VASW §39: Rich Valley (VA-42) to Great Valley (US-11 and I-81)

Southwest Virginia §39 spans 11.8 miles. Parking is available for six mileposts.

Mp 0.0/11.8: VA-42 [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.

Mp 2.4/9.4: VA-610 [Old Rich Valley Road]

Locate: {36.96414, -81.39137}

Orient: VA-610 branches south from VA-42 [Bluegrass Trail] 18 mi west of I-77 at exit 52 and 9 mi east of VA-16 [Buchanan Highway]. Follow VA-610 for 1.8 mi to trail crossing.

Park: Limited roadside parking in shoulder.

Mp 5.5/6.3: via Crawfish-Channel Rock Trail

Locate: {36.96533, -81.31535}

Orient: Strawberry Road [USFS-727? or 227?] branches southwest from VA-625 [Crawfish Road] 4.2 mi northwest of VA-680 [Blacklick Road] in Rural Retreat. From I-81 exit 60 for VA-680: follow VA-680 north for 2.4 mi to left onto VA-625; follow VA-625 for 4.2 mi to left onto Strawberry Road; continue on Strawberry Road for 1.7 mi to trailhead and parking at gate.

Park: Ample parking at trailhead.

Connect: From gate, follow orange-blazed (double diamonds) Crawfish-Channel Rock Trail along road for 2.8 mi to AT {}, signed "Crawfish Trail"; keep straight where trail splits about 1 mi from trailhead. For AT northbound, turn right; for AT southbound, turn left.

Mp 10.7/1.1: VA-617 [Davis Valley Road]

Locate: {36.89740, -81.36920}

Orient: The trail crosses VA-617 about 0.7 mi from I-81 at exit 54 for VA-683 [Windsor Road]. Follow VA-683 north becoming VA-617 on bearing right (northeast). Look for pull-off on right (south) side of road, before trail crossing.

Park: Parking for a two or three cars in small pull-off at trail crossing.

Mp 11.4/0.4: VA-683 [Windsor Road]

Locate: {36.88979, -81.37134}

Orient: The trail merges with VA-683 about 0.1 mi north of I-81 at exit 54. From the exit ramp, go north on VA-683 and look for footpath on right (east) side of road a little beyond southbound ramps of I-81. (The ATC Guide locates this junction at 0.4 mi north of the south terminus of §39, at US-11, but mapping sites report 0.2 mi for the distance.)

Park: From Google Maps, it looks like roadside parking is possible for two or three cars where the footpath abuts VA-683. Sources do not mention this option, however.

Mp 11.8/0.0: US-11 [Lee Highway]

Locate: {36.88652, -81.37095}

Orient: The south terminus of §39 and the north terminus of §40 coincide at the T-intersection of VA-683 and US-11, adjacent to I-81 at exit 54. From the exit ramp, go south on VA-683, cross US-11, and enter lot of Barn Restaurant.

Park: The Barn Restaurant at the trailhead apparently offers parking for a small fee; ask for permission to park in its large lot. Alternatively, see §40 Mp 0.1/11.4 for parking at the nearby Relax Inn.