Parking on the VA/WV Appalachian Trail

Section 31 - Sinking Creek Valley (VA 42) to Johns Creek Valley (USFS 156) Displayed from North to South

Maintained by:
  Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club RATCHikemaster @ Black Horse Gap to Pine Swamp Branch Shelter, and US 460 at the New River to VA 611

Submit Information Submit Pictures

Hiker Rated
Parking Safety
Directions Comments Number of Vehicles Map   &  
Sinking Creek Valley (VA 42)
  Poor            Great

The green arrow on the atttached map indicates the trail crossing. In the street view to the northwest, the southbound trail to Section 31 can be seen as a faint green line crossing the field on the left side of the view. The stile which the trail crosses is also visible. The view to the southwest shows the northbound trail to Section 30. There is a sign here. A better view of this sign is seen in the User Photo suppplied with the map. 11/29/09 1
dlcul @
The northern end of this section is in Sinking Creek valley on Va.42, approximately 7 miles west of Newport and 21 southwest of New Castle. The trail crosses Va 42 about 50 yards southwest of 629. 05/25/08
atbits @
According to my odometer, the AT crossing of VA 42 is 9.6 miles east of the intersection of VA 42 and US 460 just west of Newport. As noted above the intersection of VA 42 with VA 629 is a few hundred feet further west. According to the "AT Guide to Central Virginia", the southbound trail from VA 42 "descends driveway and turns left to cross stile. (Hikers my park vehicles along side of driveway, but must not block either driveway or farm lane in front of stile." My observation is that this drive way essentially descends steeply into a ditch. Parking would be very difficult here at best. It might be possible to park on the grass on the south side of the road. 06/06/08 Very limited if any
dlcul @
After crossing into craig county from 460 west, you will pass a church. The AT sign is on the right. Parking is in a small lot just ahead. Room for 3-4 cars. 11/27/16 3-4 can fit 1
cmargheim @
Johns Creek Mountain Trail
  Poor            Great

The trail head for the Johns Mountain Creek Trail is on VA 658. It is near the high point of this road as it goes from Sinking Creek Valley to Johns Creek Valley about 1.4 miles from VA 42 and 2.7 miles from VA 632. The trailhead is not well-marked and I missed it when I passed through the region. Information is from a topo map available at and the following: . There is some parking at the head of an old road. Rotate the street view on the attached map from west to northwest to see the old road and possible parking. The green arrow on the attached map indicates the location. See mile 7.4 for info about reaching VA 658. This SIDE trail connects VA 658 to the AT at the site of a former fire tower on Johns Creek Mountain. It is about 3.5 miles long and supposedly follows the crest of the ridge. Because of its length, it is probably more of an alternate than an access. I am not sure of where the trail actually starts but probably initially follows the old road seen in the northwest street view. 03/9/10 3-4 1
dlcul @
VA 601
  Poor            Great

The green marker on the attached map indicates the trail crossing of VA 601 in Rocky Gap. There is no Google Street View for this location, but there are two user supplied photos that show it as well as a shot in the pictures for this section. 4/2/08 1
at @
Follow VA 42 east from its junction with US 460 just west of Newport. In about a mile go left on VA 601, also called Clover Hollow Road. Eventually this turns to gravel and changes its name to Laurel Spring Road. Soon after becoming gravel, there is a sign saying "Appalachian Trail 1.5 miles". The trail crossing is right at the top of the subsequent climb. Some parking is on the left (See pictures). Total distance from VA 42 is 7 miles. The southbound AT goes left (assuming you are coming from Newport). The northbound AT goes right and starts to climb on an old road. 06/03/08 2-3
dlcul @
Johns Creek Valley (USFS 156)
  Poor            Great

The AT may be reached from New Castle by following VA 311 west to VA 658, VA 658 to Johns Creek Valley Rd. (VA 632; designated USFS Rd. 156 where USFS maintenance begins), and the latter to War Branch Trail. The distance from New Castle is about 30 miles. The south end of the section may also be reached from VA 42 near Simmonsville (10 miles east of Newport) by following VA 658 north about 4 miles, then turning left and following Johns Creek Valley Rd. (VA 632) for 4.2 miles. This becomes USFS 156. 3/3/2006
Here is some more detail on the route from Newport and US 460. Follow directions to the AT crossing of VA 42 (See Mile 0.0) near the intersection of VA 42 and VA 629. Continue east on VA 42 for another 2.2 miles (according to my odometer). Go left on VA 638 and cross the ridge to Johns Creek Valley. In 4.2 miles at a T intersection, go left on VA 632.

VA 632 is paved for most of its length except for the last mile or so which is gravel. You pass the intersection with VA 601 and then a sign indicating state maintenance ends. Beyond this point it is USFS 156. In about half a mile, the parking area is on the right. There is a sign saying this is Wilderness Parking and that the road ahead is dead-end with this being the last turn-around point. See pictures for a view of the parking area. The markers on the attached map indicate the APPROXIMATE location of the parking area. The AT crosses the road just beyond the parking area. Northbound to Section 31 is left, southbound to Section 32 is right. By my odometer, this is 5.4 miles from VA 658, not 4.2 as stated above and in the AT Guide. 06/06/08
5-6 1
dlcul @

1 If the MAP, WEATHER or PARKING SAFETY BUTTONS do not work for you, have your browser permit pop-ups for this site.

Section 31 Pictures

Home | Virginia - West Virginia | Webmaster | Submit Information | Submit Pictures | Other Links | Children's Page

Join us on Facebook

Page last updated: 9/19/2016 3:21:47 PM