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The Appalachian Trail’s George Washington National Forest

Find spectacular views and deep solitude on this weekend hike.

State: VA

Hike: We can’t promise you’ll bump into moonshiners or Confederate gun stashes–but we can’t guarantee you won’t. Rebel troops turned the Tye River Valley into a supply route during the Civil War; rumrunners also plied these secluded mountains during Prohibition. The 28 miles from Reeds Gap south to Salt Log Gap also serves up killer views (best: Chimney Rock and Hanging Rock), wildflowers (trillium, fire pink, and Turk’s cap lily), old trees (wild cherry, mountain ash, and gnarled chestnut oak), even solitude in the Three Ridges and Priest Wilderness Areas. From April through June, detour on Crabtree Falls Trail for blooming rhododendron and azalea around numerous cascades.

Drive: Start: On VA 664 in Reeds Gap, immediately east of Blue Ridge Parkway (mile 13.6). End: From US 60, a mile west of Long Mountain Wayside, turn north on VA 634 (becomes FR 63); go 7.1 miles to Salt Log Gap.

Hike Elevation Profiles: 28 miles: high point: 4,068 ft., low point: 892 ft.

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