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Section 43 - Fox Creek (VA 603) to Elk Garden (VA 600) Displayed from North to South

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  Mt. Rogers Appalachian Trail Club http://www.mratc.org/ mtrogersatc @ gmail.com South Fork of the Holston River in Teas to VA/TN state line

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Mile
Marker
 
Hiker Rated
Parking Safety
Directions Comments Number of Vehicles  Map   &  
 Weather  
Source
0.0
Fox Creek (VA 603)
   Poor           Great




4 miles west of Troutdale, 8 miles east of US 58 at Konnarock, and 20 miles east of Damascus. Beware of vandalism 3/3/2006 ample parking
 

 

From Troutdale on VA 16, follow VA 603 west. Parking area on the left (south) when driving from Troutdale. 6/12/07 8-10
 

 

David Cullen
The green arrow on the attached map indicates the entrance to the parking area. Rotate the street view to the southwest to see the northbound AT (to Section 42) going right from the road. Rotate the street view to the southeast to see the parking area. The south bound trail to Section 43 leaves from the back of the parking area. 12/02/09
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  1

David Cullen
GPS Location: 36.696600, -81.506600
From I-81 it is paved the entire way EXCEPT that my Garmin wanted to take UNNECESSARY short cuts on gravel roads. Do a little research beforehand so you know what to ignore.
Parking lot is tucked off the road. 04/29/21 10-15
  1

  1

WardandDA @ gmail.com
4.8
Scales
   Poor           Great




The Scales is a large corral at the end of USFS 613. From the intersection of VA 603 and VA 16 in Troutdale, follow Va 603 west for 2.7 miles. Go left on USFS 613 and follow it to dead end at the Scales. Guidebooks warn that USFS 613 is a rough, high-clearance vehicle road and is not recommended for low-slung passenger cars. On the satellite view of the attached map, Marker A is the intersection of VA 603 and USFS 613. Click on the camera icon by A and rotate the picture to the southwest to see the beginning of USFS 613. Marker B indicates the Scales which can be clearly seen if the resolution is increased. The blue line is the route of USFS 613 All the vehicles I have seen at the Scales have been pickups or 4WD. There is a house trailer there. The AT goes right through the middle of the corral. 3/18/06 Ample at the Scales if you make it
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David Cullen
GPS location: 36.670101, -81.486325 There are absolutely NO WORDS for how rough this road is. You should not attempt this road without a 4WD high clearance vehicle. Plan for your tummy to possibly be a little unsettled after the bumpy ride! Our GPS showed it was about 4 miles to the top. We averaged 5-10 miles an hour. There are few pull-offs along the route, making it all the more precarious should you encounter a car coming in the opposite direction. That being said, when we arrived there was one other vehicle at the parking area. As you reach the location, you will come to a gate that should be closed (to keep the ponies out of the campground). You simply unfasten it to let yourself in and of course close it up behind you too. We parked overnight and had no vandalism issues. There is a privy at this site (though I did not go in it). This road is open year round, but not treated in the winter, so come prepared.

On a personal note: I worried about my car all night. If it wouldn't start due to malfunction or vandalism, I can't imagine the hoops you would have to go through to get a tow truck to help you get your vehicle down the road. I also worried, that if there was a tree blowdown due to wind gusts (the highlands are rather windy), I again don't know how easy it would be to get assistance. So if you do make this trek, maybe carry an ax in your trunk as a last ditch tool to help get yourself off a tree downed road. 04/29/21
20
  1

  1

WardandDA @ gmail.com
7.3
Scales Trail
   Poor           Great



 
Drive west on US 58 from Volney or east from Damascus to the entrance to Grayson Highlands State Park. Follow the main park road into the park. Just before Massie Gap Parking Area, the campground road goes right. Follow that about 1.5 miles to the entrance to the campground. Just at the point where a road forks right to the campground, there is a parking area on the left. Just beyond the parking area is a gated road. Follow this north first descending then ascending, mostly gradually. Eventually a gate is reached. Beyond this is Mt. Rogers National Recreation Area. There is a ford of Quebec Branch. About 2 miles from the campground, the Scales Trail goes right off the road, fords Big Wilson Creek and reaches the AT in 0.1-0.2 miles. To avoid this potentially difficult ford, keep straight on the road (now called the Wilson Creek Trail) for another 0.1 miles and meet the AT. Northbound is right, southbound is left. Go right, cross a creek on a footbridge and reach the intersection with the Scales Trail in 0.1-0.2 miles. The Scales Trail goes left here along an old road to reach the Scales in 1.2 miles. 3/18/06 6-8
 

 

David Cullen
The marker on the attached map shows the approximate location of the parking lot for this access trail. Note that the road overlay shows a trail going north from that point. This is the route to the AT. Contrary to what the overlay shows there is no break in the road. It does go through. The Scales Trail is the first road to the right shown in the overlay. If one goes straight ahead (the road is now the Wilson Creek Trail) or if the Scales trail is followed, the AT is soon reached. If one zooms in on that area, the AT is quite clearly seen going roughly west to east just to the north of where this road junction occurs. Note: None of these roads north of marker are open to vehicle traffic. They are hiking/ horse trails. I revisited this area in May '07. The state park has put in new blazes along this road. Initially the blazes are white (Bike Trail) but soon there are also orange and red blazes as well. Follow the orange blazes, but the basic thing to remember is to just go straight ahead. The other blazes eventually lead onto side trails. (Later on there are also some blue blazes). Once you are past the gate and into the NRA. the blazes end, but the route is clear. The point where the Scales Trail goes right is well-signed. The ford of Big Wilson Creek was not difficult on this trip. Coordinates at the intersection of the Scales Trail and the AT are 36.6549°, -81.494° 06/12/07
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David Cullen
9.2
Backpackers Spur Trail
   Poor           Great



 
Follow main road in Grayson Highlands State Park. Continue to the campground road. Go right on this and immediately look for the Overnight Backpacker Parking area on the left. Overnight parking should be done here rather than at nearby Massie Gap. The marker on the attached map indicates the entrance to this parking area.







From the parking lot a blue-blazed trail ascends to meet the AT in 0.8 miles. At the junction, right is northbound AT , left is southbound. Coordinates at the intersection are 36.6431 -81.5007. 12/03/09 15-20
  1

  1

David Cullen
9.8
Rhododendron Trail to Massie Gap
   Poor           Great




Follow the main road into Grayson Highlands State Park. Continue straight at the intersection with the campground road. Just beyond this is open Massie Gap with ample parking. On the attached map, the green arrow and rotating man are at the west end of the parking area.

Rotate the street view to the east to see most of the parking area.
A very obvious trail goes north from the parking area, steeply climbing the hillside. This hillside can be seen in the north view on the street map of the map. This trail (the Rhododendron Trail) meets the AT in 0.4-0.5 miles. At the intersection the northbound AT goes right, the southbound goes left. Coordinates at the intersection are 36.6391, -81.5094 . 12/03/09 Ample
  1

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David Cullen
GPS location: 36.633392, -81.508760
Paved the entire way EXCEPT that my Garmin wanted to take UNNECESSARY short cuts on gravel roads. Do a little research before hand so you know what to ignore.
Grayson Highland State Park entry fee required. 150 parking spaces for daytime parking. Signs clearly say no overnight parking. There IS A SPECIAL OVERNIGHT PARKING LOT that requires a reservation/fee. See the park's website for information on this special lot. You will access the Rhododendron Trail to it's intersection with the AT in approximately .5 miles. At the intersection the northbound AT goes right, the southbound goes left. Trail intersection: 36.639294, -81.509527 04/29/21 150
  1

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WardandDA @ gmail.com
14.8
Mount Rogers Trail
   Poor           Great




I have not checked out this trailhead or hiked the trail. Most information from 'Mount Rogers Outdoor Recreation Handbook' bu Johnny Malloy. rom Damascus go 11 miles east on US 58. At the intersection with VA 603, continue straight ahead on VA 603. Go 7.5 miles to the trailhead which is on the south side of the road. Alternativel 5.6 miles on VA 603 from junction with VA 16 in Troutdale. Parking for several cars roadside on the north side of the road. Rotate the street view on the attached map to the southeast to see the trail leaving Va 603. Rotate from northwest to northeast to see the possible roadside parking. This access may be of limited utility since the junction of the Mount Rogers Trail with the AT is reached via the AT from VA 600 in a shorter distance. The blue-blazed Mt Rogers Trail is a side trail climbs for 4 miles to meet the AT on the east side of Deep Gap. The southbound trail goes right towards Elk Garden. The northbound trail goes left towards the Highlands. Coordinates at the AT are 36.6585 -81.5572 08/07/10 Several roadside
  1

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David Cullen
16.9
Elk Garden (VA 600)
   Poor           Great




From Damascus go 11 miles east on US 58. At the intersection with VA 603, continue straight ahead on VA 603. Go 2.6 miles to the intersection with VA 600. Go right on VA 600 to trail crossing. Parking area is on right side of road. Alternatively go approximately 10.5 miles on VA 603 from junction with VA 16 in Troutdale. Just before correct junction, VA 600 comes in from right. VA 603 makes a left turn and the two routes are coincident for a few hundred feet. Then VA 600 goes left towards the trail crossing. VA 603 goes right. Northbound (to Section 43) crosses road and starts to climb through open field. Southbound (to Section 44)enters woods from parking area. 6/5/2006 10-12
 

 

David Cullen
3 miles north of US 58 and 3.5 miles south of VA 603 on VA 600. Note that there is more than one intersection of VA 600 and US 58 in the area, but only one where VA 600 goes north. This is the proper one. It is near the community of Whitetop. 06/13/07
 

 

David Cullen
The markers on the attached map show the location of the Elk Garden trailhead and parking lot. Rotate the street view to the west to see the parking area. The southbound trail to Section 44 leaves from the back of the parking area. Rotate to the northeast to see the northbound trail (to Section 43) leaving VA 100. It crosses the fence then bears left and climbs the hill in immediate background. 12/03/09
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at @ rohland.org
GPS Coordinates: 36.646355, -81.583013
Road from I-81 is paved the entire way.
While lot is large enough for about 20 cars, it was filled up when I arrived at 0800 on a Saturday morning in April. I parked across from the lot in a pull off area right by the fence line. When I returned that same day to pick up my car, there were even more cars lining the road (There were no indications that you couldn't park alongside the road) and folks had doubled up in the parking lot in areas I don't think were meant to be parked on. However, I saw no ticketed cars, so likely they are very tolerant of this at the moment. There is still a privy at this location. 04/29/21 20
  1

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WardandDA @ gmail.com

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