Parking on the VA/WV Appalachian Trail

Section 45 - Summit Cut (US 58) to Damascus 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   &  
Summit Cut (US 58)
  Poor            Great

.4 miles south of Summit Cut, 14 miles east of Damascus. 3/3/2006
From Damascus go 11 miles east on US 58. At the intersection with VA 603 go right continuing on US 58. The AT crossing is another 2.5 miles. The "AT Guide to Southwest Virginia" says there is no parking here. One car or possibly two could park at the trail crossing (on the east side of the highway). I also saw some pull-offs to the north, but I do not know the legality or even advisability of parking by this busy highway, especially for extended periods. At the crossing, the southbound AT goes west towards Damascus, the northbound goes east and starts the 2000 foot climb to Buzzard Rock on the side of Whitetop Mt. 06/13/07 None to very limited
dlcul @
The markers on the attached map show the trail crossing of US 58 at what is called Summit Cut. The street view to the southeast shows what might pass for parking. The northbound trail (to Section 44) goes east here. The southbound trail to Section 45 is less obvious. On the west view, look for a small plank bridge over the drainage ditch on the right. This is where the southbound trail leaves and heads for Damascus. 12/03/09 1
at @
Grassy Ridge Road (VA 859)
  Poor            Great

From the western junction of US 58 and VA 91 in Damascus (near Cowboy's convenience store) go esst on US 58 for 10.8 miles. Go right (south) on VA 859. This soon becomes a good but narrow gravel road. The trail crossing is about 0.7 miles further down this road. While the "AT Guide to Southwest Virginia" says that parking is available here, it is at best very limited roadside parking. At most possibly one or two cars could park. Note: The book for the Virginias in the "Exploring the Appalachian Trail" seres published by Stackpole Books starts one of their hikes here and suggests that there is better parking about 0.1 mile south. I cannot verify this. The marker on the attached map inidcates the approximate location of the trail crossing. If coming from US 58,
the southbound AT goes right (west) here towards Damascus. The northbound AT goes left (east) towards Whitetop Mt. 12/03/09
Limited parking 1
dlcul @
Creek Junction
  Poor            Great

From the western junction of US 58 and VA 91 in Damascus (near Cowboy's convenience store) go esst on US 58 for 10.4 miles. Go right on VA 728. There are signs for parking for the Virginia Creeper Trail at this intersection. Follow VA 728 to its end at a parking lot in about a mile. Most of the parking lot is on the right. The Virginia Creeper follows an old railroad grade from Abdingon to the NC state line. It is a multi-use trail. For a time in this area, it is coincident with the AT. Creek Junction is where the the railroad lines branched. One of these branches now serves as the access trail from the parking lot. From the lot, this crosses under Luther Hasssinger Memorial Bridge, an old railroad trestle used by the Creeper/AT. (A herd path leads steeply up to the bridge, providing a shortcut for northbound hikers.) Thereafter the access trail parallels the Creeper/AT until Creek Junction. The Creeper/AT is up a short but steep and brush covered slope to the right of the access trail. Total length from the parking lot is 0.5 miles. At the junction, the northbound Creeper/ AT goes sharp right back towards the Hassinger Bridge. The southbound trail goes straight ahead. 12/02/08

dlcul @
The A marker on the attached map indicates the approximate location of the parking lot at the end of VA 728. Marker B is Creek Junction itself. The old railroad bed that serves as access trail is highlighted in blue. While the map indicates that VA 728 continues past the parking lot, this section is in fact only open to foot and bike travel. The road extension shown on the map is probably the access trail. The Hasssinger bridge shared by the Virginia Creeper and the AT is just to the west of the parking area. 12/03/09 1
dlcul @
Beartree Gap Trail Parking Lot
  Poor            Great

From the western junction of US 58 and VA 91 in Damascus (near Cowboy's convenience store) go east on US 58 for nine miles. The Beartree Gap Day use area is on the left (north) side of the highway. Turn left on the entrance road. In 0.3 miles there is a parking area for fishermen on the right. I do not know if overnight parking is permitted here or not. The marker on the attached map shows the position of the parking area. Though I have seen the trailhead for this trail, I have not hiked the section from the parking lot to US 58. A trail leads from the west side of the parking lot which supposedly connects with the Beartree Gap Trail. Alternatvely follow the entrance road back towards US 58. The Beartree Gap Trail crosses just before reaching the highway. By either route, go left on the violet-blazed trail. This crosses US 58 in approximately 0.4 miles and continue 0.2 miles further to the AT. The southbound AT goes right, the northbound goes left. Coordinates at the AT intersection are 36.6512, -81.6893 , 12/03/09 15-20 1
dlcul @
Beartree Gap Trail (US 58)
  Poor            Great

Recently (10/08) on a day hike i parked where the Beartree Gap side trail crosses US 58. This is about 0.2-0.3 miles east of the turnoff for the recreation area. (See previous listing.) There is a sign. Possibly 2 or 3 cars could park on the south side of the road here and perhaps 1 or 2 more on the north side. My car drew no attention from either the police or vandals However I think overnight parking at this point would be at best unwise. The green arrow on the attached map shows the highway crossing. Rotate the street view on the attached map to the southwest to see the old road which this SIDE trail follows south to the AT. One can also see the roadside parking area. Rotate to the northwest to see an alternate parking spot.

It is an easy quarter mile from the highway south to the AT on this violet-blazed trail. The old road which the trail follows can be seen clearly on the satellite view. The sort of white area where the road ends in the lower center of the view is the junction with the AT. 12/03/09
See directions 1
dlcul @
Taylors Valley
  Poor            Great

Taylors Valley offers access to the AT via the Virginia Creeper Trail. From the western junction of US 58 and VA 91 in Damascus (near Cowboy's convenience store) go east until the two highways divide again in about a mile. Follow VA 91 across the state line (where it becomes TN 91). At 3.5 miles from Cowboys, go left on Dollarsville Road. This paved road crosses back into VA and becomes Taylor's Valley Road. In 3.7 miles from VA 91, the community of Taylor's Valley is reached. Pass a cafe on the right and cross the Virginia Creeper Trail. There is a T intersection immediately beyond this. Parking is to the left in the Taylor Valley Community Park. On the satellite view of the attached map, the area can be seen as the very beginning of what is called Waccamaw Road. This is indicated by the marker on the map. I did not any signs prohibiting overnight parking. Follow the Creeper Trail, which is an old railroad route, west, It can clearly be seen on the satellite view of the attached map. In 0.2-0.3 miles, a blue-blazed trail leads right a short distance to the AT, meeting it at a switchback at the base of Straight Mt. I have not hiked this SIDE TRAIL but have seen both ends. 06/10/08 20-25 1
dlcul @
Straight Branch and Feather Camp Branch - US 58
  Poor            Great

4 miles east of Damascus and 10 miles west of Summit Cut. Parking, picnic tables, fireplaces, trash cans. 3/3/06
From the western junction of US 58 and VA 91 in Damascus (near Cowboy's convenience store) go east on US 58 for 4.5 miles. There is a parking pull-off on the right. The trail crossing is marked by the Appalachian Trail sign seen in the pictures for this section. More extensive parking is available 0.3 miles before (west of) the trail crossing. A parking lot marked by a large sign for the Virginia Creeper Trail is on the right (coming from Damascus). It appears the picnic tables and trash cans at the trail crossing, which are alluded to in the older editions of the "AT Guide to Southwest Virginia", are no longer there. The northbound AT goes east, crossing Straight Branch on a bridge. The southbound AT crosses the highway and goes west. Warning: This trail crossing has been the site of vandalism and theft in the not too distant past. Do not park overnight. 06/11/08 3-4 at trail crossing and 20-30 at parking area
dlcul @
On the attached map the markers indicate the trail crossing. Rotate the street view to the northeast to see the parking on the right side of the road side of the road. In this view the southbound trail goes left, the northbound trail goes right. 06/26/11 1
dlcul @
  Poor            Great

11 miles east of I-81 (exit 22, Abingdon) and 33 miles west of VA 16 at Volney via US 58. Via VA 91, Damascus is 12 miles south of I-81 (exit 29) and 14 miles north of Mountain City, TN. 3/3/2006
WARNING Reported 5/14/07 – 1:00 PM

Toyota Takoma and trailer stolen from parking lot in Damascus. Money stashed in trailer. This has been reported to Damascus police. Police asked them to circulate that a ring has been active in area, seeking out Toyota Takoma trucks.

Section hikers (hiking from Groseclose to Damascus) had pickup and camper trailer stolen from parking lot. They had a second vehicle (a SUV) and little trailer - this vehicle was not disturbed.
Originally posted on Wingfoot's website 05/16/07
lpotteiger @
Overnight Parking on city streets is probably not a good idea. Mt. Rogers Outfitters offer secure parking across from their store for a reasonable price. The official hiker parking area is south of the Damascus Community Park. See Mile 0.4 of TN/NC Section 1. The marker on the attached map marks the intersection of Laurel Avenue (US 58) and Reynolds Street in Damascus. The trail goes through town on the sidewalks along Laurel Avenue. This is the official southern end of VA Section 45 and northern end of TN Section 1. East from this point is northbound, west is southbound. 12/04/09 1
at @
There are two public lots available for backpackers overnight parking in Damascus. For both of these, the town recommends that you visit the Town Hall and fill out a form. The first lot is off Water Street, on a side street called Wilson St. (See Mile 0.4 of TN/NC Section 1.) Currently, February 2012, this lot is in use by construction workers building the huge new town library and welcome center. The authorities at the town hall tell me, and the construction boss confirmed, that this lot is still required to be kept available for use by backpackers. But in practical terms, there will be space conflicts with all the construction vehicles.

The other lot is beside the Damascus Mill, two blocks north of Town Hall at the end of Reynolds St., just past the post office. This lot is also used by patrons of the restaurant and convention center at the Mill. However the authorities at the town hall make it very clear that this lot is owned by the Town and not the proprietors of the Mill complex. It is probably safer to park here than the more isolated Wilson Street lot, but notifying Town Hall of your intention to park in either lot should improve your chances of a safe long-term parking experience. 04/13/12
25 or more
pjwetzel @
The markers on the attached map show the town parking lot near the Damascus Mill. I am not sure in which lot the theft mentioned above occurred. It was probably the Water Street lot. Parking safety comments here should be for the Damascus Mill lot. 04/13/12 1
dlcul @

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