VASW §40: Great Valley (US-11 and I-81) to Brushy Mountain (VA-16)

Southwest Virginia §40 spans 11.5 miles. Parking is available for five mileposts.

Mp 0.0/11.5: 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 [Windsor Road] and US-11 in Rural Retreat, adjacent to I-81 at exit 54.

Park: The Barn Restaurant at the trailhead apparently offers hiker parking for a small fee; ask for permission to park in its large lot.

Mp 0.1/11.4: US-11 [Lee Highway]

Locate: {36.88550, -81.37382}

Orient: The south end of the 0.5 mi road walk between §39 Mp 11.4/0.4 and §40 Mp 0.1/11.4 joins the footpath near the Relax Inn off I-81 at exit 54 in Rural Retreat. From Mp 0.0/11.5, above: follow US-11 southwest for 0.2 mi to the motel on right (north) side of road.

Park: The Relax Inn apparently offers parking for a small fee; ask for permission to park in its large lot.

Connect: From lot, turn left (northeast) onto US-11 and walk about 200 feet, crossing bridge over stream. For AT northbound, continue on road walk for 0.1 mi to left onto VA-683 [Windsor Road]. For AT southbound, turn right onto signed footpath meeting south side of road, at end of guard rail, and opposite gas station.

Mp 2.2/9.3: VA-729 [Kegley Lane]

Locate: {36.87510, -81.35950}

Orient: The AT crosses VA-729 in Rural Retreat 0.3 mi northeast of VA-615 at the Settlers Museum of Southwest Virginia and 0.4 mi southwest of VA-682 [Knight Road]. From Mp 0.0/11.5, above: follow US-11 N [Lee Highway] for 0.8 mi to right onto VA-682 [Knight Road]; follow gravel(?) VA-682 for 1.0 mi to right onto VA-729; continue on gravel VA-729 for 0.4 mi to trail crossing.

Park: Looks like roadside parking along shoulder may be possible for 2–3 cars.

Note: The AT traces on Google Maps and OpenStreetMap cross VA-729 at different points 0.2 mi apart. The coordinates above come from Google Maps, in agreement with two other sources.

Mp 2.7/8.8: VA-615 [Rocky Hollow Road]

Locate: {36.87034, -81.35565}

Orient: The AT crosses VA-615 at the Settlers Museum of Southwest Virginia in Atkins, 2.2 mi from I-81 at exit 54 in Rural Retreat. From Mp 0.0/11.5, above: follow US-11 S [Lee Highway] for 0.3 mi to left (south) onto VA-683 [Phillipi Hollow Road]; follow VA-683 for 1.5 mi to left (east) onto VA-615; continue on VA-615 for 0.4 mi to museum parking. Look for lot on right (south) side of road 180 yd beyond visitors center.

Park: Park in large lot for Settlers Museum of Southwest Virginia.

Connect: From lot, walk west on VA-615 to trail at the terminus of VA-729 [Kelley Lane], in front of visitors center.

Mp 11.5/0.0: VA-16 [Sugar Grove Highway]

Locate: {36.81149, -81.42124}

Orient: The AT crosses VA-16 in Marion at the Pat Jennings Visitors Center of the Mt Rogers National Recreation Area. From I-81 at exit 45: follow VA-16 southeast for about 6 mi to visitors center.

Park: Parking for a few cars in pull-off on north side of road opposite the entrance to the visitors center; no permit required. Parking is also allowed in the large lot for the visitors center during business hours only (Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 4:30 PM; weekends from Memorial Day through October, 9 AM to 4 PM); get free but required permit from office.