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Section 38 - Garden Mountain (VA 623) to Rich Valley (VA 42) Displayed from North to South

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Mile
Marker
 
Hiker Rated
Parking Safety
Directions Comments Number of Vehicles  Map   &  
 Weather  
Source
0.0
Garden Mountain (VA 623)
   Poor           Great




The north end of this section is on remote, winding, gravel VA 623 on the crest Garden Mountain, 4.5 miles south of Burkes Garden and approximately 7.5 miles north of a point on VA 42 which is 6.5 miles west of US 21 and US 52 and 11 miles west of Bland. 3/3/2006
 

 

4/2/08
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at @ rohland.org
One landmark that indicates the parking area is close coming from VA 42 is a mailbox high on a pole on the right side of the road. The attached map shows the parking area marked by the green arrow. The parking area is on the left (west) side of the road. The northbound AT to Section 37 goes east, the southbound to Section 38 goes west. 07/10/09 4-6
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David Cullen
Sep. 12, 2013. Drove up road 623 from Hwy 42 --TERRIBLE road , VERY narrow barely one lane &you may meet traffic coming south--someone has to back up to a wide spot--rare. There is a 100 ft drop off one side and only 12-18 inch before culvert other sid. -I feel this road should NOT be taken. To go 15 miles up 623 to Walkers' Gap access took me 55 min. Over 20 sharp hairpin blind turns. I was constantly honking horn to not run into someone. 09/13/13
 

 

kingsue @ safe-mail.net
4.9
Walker Gap
   Poor           Great



 
Approach to this point is through Burkes Garden. One route is to take VA 61 east from Tazewell. In about 5 miles, go right ( south) onto VA 623, here paved. This road goes over a ridge and descends into Burkes Garden. At approximately 8 miles from VA 61, go right on paved VA727. Follow this 4.2 miles (according to my odometer) to the end of the pavement. Continue straight ahead on a dirt continuation of VA 627. There is a dirt parking area on the left in 0.4 miles. This dirt section is currently in good condition (May 2011), but I have heard stories about it being in very poor condition or being gated. In such cases it would be possible to park roadside past the last house on the paved section and walk the rest of the way. The green arrow on the attached map indicates the trail crossing. The position may only be approximate, At the crossing the northbound trail goes east and climbs out of the gap to the ridge of Garden Mountain. The southbound trail goes west and starts the climb to Chestnut Knob. 06/12/11 4-5
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David Cullen
Burkes Garden and Walker Gap may also be reached via VA 623 from the south. Be advised that this is a winding mountain road. See directions to the trail crossing of VA 623. Descend the north side of the mountain. Shortly after the route flattens out (about 2.8 miles from the vA 623 crossing, go left on VA 667. In 2.2 miles, go left of VA 727. From here is about 1 mile to the end of the paved road and 1.5 miles to the parking area. (See previous listing). 06/12/11
 

 

David Cullen
The Walker's Gap access road off 727 is terrible--12-18 in. gullies & washouts, steep climb. I barely made it in a Buick Van in 1st gear. Recommend you park on pavement, room for maybe 3 cars and walk up about 1/4 mile to trailhead. 09/13/13
 

 

kingsue @ safe-mail.net
Although I did not drive to this junction, when I hiked by there were several cars parked here - including a vintage VW bug - so the road in must be passable. 10/17/20
 

 

Fussymary @ aol.com
10.8
USFS Rd. 222
   Poor           Great




It's a long, slow haul from Rt. 42 but I had no problem driving to the Trail head parking area. There were several other cars coming and going on this road. 10/17/20
 

 

fussymary @ aol.com
Trail Crossing and Parking: 37.02286, -81.42536

For easiest access, use the community of Ceres, VA as starting point. The junction of VA 42 and VA 625 may be reached by turning right from VA 42 onto VA 625, at a point approximately 14.5 miles west of I-77. From this junction VA 625 is a gravel road. In approximately 6.5 miles you will reach a sign that says end of state maintenance. This is where the road becomes USFS 222 and it is 1.5 miles further to the parking area. Total distance from junction is about 8 miles. NOBO crosses USFS 222 and SOBO leaves from the parking lot.
Our April 2022 experience: accessed in our minivan. VA 625 was in decent shape, but the road deteriorated when state maintenance ended and it became USFS 222 (the last 1.5 miles). We managed fine, but I could see how a slightly higher clearance vehicle could be preferred especially if the road further deteriorates. 05/28/22 4
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WardandDA @ gmail.com
17.3
Rich Valley (VA 42)
   Poor           Great



 
Parking and Trail Crossing: 36.984340, -81.405521
The AT crosses VA 42 west of the parking area and the pavilion. A word about O'Lystery Pavilion. All the guide books plus stories from hikers indicate it is private and strictly off-limits to hikers. Apparently in the past there have been signs to this effect, but I saw none. I don't know if this indicates a change in policy by the owners or not, but it would probably be wise not to use it. AT lot is clearly marked.
Access from I-81 and I-77 is available. VA 42 is paved. This lot is easily accessed via paved roads, but there are many gravel mountain roads in the area, so plot your route accordingly. Short access walk to the AT starts in the back of the parking area and leads 50 feet to AT. To the left, south. To the right, north

If you head North bound on the trail from here, 'water up' every chance you get, there are two major stream crossings but two really big climbs through dry areas. If you head South toward Groseclose, the trail runs 9 miles though privately-owned farmland woodland, with only the track accessible to hikers. There are many, many wooden ladder-stiles over farm-fence, so be prepared to get tired of climbing up and down ladders. Very pretty country though. 'Water up' here as well, because although you are close to a stream most of the hike, it's cow country (filter or disinfect) and you are mostly fenced off from the stream, or legally denied access, because of the private land. 06/08/22
15
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WardandDA @ gmail.com

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