VASW §38: Garden Mountain (VA-623) to Rich Valley (VA-42)

Southwest Virginia §38 spans 17.3 miles. Parking is available for four mileposts.

Mp 0.0/17.3: VA-623 [Burkes Garden Road]

Locate: {37.07705, -81.30706}

Orient: VA-623 branches south from VA-61 [Gratton Road and Clear Fork Creek Road] in Tazewell 19.5 mile southwest of US-77 at exit 64 and 6.3 mi southeast of US-460 at exit 3. From VA-61 at VA-623 {37.134712, -81.413510}: follow VA-623 for 12.0 miles to parking area on right (southwest) side of road at trail crossing. Alternatively, VA-623 branches north from VA-42 [W Blue Grass Trail] in Sharon Springs 10.4 mi west of US-77 at exit 52 in Bland and 17 mi east of VA-16 in Saltville. From VA-42 at VA-623 {37.049632, -81.285788}: follow VA-623 for 7.5 mi to parking area on left (southwest) side of road at trail crossing.

Park: Room for 4–6 cars in dirt lot at trail crossing.

Note: From VA-42 to the crest of Garden Mountain, gravel and dirt VA-623 is reportedly a narrow and winding road chock-full of hairpin turns but stingy on shoulder space for passing. The 7.5 mi drive takes about 30 minutes.

Mp 4.9/12.4: VA-727 [West End Road]

Locate: {37.05456, -81.37872}

Orient: VA-727 branches southwest from VA-623 [Burkes Garden Road]. From VA-623, follow VA-727 southwest for 4.0 mi to end of pavement. Continue 0.4 mi on dirt road to trail crossing; look for parking area on left side of road. If the unpaved section of VA-727 is impassable, see next parking option.

Park: Room for a few cars in pull-off at trail crossing.

Mp 4.9/12.4: via VA-727 [West End Road]

Locate: {37.05935, -81.37862}

Orient: This is an alternative parking if the unpaved section of VA-727 is impassable, above. From VA-623, follow VA-727 southwest for 4.0 mi to end of pavement.

Park: Roadside parking for a few cars where pavement ends, beyond last house.

Connect: Follow unpaved terminus of VA-727 for 0.4 mi to trail.

Mp 10.8/6.5: VA-625/USFS-222 [Mountain Spring Road]

Locate: {37.02273, -81.42494}

Orient: VA-625 intersects VA-42 [W Bluegrass Trail] in Ceres about 14.2 miles southwest of I-77 at exit 52. From this intersection, follow VA-625 north (initially) for 7.9 mi to crossing, which is about 1.2 miles beyond the sign indicating the end of state maintenance. Look for pull-off on left (south) side of road. The way is mostly gravel. VA-625 becomes USFS-222 where state maintenance ends.

Park: Room for a few cars in pull-off at trail crossing.

Mp 17.3/0.0: VA-42 [W Blue Grass Trail]

Locate: {36.98428, -81.40553}

Orient: The trail crosses VA-42 about 18.4 mi southwest of I-77 at exit 52. and the parking area is just northeast of this crossing. From I-77, follow westbound VA-42. About 0.6 mi after the T-intersection with VA-610, branching left (south), look for the gravel USFS lot on the right (north) side of road. The lot is signed and has a split-rail fence.

Park: Park in large USFS lot about 120 yards northeast of trail crossing. Do not confuse the USFS lot with the O'Lystery Community Picnic Area, a little closer to the trail. The ATC guide admonishes hikers not to use this private picnic area.

Connect: Take short blue-blazed path at back of lot to AT. For AT northbound, turn right; for AT southbound, turn left. Alternatively, turn right (southwest) out of lot and walk on road for 120 yards. For AT northbound, turn right from road onto footpath; for AT southbound, turn left onto footpath.