Rocky Gap

May 17, 2008 at 12:00 am 4 comments

I am very lucky to live in an area with numerous A.T. trailheads. One of the most convenient to me is the VA-601 crossing. At that trailhead, a vast majority of recreational hikers will travel northbound to take in the views at Kelly’s Knob. But, I also recommend traveling southbound. Going down to VA-632 and back is a 4 mile round trip that you can fit in after work or even a weekend day before other obligations. On the down side, this does mean you can hike and still have ample time to do household chores.

This section may not have the overlook that Kelly’s Knob has, but it is beautiful in its own right. The rocky trail is lined with moss and ferns and when the time is right– blooming mayapples and azaleas. As far as exercise goes, your legs get more of a climb than they would to Kelly’s Knob. VA-632 to VA-601 has an elevation gain of 1184 feet, whereas Kelly’s Knob is only 478 feet higher than VA-601 (though that first hill makes it feel a heck of a lot worse!).

Know what else Rocky Gap has? Baby American Chestnut trees!

(Even though these trees will eventually succumb to the blight, if you hurt them then I’m going to go the Steve Sillett route and never ever pointing them out again.)

Henry on the rocky trail.

Blooming Azaleas

Log silhouette and Rocky Gap greenery.

Ferns and their shadows

Baby American Chestnut Tree

More pictures of my recent outings to Rocky Gap can be found on my Flickr site. And by request:

Rocky Gap
(Appalachian Trail from VA-601 to VA-632 and back)

Mileage: 4 miles round trip

Elevation Difference: 1184 feet

4WD Requirements: The last 1.5 miles of VA-601 is a gravel hill, but it is well maintained and I have seen non-4WD vehicles make it up.

Trailhead Parking: The VA-601 trailhead has a small parking area to the left. On busy days, cars park on the side of the gravel road.

Driving Directions:
(from Blacksburg, Virginia)
Take 460 West and turn right on VA-42.
Bear right to stay on VA-42
Shortly afterwards, turn left on VA-601
When VA-601 turns to gravel, you have about 1.5 miles to the top.
Once there, AT Southbound is to your left and AT Northbound is on your right.

Along the way, you’ll pass by Sinking Creek Bridge, a covered bridge built in 1916.

Entry filed under: American Chestnut, Appalachian Trail, Azalea, Azaleas, Henry, Hiking, Kelly's Knob, Mayapple, trees.

Fern Frond Friday Hearts in Nature: Rocky Gap

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. geekhiker  |  May 18, 2008 at 12:08 am

    Nice pictures, as always. I like the one of the log silhouette in particular.

    Putting the hike details in the green box is very cool! I’d love to rip off the idea, but I have no idea how you did it!

  • 2. tgaw  |  May 18, 2008 at 8:05 pm

    @GeekHiker – I clicked on to the “HTML” view and manually added the table I wanted:

    <table border=”0″ width=”388″ bgcolor=”#aaffaa”>



  • 3. scienceguy288  |  May 19, 2008 at 10:58 am

    A great post. The trail details are really cool. Also, thank you for mentioning me in one of your previous posts.

  • 4. Trail Days 2008 - Meadowview Farms « TGAW  |  May 21, 2008 at 11:19 pm

    […] he thought were large survivors. Just last week, I ran into an Appalachian Trail thru-hiker near Rocky Gap. His trailname was “Freebird” and when the subject of American Chestnuts came up, he […]


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