James River Face Wilderness Loop
7.7 miles, moderate terrain
? mile drive, no shuttle, $ carpool fee
This is one of the easier ascents to the James River Face
Wilderness Area's highest points. The hike starts on the Petite's Gap
Road trailhead and ascends gradually using the Sulphur Spring Trail, passing
arguably the best viewpoint in the entire wilderness before reaching the
Appalachian Trail near the end of the Piney Ridge Trail. The hike turns
southbound on the Appalachian Trail, passing the site of the old Marble Springs
Shelter, a shelter site on the AT dating back to 1933 before it was taken
apart and rebuilt on Cove Mountain. Just further south, we will turn off
of the AT onto an unmarked trail that is the original AT alignment in this
area, personally scouted by trail pioneer Myron Avery. We hike back to
the Petite's Gap Road and follow the road back 2 miles to our vehicles.
Total ascent: 1300 feet. Roanoke hikers meet at Daleville Park-and-Ride
at 8:30, and meet Charlottesville-based hike leader at trailhead at 9:30.
Limited to 10 hikers due to wilderness regulations, though we could split into
two groups if there is sufficient interest. Moderate.