoll.edu
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 northbound trail goes into the woods at the east end of the overlook. This point is indicated by the A marker on the attached map. Double click on the A marker then rotate the street view to the north to see the northbound trail and to the west to see the overlook parking. The soutbound trail leaves the parkway at Marker B. Double click on marker B and rotate to the southwest to see the trail bearing diagonally to the right. . 2/13/10 10-15 1
dlcul @ conncoll.edu
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. The southbound trail reaches the north end of the overlook, crosses it on a paved walk , then crosses the Parkway diagonally. The green arrow on the attached indicates the actual crossing. Rotate the street view on the attached map to the west to see the southbound trail. Rotate to the north to see the overlook. 11/27/2009 5-7 1
dlcul @ conncoll.edu
3.0
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 pointof the Parkway in Bobblets Gap. This is 2.2 miles south of the junction of the Parkway and VA 43 westbound to Buchanan. The green arrow shows the entrance to the parking area. Rotate the street view to the west to see this access road and part of the lot. 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 to meet the AT. Southbound AT is to the left, northbound is straight ahead on the road. It goes right into the woods in about 0.1 mile. 11/27/2009 15-20 1
dlcul @ conncoll.edu
The point where the northbound trail meets Chair Rock Road (USFS 4008) is shown by the green arrow. The trail goes north on the road for about 0.1 miles, then goes left and starts to climb. Coordinates at that point are 37.4679 -79.6991. 11/27/2009 1
dlcul @ conncoll.edu
3.9
Hammond Hollow Trail
  Poor            Great



 
To reach trailhead south of Lithia between Buchanan and Troutville, take Exit 162 off I-81. Go north on US 11 for 2 miles to the intersection with VA 640. From Buchanan, this point is 2.6 miles south on US 11 from the of the intersection of VA 43 and US 11. Go southeast on VA 640. In 0.4 miles turn right to stay on VA 640. In another 1.6 miles turn left on VA 643. Stay on this for 0.4 miles then turn right on VA 645 (Fringer Trail). Stay on this for 1.4 miles to trail sign on right. I have not scouted either this trail or trailhead. Info from AT Guide to Central Virginia supplemented by that supplied at http://virginia.hometownlocator.com. The position of the trailhead indicated by the marker on the map should be considered approximate. The trail climbs 1150 feet in 2.0 miles to meet the AT. I have seen the junction with the AT. The Hammond Hollow Trail does not go all the way to the Parkway. Coordinates at the AT are 37.4595 -79.7080 . Closest access would be via the AT from Bobbletts Gap (See Mile 3.1). 2/14/2010 Supposedly Limited parking 1
dlcul @ conncoll.edu
5.5
Harveys Knob Overlook
  Poor            Great



 
Traveling south on Blue Ridge Parkway (compass southwest) Harveys Knob Overlook is at Mile 95.3. This is 4.4 miles south of the junction of the Parkway and VA 43 westbound to Buchanan. See attasched map. Rotate the street view to see the overlook. AT crosses parkway at this overlook. For people traveling southbound on the Parkway, the northbound AT is on the right, southbound on the left. If the streeet view is rotate to the southeast, the southbound trail can barely be seen. Look for the white blaze. The northbound can be seen if the view is rotated to the north. The trail follows an old road which is hidden in shadows in this view. 2/14/10 15-20 1
dlcul @ conncoll.edu
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 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. Rotate the street view of the attached map from east to south to see the parking area and the route of the AT across it. 2/14/10 About 15 1
dlcul @ conncoll.edu
6.4
Spec Mines Trail
  Poor            Great



 
The lower trail head for this trail south of Lithia between Buchanan and Troutville, can be reached by turning east off VA 640 onto VA 645. After 0.4 miles on VA 645, opposite the second and smaller of two ponds, the trail sign should be on the right. I have not scouted this trailhead or the trail. Information from 'AT Guide to Central Virgina'. I have seen the upper trailhead which is on the Blue Ridge Parkway 0.1 miles south of Montvale Overlook and 50 yards south of Milepost 96. This trail does not actually meet the AT which is on the other side of the Parkway at this point. The trail sign is visible from the AT. Best access between the two trails is probably at Montvale Overlook. From the lower trailhead, this trail climbs 1300 feet in 2.8 miles to the Parkway. For a virtual tour of the entire trail from the perspective of a mountain biker, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twREGN3pVO4&feature=channel .2/14/10
dlcul @ conncoll.edu
Here are directions to the probable location of the trailhead based on the information in the previous listing and from the Google map. The marker is across from the smaller pond mentioned and next to a strip of woods surrounded by houses. However this location should be viewed as only approximate.
See directions at mile 4.0 to the intersection of VA 640 (Lithia Road) and US 11 south of Buchanan. Follow VA 640 southeast. The road makes of turns but stay on VA 640 at all such places. AT 4.8 miles from US 11, go left on VA 645 (Fringer Trail). The smaller lake and the trailhead should 0.4 miles down this road with the trailhead on the right. .
02/14/10 Not known 1
dlcul @ conncoll.edu
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
dlcul @ conncoll.edu
8.0
Black Horse Gap (USFS 186)
  Poor            Great



 
Mile 97.7 of the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is 17 miles to Roanoke via the Parkway and combined US 221 and 460. Is is possible but not advisable except in the best of weather to reach Black Horse Gap over USFS Rd. 186 and Va 606 from US 11. USFS Rd. 186 is barred at the Parkway. 3/3/2006 limited parking
As noted above, 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. 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 (3-4 cars) with additional parking for a like number on the right at the intersection with USFS 186 (Old Fincastle Road). This road goes both ways from the gap and is gated in either direction. Do not block gates. See the last two pictures for this section. To reach the AT, walk northwest (right if coming south on the Parkway) down USFS 186 for a few feet. The northbound AT (to Section 26) goes right, the southbound AT (to Section 27) goes left. 10/30/07 See directions
dlcul @ conncoll.edu
The green arrow on the attached map marks Black Horse Gap and the intersection of USFS 186 and Blue Ridge Parkway. The street view is looking down USFS 186 from the parkway. The AT crosses USFS a short distance from the parkway. Rotate the street view to see other possible roadside parking at the gap. 11/29/2009 1
dlcul @ conncoll.edu

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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