Parking on the VA/WV Appalachian Trail

Section 39 - Rich Valley (VA 42) to Great Valley (US11/ I-81) 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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Hiker Rated
Parking Safety
Directions Comments Number of Vehicles Map   &  
Rich Valley (VA 42)
  Poor            Great

O'Lystery, Lynn Camp Creek, Bland County:

From I-77 take exit 52 at Bland, go left from Northbound ramp, right from Southbound ramp, which will put you on West Bluegrass Trail/Rt 42, which at this point is also South Scenic Highway/Rt 52. Go about 5 miles and the road splits at a "Y". Keep right at the "Y" and stay on Rt 42/West Bluegrass Trail. Go about 14 miles to Ceres (not really a town, a small community) and watch for a small picnic shelter on the right. This is "O'Lystery" . If you cross the Bland County/Smyth County line you have gone too far. The picnic shelter is privately-owned, but there is a nice big, gravelled AT parking area right beside the shelter. 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 theough privately-owned farmland/woodland, with only the "track" accessible t 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, b/c 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.
Cecil.Sink @
Best access from I-81 from the south or west is probably via Marion. Take VA 16 (paved but winding mountain road) north from Marion to Route 42. VA 42 comes in from the left about 16 miles from Marion. The two routes coincide for a short distance then VA 42 goes right (east). Follow VA 42 11 miles to the O'Lystery Pavillion which is on the left. The AT parking lot is just beyond this. This is 0.3-0.4 miles before the Jct. of VA 42 and Va 610. The AT crosses VA 42 west of the parking area and the pavillion. A word about O'Lystery Pavillion. 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. 06/11/07 10-12
dlcul @
The markers on the attached map indicate the entrance to the parking area. This can be seen in the street view. Walk west (actually southwest right here) to find the actual trail crossing. 11/30/09 1
at @
An alternate route from I-81 is to follow the route from Exit 50 given for the VA 610 crossing (Mile 2.4). Continue another 1.9 miles to the intersection with VA 42. Turn left 0.3 miles to reach the trail crossing and parking lot. Note: It is probably possible to continue of 622 from the VA 610 intersecton for about 3.5 miles to VA 42, then go right another 3.5 miles to the AT, but I have not checked out this last stretch of VA 622. The green arrow on the attached map indicates the trail crossing. Rotate the view to the northwest to see the northbound trail to Section 38. The southbound trail to Section 39 is less clearly defined but can be seen in the southeast street view. A view to the northeast shows eastbound VA 42. The AT parking lot is on the other side of the line of pine trees in the picture. 06/10/08 1
dlcul @
Blue blazed trail out of back of AT parking lot leads 50 feet to AT. To the left, south. To the right, north. 12/12/15 12 1
usnowds @
VA 742
  Poor            Great

See directions to the crossing of VA 42 (Mile 0.0). The intersection of VA 42 and VA 610 is 0.3 miles west of the crossing. Follow VA 610 south for 0.8 miles to the intersection with VA 742. Go right on VA 742 a short distance, passing the ruins of Tilson's Mill. The northbound trail comes in from the left, follows the road across a low water bridge "over" the North Fork of the Holston River, then goes right into the woods towards VA 42. The guidebooks indicate no parking here and it appears this is accurate. Even roadside parking would be difficult at best. This is probably better called an access point than a parking place. If the river is high, the low water bridge may be flooded. It may be necessary to use VA 610 and VA 42 as a detour. See 'AT Guide to Southwest Virginia' . The marker indcates ths bridge. 12/01/09 None to very limited 1
dlcul @
An alternate route from I-81 is to follow the route from Exit 50 given for the VA 610 crossing (Mile 2.4). Continue another 1.1 miles to the intersection with VA 742. Turn left a short distance to the trail crossing. 06/10/08
dlcul @
VA 610
  Poor            Great

See directions to the crossing of VA 42 (Mile 0.0). The intersection of VA 42 and VA 610 is 0.3 miles west of the crossing. Follow VA 610. This goes initially south but then turns right (west). It is 1.9 miles to the trail crossing at the Bland-Smyth County line. While the 'AT Guide to Southwest Virginia' says parking is available here, I found it was limited. I was able to pull off the pavement onto the grass at te crossing. There might be more parking just to the east where the paved road makes a turn to the left and the remnant of an old road goes straight ahead. I would be hesitant to park overnight here. If driving from VA 42 on VA 610, the southbound trail goes left, the northbound trail goes right. 12/01/09 Limited roadside parking 1
dlcul @
This point may also be reached from I-81 via the following route. Take exit 50. The road at the end of the ramp is VA 622. Go north a short distance to US 11. Go left. VA 622 and US 11 coincide for 0.4 miles then VA 622 goes right. This is a paved but winding mountain road. Go approx. 8.5 miles from US 11 and go RIGHT on VA 610 (Old Rich Valley Road). Shortly before this VA 610 goes left but this should be ignored. Go about 4 mile to the trail crossing at the Bland-Smyth County line (sign). There is also a sign indicating a change of road name to Nebo Road. There trail crosses stiles on either side of the road. If you take this route to the crossing, the northbound trail goes left, the southbound trail goes right. See pictures for a view of the signs and northbound stile. 06/10/08
dlcul @
Crawfish-Channel Rock Tail (Crawfish Valley)
  Poor            Great

To reach the trailhead, take exit 60 off I-81 and follow VA 680 north for 2.6 miles, then go left on VA 625. In a short distance go left, staying on VA 625. Most of the way the road is gravel, but well maintained. In 4.5 miles, just after passing a small church, go left on USFS 727 (Strawberry Road). This road is not as well-maintained. In two miles the road ends at a large parking circle. Just before the circle, the road fords a small creek which might be problematical after a heavy rain. The approximate location of the parking area is indicated by the marker on the attached map. I have not hiked this trail, so information is from "Hiking Virginia" a Falcon Guide written by Bill and Mary Burnham. I have checked out the trail head. This SIDE TRAIL, blazed with orange diamonds, forms a 10 mile loop and provides access to the AT in Crawfish Valley, avoiding the climb over Big Walker Mt. from the north or Guillion Mt. from the south. Mostly the route follows old roads., starting out on a gated continuation USFS 727. When the route splits after a mile, keep straight. It is 2.8 miles from the parking area to the AT in Crawfish Valley. The sign at that intersection simply says "Crawfish Trail". This trail is also open to bikes and horses. 12/01/09 15-20 1
dlcul @
Crawfish-Channel Rock Trail (Gullion Mt.)
  Poor            Great

See previous listing (Mile 5.5) for directions to parking area. I have not hiked this trail, so information is from "Hiking Virginia" a Falcon Guide written by Bill and Mary Burnham. This SIDE TRAIL is blazed with orange diamonds. To reach the AT intersection on Gullion Mt., take the old road from the parking area, then in 1 mile where the loop actually begins, go left. It is 5 miles by this route, so this really isn't that good an access. I am including it only for completeness. (Via the other branch to Crawfish Valley and then the AT, it is only 3.9 miles to this point.) If you are taking the trail from the AT go east at the intersection at the crest of Gullion Mt. This would be right if going north on the AT. This intersection only has the orange diamond blazes and no sign. Note: The AT Guide to Southwest Virginia says the two trail cross several times on the crest of the mountain, but I saw only this one intersection. 06/11/08 15-20
dlcul @
Davis Valley Road (VA 617)
  Poor            Great

Groseclose. Interstate 81 to (Virginia exit 54. From the exit, take Davis Valley Road and just follow the signs to Davis Valley Winery. The AT crossing is nearby the Winery.The winery sits on a hill on Davis Valley Road 1.8 miles from the exit. There is some roadside parking near the winery and the winery has a parking lot. Consult ahead of time with the owners about parking in their lot. Try their winery tour. Very nice folks! (pretty good "grape juice" too! :-) 05/13/07
Cecil.Sink @
As indicated above, follow Davis Valley Road north from Exit 54 off I-81 in Groseclose. This is initially VA 683, but in approximately a half-mile, it bears right and becomes VA 617. The traill crossing is 0.8 miles from I-81. The mariker indicates the trail crossing. There is a very small parking lot on the right just before the trail crossing. It can be seen on the satellite vies of the map. Driving from I-81, the southbound AT is to the right from VA 617, northbound is to the left. 12/01/09 2-3 1
dlcul @
Great Valley (US11/ I-81)
  Poor            Great

Official southern end of section is at junction of US 11 (Lee highway) and VA 683 0.1 mile south of Exit 54 of I-81 (Groseclose Exit). The marker indicates this intersection. Roadside parking might be difficult at best. Parking is reportedly available in the lot for The Barn restaurant which is at the intersection. See mile 0.1 of Section 40 for more parking in this area. Northbound AT (to Secction 39) goes north on VA 683 under freeway overpass. The north view on the street view shows this road. Southbound AT (to Section 40) goes west on US 11/VA 683 for 0.1 mile before going left (south) up an old farm road. Rotate the street view to the west to so see the route along US 11. 12/30/10 1
dlcul @
While they have a sign indicating they tow, if you go into The Barn restaurant they will give you a parking tag to put on your dash and tell you where to park for five dollars per day. 12/12/15 20-50 1
usnowds @

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