Parking on the VA/WV Appalachian Trail

Section 32 - Johns Creek Valley (USFS 156) to Stony Creek Valley Displayed from North to South

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

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Parking Safety
Directions Comments Number of Vehicles Map   &  
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 of Section 31) 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
5-7 1
dlcul @
War Branch Trail
  Poor            Great

See directions to the AT parking lot on Salt Sulfur Turnpike (mile 5.9). Follow those directions from Mountain Lake. The trail head for the War Branch Trail (AKA the War Sour Trail) is on the right 3.5 miles from the resort. It is two miles further to the AT parking area. The marker on the attached map indicate the trailhead for the War Spur Trail. Thie AT can be reached via the War Spur Loop and War Spur Connector. I have not hiked this, but have checked out the trailhead. Included in the pictures for this section is a photo of the map on the bulletin board at the trailhead. According to the AT Guide to Central Virginia, it is 1.5 miles via this SIDE trail to the AT reaching it 0.5 miles trail north of Lone Pine Peak on the descent northbound to Johns Creek Valley 10/22/09 6-8 1
dlcul @
Salt Sulphur Turnpike (VA 613)
  Poor            Great

Bailey's Gap/Wind Rock, Giles County VA, on Salt Pond Mountain

Take US 460 West from Christiansburg VA, or East From Bluefild VA/WVA, turn (right if Westbound, left if Eastbound) onto Rt. 700/Mountain Lake Rd proceed thru the Sinking Creek Valley and up the mountain about 5-7 miles, until you pass Mountain Lake Hotel/Resort, past the resort 700 merges into Rt 613/ Salt Sulphur Road (a gravel road) go about 3 miles and look for a gravelled parking area on the left, just at the AT crossing, there's a sign for Wind Rock on the right and for Bailey's Gap on the left. Pretty overlooks and lots of ridgewalking Northbound, pretty "dry" except in early, wet spring. Rocky downhill trip Southbound, water at Stoney Creek and some springs/streams after. Water sources on top of Peter's Mountain are unreliable in dry weather.
Cecil.Sink @
4/2/08 1
at @
From the south (Mountain Lake). From US 460 follow VA 700 about 6.5 miles to Mountain Lake Resort. There is a sign for Mountain Lake at the US 460/ VA 700 intersection which is about 2 miles north of Newport via US 460. At the resort the road becomes VA 613 which soon becomes gravel. After passing the far end of the lake, turn left, staying on VA 613. By my odometer it is 5.7 miles from the resort to the top of the climb and the parking ara for the AT. This parking area is on the left side of the road.
Directions from the north (Stony Creek Valley). See Mile 11.1 for directions to the AT crossing of VA 635. From this point continue on VA 635 for about 5 miles to the intersection with VA 613. Go right onto VA 613. The road becomes gravel, passes White Rocks Campground, and starts to climb. At 1.3 miles from VA 635, go left, staying on VA 613. By my odometer it is an additional 1.9 miles to the top of the climb and the AT parking lot. The parking is on the right side of the road.

If coming from Mountain lake, the northbound trail goes right (east) towards Wind Rock and Johns Creek Valley. The southbound trail goes left, going through a very rocky section on the side of Big Mountain before descending to VA 635. If coming from Stony Creek, the left and right designations are reversed. 10/22/09 10-15 1
dlcul @
VA 734
  Poor            Great

From the intersection of VA 635 and VA 613 ( See Mile 5.9) follow the latter 1.3 miles to an intersection. Here VA 613 goes left. Continue straight ahead on VA 721. I have not driven the rest of this route, but according to the Google directions, go 2.4 miles, go left and then go another 2.4 miles on this gravel road to the trail crossing.

Alternatively, go north on VA 613 from the AT parking area (Mile 5.9) The intersection is reached in 2.2 miles. Go left onto VA 721. Note: According to the AT Guide to Central Virginia, this number VA 734. According to the Google directions is is numbered VA 721. I'm not sure which is correct.
There is no parking in the immediate area of the crossing, so this should be considered an access point only. The northbound AT goes left uphill towards Bailey Gap shelter. The southbound trail goes right downhill towards VA 635. 10/22/09 Zero See Comments 1
dlcul @
VA 635 (Stony Creek Footbridge)
  Poor            Great

See directions to the south end of the section (Mile 13.2). Continue another 1.6 miles on VA 635. Look for a substantial wooden footbridge on your left. This is the AT crossing. There is roadside parking here. A short distance north of the crossing is the parking area for the Cherokee Flats River Access. 3 or 4 cars could park near the trail crossing and another 10-12 in the parking area. The marker on the satellite view of the attached map shows the trail crossing. The Cherokee Flats area can be seen on the right side of the view. The northbound trail goes compass south while the southbound trail goes north, crossing the new footbridge over Stony Creek The bridge can be seen in the north street view on the map. The northbound trail can be seen by rotating the street view to the southwest. The entrance to the Cherokee Flats area is the first driveway on the left in the east view. 11/29/09 See directions 1
dlcul @
Same There is now a large parking lot about 150 feet north of the trailhead. You can't miss it because there is now also a huge bridge across the creek for the trail that I would expect is not more than a year or two old. 10/04/11 20 1
alfred.nai @
Stony Creek Valley
  Poor            Great

From 1-81 (Exit 118) follow signs towards Blacksburg and Christiansburg on US 460. Continue north on US 460 to the intersection with VA 42 near Newport, VA. Continue about another 12 miles passsing thorugh the town of Pembroke. Shortly before the highway crosses the New River, go right on VA 635. Go 10.3 miles (according to my odometer). Just before a bridge over Stony Creek, look for a parking area on the left. There is a USFS information board there. The green arrow on the attached map marks the parking area. It can also be seen in the westward street view. Note that the road overlay is considerably off from the actual position of the road, at least for VA 635. According to the current AT Guide to Central Virginia, the AT comes within 100 feet of VA 635 at this point. However this is not the case. Now there is a blue-blazed access trail which leads at least 0.1 miles to the AT. At the AT intersection, southbound to Section 33 is left, northbound to Section 32 is right. 11/29/09 5-6 1
dlcul @
Blue Blaze trail from parking area is about 500 feet. Trail parallels creek for a short while then ascends to the AT. There is no sign on the AT or a blaze that I saw - marking the location of this trail. Also, as of this writing, the parking area is a designated Firewood Cutting Deck which means that it is currently piled with large logs for people to come by and get firewood. This effectively cuts the amount of parking in half. 10/04/11 1
alfred.nai @

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