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View Full Version : Hammond Hollow Trail or other options to split Daleville to VA 614 into 2 pieces



Berserker
02-28-2013, 13:15
I'm heading out this weekend to do what I'm calling the ultimate slackpack where a buddy and I will day hike from Daleville to VA 614 (28.2 miles total) over 2 days and "camp" at my house. We normally backpack all the sections we do, but I'm just getting sick of the cold weather this year and would rather sleep in my bed. So anyway, I looked this morning and according the website the BRP (Blue Ridge Parkway) is closed for part of this section. In the interest of the "Straight Forward" forum here are my questions:

With the little bits of snow we are currently getting is the BRP normally open on weekends (i.e. do they just close it during the week to be conservative)?
If it is closed, one option I saw is the Hammond Hollow Trail. Anybody have any info on this trail?
What other options do I have to split the section into 2 pieces?

HikerMom58
02-28-2013, 13:44
I think the BRP (in that section) has been closed for months, actually. They don't open it on the weekends. We've tried. I wish I knew what was up with the BRP this year.

As far as the Hammond Hollow Trail.. can't find info on the internet. I'll look at the maps my daughter has and get back to you on that one...I will also look at Spec. Mine Trail.

If those trails doesn't work, then, the only place would be Bearwallow but that doesn't split ur trip up very much.

Berserker
02-28-2013, 13:47
I'm heading out this weekend to do what I'm calling the ultimate slackpack where a buddy and I will day hike from Daleville to VA 614 (28.2 miles total) over 2 days and "camp" at my house. We normally backpack all the sections we do, but I'm just getting sick of the cold weather this year and would rather sleep in my bed. So anyway, I looked this morning and according the website the BRP (Blue Ridge Parkway) is closed for part of this section. In the interest of the "Straight Forward" forum here are my questions:

With the little bits of snow we are currently getting is the BRP normally open on weekends (i.e. do they just close it during the week to be conservative)?
If it is closed, one option I saw is the Hammond Hollow Trail. Anybody have any info on this trail?
What other options do I have to split the section into 2 pieces?



Forgot one other option:
4. What is the road up to Black Horse Gap like from the West (i.e. VA 606 off of highway 11)? Could I actually drive up to the gate at the BRP on that road and park there?

Berserker
02-28-2013, 13:49
I think the BRP (in that section) has been closed for months, actually. They don't open it on the weekends. We've tried. I wish I knew what was up with the BRP this year.
Hmmmm...I guess the BRP site is not accurate then because they showed this section being open a couple of days ago, and now they show it closed. I just figured that maybe they closed some of the gates cause snow was in the forecast.

HikerMom58
02-28-2013, 14:02
Forgot one other option:
4. What is the road up to Black Horse Gap like from the West (i.e. VA 606 off of highway 11)? Could I actually drive up to the gate at the BRP on that road and park there?

No Berserker- that road is gated.


Hmmmm...I guess the BRP site is not accurate then because they showed this section being open a couple of days ago, and now they show it closed. I just figured that maybe they closed some of the gates cause snow was in the forecast.

Hummmm....I don't know about the closing and reopening piece. Every time we try to go on the BRP going North the gate is always closed. Not going South tho...

Berserker
02-28-2013, 14:17
No Berserker- that road is gated.
Gated just at the BRP, or somewhere further down the road also (i.e. could I drive up to the gate at the BRP from the West)?

HikerMom58
02-28-2013, 14:30
Gated just at the BRP, or somewhere further down the road also (i.e. could I drive up to the gate at the BRP from the West)?

100% sure that it has gates up on the BRP. Not that sure that it's gated on the other ends but we've never seen vehicles parked on the "other side" of the gates or ever seen random vehicles on those roads. We are thinking there is a way to drive up to Bobblets Gap, tho. In fact, there is but we've never done it. I'll have to look it up on the AT map of this section.

HikerMom58
02-28-2013, 16:08
Directions to Hammond Hollow trail head--To reach trailhead south of Lithia between Buchanan and Troutville, take Exit 162 off I-81. Go north on US 11 for 2 miles to the intersection with VA 640. From Buchanan, this point is 2.6 miles south on US 11 from the of the intersection of VA 43 and US 11. Go southeast on VA 640. In 0.4 miles turn right to stay on VA 640. In another 1.6 miles turn left on VA 643. Stay on this for 0.4 miles then turn right on VA 645 (Fringer Trail). Stay on this for 1.4 miles to trail sign on right. Supposedly Limited parking

Here the link...http://rohland.homedns.org:8008/at/state/state_detail/AT_state_detail.aspx?stateID=11%20&sectionID=154

I have not scouted either this trail or trailhead. Info from AT Guide to Central Virginia supplemented by that supplied at http://virginia.hometownlocator.com. The position of the trailhead indicated by the marker on the map should be considered approximate. The trail climbs 1150 feet in 2.0 miles to meet the AT. I have seen the junction with the AT. The Hammond Hollow Trail does not go all the way to the Parkway. Coordinates at the AT are 37.4595 -79.7080 . Closest access would be via the AT from Bobbletts Gap (See Mile 3.1). 2/14/2010

I might check it out... sounds like a nice hike up to the trail. Hope this helps....

Southerner
02-28-2013, 18:39
The Parkway has been frustrating this winter with seemingly unnecessary closures. But, it has been open on occasion -- I used it Monday for a quick hike in the section you are talking about, though notably the road closed while I was out there and I had to follow special instructions to exit at 460. With the slight chance of passing snow showers throughout the rest of the week and into the weekend, I seriously doubt the Parkway will be re-opened from 460 to 43 in time for your hike, even if the pavement is dry. That just seems to be the new Parkway norm.

1.) Black Horse Gap Road -- Gated at the Parkway and gated at the intersection of Bethel Road (Va. 606) and 634, which is just east (up-ridge) of Camp Bethel. However, that's probably still your best option. It's a 2.2-mile (approx.), well-graded, frequently traveled fire road, and Black Horse Gap is just about the midpoint of your section. It's also a pretty easy find when driving.

2.) Hammond Hollow Trail -- I've hiked it several times. It's the least maintained of the link trails in that area, but it should be easy enough to follow in the winter. It's not as well-graded as the Black Horse Gap Road -- it dives from the secondary ridge to the forest road (and will be a huffer to start your second day). The extra 2.0 miles will also make for a very long first day. It's a viable option, though.

3.) Spec's Mine Trail -- Not a good idea this time of year because 634 (forest road along the base) is closed, which means you would have to park at the same place as for Black Horse Gap, have a long walk on the closed road, and then a steeper trail than Black Horse Gap Road to access the AT. You could also miss it coming off of the AT as it does not directly intersect the AT (you have to walk 100 yards south on the Parkway from the Montvale Overlook).

4.) Bobbletts Gap Road -- This road has been open all the way over the mountain in the past, which means you could drive all the way to the AT (the AT follows the road for a few yards). I haven't tried it in the last couple of years, so the USFS, which has been getting steadily more restrictive in the area, may have closed it off since then. Also, it would make your trip lopsided with a long first day and short second day (though notably it would be shorter than the Hammond Hollow Trail option).

5.) Another option -- You could park near the old Wilson Creek Shelter site. Follow the directions for Black Horse Gap, only turn right onto 634 and look for the first creek crossing after going over a small mountain. Park where you can there off the road. From the AT, follow Wilson Creek (which you will know by seeing an informational sign about an old colliers' pit). As you get closer to the road, you should start to find an informal trail (a previous version of the AT that has since mostly reverted to nature). The upside: it would be a short, easy access point that involves very little elevation change. The downside: it will make your second day lopsided in length.

Bottom line: I would recommend Black Horse Gap Road. If you happen to be coming from Lynchburg, you could also access the road from the east off of US 460 (Day Creek).

HikerMom58
02-28-2013, 20:35
The Parkway has been frustrating this winter with seemingly unnecessary closures. But, it has been open on occasion -- I used it Monday for a quick hike in the section you are talking about, though notably the road closed while I was out there and I had to follow special instructions to exit at 460. With the slight chance of passing snow showers throughout the rest of the week and into the weekend, I seriously doubt the Parkway will be re-opened from 460 to 43 in time for your hike, even if the pavement is dry. That just seems to be the new Parkway norm.

1.) Black Horse Gap Road -- Gated at the Parkway and gated at the intersection of Bethel Road (Va. 606) and 634, which is just east (up-ridge) of Camp Bethel. However, that's probably still your best option. It's a 2.2-mile (approx.), well-graded, frequently traveled fire road, and Black Horse Gap is just about the midpoint of your section. It's also a pretty easy find when driving.

2.) Hammond Hollow Trail -- I've hiked it several times. It's the least maintained of the link trails in that area, but it should be easy enough to follow in the winter. It's not as well-graded as the Black Horse Gap Road -- it dives from the secondary ridge to the forest road (and will be a huffer to start your second day). The extra 2.0 miles will also make for a very long first day. It's a viable option, though.

3.) Spec's Mine Trail -- Not a good idea this time of year because 634 (forest road along the base) is closed, which means you would have to park at the same place as for Black Horse Gap, have a long walk on the closed road, and then a steeper trail than Black Horse Gap Road to access the AT. You could also miss it coming off of the AT as it does not directly intersect the AT (you have to walk 100 yards south on the Parkway from the Montvale Overlook).

4.) Bobbletts Gap Road -- This road has been open all the way over the mountain in the past, which means you could drive all the way to the AT (the AT follows the road for a few yards). I haven't tried it in the last couple of years, so the USFS, which has been getting steadily more restrictive in the area, may have closed it off since then. Also, it would make your trip lopsided with a long first day and short second day (though notably it would be shorter than the Hammond Hollow Trail option).

5.) Another option -- You could park near the old Wilson Creek Shelter site. Follow the directions for Black Horse Gap, only turn right onto 634 and look for the first creek crossing after going over a small mountain. Park where you can there off the road. From the AT, follow Wilson Creek (which you will know by seeing an informational sign about an old colliers' pit). As you get closer to the road, you should start to find an informal trail (a previous version of the AT that has since mostly reverted to nature). The upside: it would be a short, easy access point that involves very little elevation change. The downside: it will make your second day lopsided in length.

Bottom line: I would recommend Black Horse Gap Road. If you happen to be coming from Lynchburg, you could also access the road from the east off of US 460 (Day Creek).

Southerner, how do you know this area so well? I thought about asking YOU, when I was trying to find info to help out Berserker. :) You are awesome!! From now on- I'll be directing all questions about this area to you, my friend. :)

Southerner
02-28-2013, 23:42
@ OP: The more I think about it, the more I am doubting that you can access the fire roads necessary to even reach the beginning of the Hammond Hollow Trail this time of year. I think the USFS may have 634 gated so that you can't access the subsequent forest road you need. I've taken the liberty of drawing a map showing the routes I highlighted above: https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?vps=2&ie=UTF8&hl=en&oe=UTF8&msa=0&msid=211307452317382140470.0004d6d33263af956896b

@ HikerMom: I know the area pretty well because I grew up in the area and now split my time between Roanoke and Florida.

joshuasdad
03-01-2013, 03:35
I did 614 to Black Horse Gap over Presidents Weekend, trail was in good condition, and was a pretty easy section (also did Catawba to Craigs Creek Valley, over Dragon's Tooth). BRP was open in that section then, but Apple Orchard Mountain area was closed. If BRP is closed, you can do Bearwallow to Daleville (or a few miles before), but this is a bit over 20 miles. It is relatively easy terrain, with a LOT of switchbacks.

As an FYI, I expected from the book that 614 to Bearwallow would be difficult, as they claimed that there were many knobs and sags, but found it to be exceptionally easy. On the other hand, the trail near the Homeplace in Catawba (I think it is called the Sawtooth Ridge) is deceptively difficult, lots of ups and downs even though the profile seems pretty flat.

HikerMom58
03-01-2013, 10:02
@ OP: The more I think about it, the more I am doubting that you can access the fire roads necessary to even reach the beginning of the Hammond Hollow Trail this time of year. I think the USFS may have 634 gated so that you can't access the subsequent forest road you need. I've taken the liberty of drawing a map showing the routes I highlighted above: https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?vps=2&ie=UTF8&hl=en&oe=UTF8&msa=0&msid=211307452317382140470.0004d6d33263af956896b

@ HikerMom: I know the area pretty well because I grew up in the area and now split my time between Roanoke and Florida.

Cool Southerner... just to let you know- I'm officially very impressed with the map you did... WOW!! It's a keeper! Thanks!


I did 614 to Black Horse Gap over Presidents Weekend, trail was in good condition, and was a pretty easy section (also did Catawba to Craigs Creek Valley, over Dragon's Tooth). BRP was open in that section then, but Apple Orchard Mountain area was closed. If BRP is closed, you can do Bearwallow to Daleville (or a few miles before), but this is a bit over 20 miles. It is relatively easy terrain, with a LOT of switchbacks.

As an FYI, I expected from the book that 614 to Bearwallow would be difficult, as they claimed that there were many knobs and sags, but found it to be exceptionally easy. On the other hand, the trail near the Homeplace in Catawba (I think it is called the Sawtooth Ridge) is deceptively difficult, lots of ups and downs even though the profile seems pretty flat.

joshuasdad- you're doing great with knocking out those miles! :) Nice! I've heard that going NOBO from Dragon's Tooth to McAfee is not fun. I have to ask you- Did you eat at the Homeplace again? :sun

Berserker
03-04-2013, 10:31
I appreciate the help everyone. That was some very detailed information there Southerner, and I’ll be filing that away for future use.

I ended up just bagging the whole thing due to the temperatures…yeah I know…I’m a big wuss. I figure I’ve been there and done that (hiked and camped in the snow and really cold temperatures), and I have nothing to prove :). I’m all about being comfortable, and it was too dang cold (in my opinion) out there this weekend.

I did go out and hike up to Tinker Cliffs via the Andrew Lane trail on Friday, and I did Crabtree Falls on Saturday. So it wasn’t a total loss. The wind chill on Tinker Cliffs was brutal, the ice on the falls looked neat, and there were snow flurries both days.

HikerMom58
03-04-2013, 11:04
I appreciate the help everyone. That was some very detailed information there Southerner, and I’ll be filing that away for future use.

I ended up just bagging the whole thing due to the temperatures…yeah I know…I’m a big wuss. I figure I’ve been there and done that (hiked and camped in the snow and really cold temperatures), and I have nothing to prove :). I’m all about being comfortable, and it was too dang cold (in my opinion) out there this weekend.

I did go out and hike up to Tinker Cliffs via the Andrew Lane trail on Friday, and I did Crabtree Falls on Saturday. So it wasn’t a total loss. The wind chill on Tinker Cliffs was brutal, the ice on the falls looked neat, and there were snow flurries both days.

That's great you got out there! :) If you ever need a shuttle for that section of the BRP, let me know. I can help you out. I think the Parkway is still closed right now. *sigh* Also, Southener is so helpful! :)