VASW §43: Fox Creek Gap (VA-603) to Elk Garden (VA-600)

Southwest Virginia §43 spans 16.9 miles. Parking is available for six mileposts.

Mp 0.0/16.9: VA-603 [Fairwood Road]

Locate: {36.69660, -81.50633}

Orient: The AT crosses VA-603 in Troutdale 4.1 mi west of VA-16 [Troutdale Highway] and 6.4 mi east of VA-600 [Whitetop Road].

Park: Parking for several cars in lot on south side of road; signed.

Mp 4.8/12.1: USFS-613 [Pine Mountain Road]

Locate: {36.66990, -81.48690}

Orient: The AT crosses the Scales coral at the end of rough USFS-613. USFS-613 branches south from VA-603 [Fairwood Road] 2.8 mi west of VA-16 [Troutdale Highway] and 7.6 mi east of VA-603 [Whitetop Road]. Follow USFS-613 for 4.1 mi to end of road at AT (and other trails).

Park: Looks like plenty of parking at corral. Privy.

Note: USFS-613 appears to be a rough dirt road suitable only for high-clearance vehicles and potentially damaging to passenger cars.

Mp 7.5/9.4: via Wilson Creek Trail

Locate: {36.63987, -81.48750}

Orient: Wilson Creek Trail connects the AT and Grayson Highlands State Park, at the campground. The park entrance is on US-58 [Highlands Parkway] in Wilson Creek 7.6 mi west of VA-16 [Troutdale Highway] in Mouth of Wilson and 7.7 mi east of VA-600 [Whitetop Road] in Whitetop. From park entrance: follow VA-362 [Grayson Highland Lane] for 3.2 mi to right onto campground road; continue for 1.3 mi to parking area near to left, near country store, before campground.

Park: Parking for a half dozen or so cars. Rest rooms.

Connect: Follow red-blazed(?) Wilson Creek Trail becoming unblazed(?) Seed Orchard Road for 1.8 mi to AT {36.65562, -81.49552}. Alternatively: after 1.7 mi turn right onto signed Scales Trail {36.65460, -81.49613}; follow Scales Trail, fording Wilson Creek, for 130 yd to Mp 7.2/9.7 {36.65487, -81.49473}. For AT northbound, turn right. For AT southbound, turn left.

Note: This approach follows an old woods road closed to vehicles. Trail names and blaze colors may vary.

Mp 9.2/7.7: via Backpackers Spur Trail

Locate: {36.63352, -81.50517}

Orient: The Backpackers Spur Trail connects the AT and Grayson Highlands State Park, at Massie Gap. See Mp 7.5/9.4 above. From park entrance: follow VA-362 [Grayson Highland Lane] for 3.2 mi to right onto campground road; turn left into lot 100 yd ahead. Alternatively, continue on VA-362 past campground road for 0.2 mi to roadside parking area.

Park: Parking for several dozen cars in backpacker's overnight lot on campground road at VA-362. Parking for over 60 cars in marked spaces on north side of VA-362 at Massie Gap.

Connect: From northwest corner of backpacker's overnight lot, follow blue-blazed Backpackers Spur Trail for 0.8 mi to AT {36.64319, -81.50061}; signed "AT Spur". For AT northbound, turn right. For AT southbound, turn left.

Mp 9.8/7.1: via Rhododendron Trail

Locate: {36.63330, -81.50873}

Orient: The Rhododendron Trail connects the AT and Grayson Highlands State Park, at Massie Gap. See Mp 9.2/7.7 above.

Park: Same as Mp 9.2/7.7.

Connect: From west end of roadside-parking area, follow blue-blazed Rhododendron Trail for 0.5 mi to AT {36.63916, -81.50931}. For AT northbound, turn right. For AT southbound, turn left.

Mp 16.0/0.9: VA-600 [Whitetop Road]

Locate: {36.64619, -81.58298}

Orient: The AT crosses Whitetop Road [VA-600] 2.9 mi north of US-58 [Highlands Parkway] in Whitetop, 5.3 mi southeast of VA-600 [Laurel Valley Road] in Troutdale, and 16.5 mi southeast of I-81 exit 35 in Chilhowie [VA-762].

Park: Parking for a dozen or so cars at crossing in lot on west side of road; trailhead for Elk Garden Trail. Privy.