Appalachian Trail Histories

The Bluemont Hotel on Main Street in downtown Galax, Virginia, was a popular spot for hikers on the Appalachian Trail who passed through the city on their way north or south. Despite advertising an "automatic sprinkler system," the Bluemont burned in the 1950s and was not rebuilt.


Shirley Cole (right) and his brother Ernest (left) was the County Agent in Floyd County, Virginia and the founder of the Southern Virginia Appalachian Trail Association that marked, cut, and graded the first version of the Appalachian Trail in Southwestern Virginia in 1930. Cockram Ridge is along the route of the AT between Meadows of Dan and the Pinnacles of Dan. Photograph by ATC Chairman Myron Avery.

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The view from the Appalachian Trail on Horse Knob near the North Carolina border, 1932.

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Photograph of members of the SWVA Appalachian Trail Club at Lover's Leap in Patrick County, October 1930. According to a newspaper story in the Galax Gazette, those in the photograph included Mrs. J.K. Caldwell, Miss Vinnie Caldwell, R.E. Cox, B.D. Beamer, Mr. and Mrs. S.C. Cox, and son Worth, and Mrs. Beverly F. Eckles.

The image is part of a collection of scrapbook pages created by PATC founder and ATC Chairman Myron Avery.


A small portion of a much larger map of the public lands in the United States in 1953, created by the U.S. Department of the Interior, that shows the region of Southwest Virginia where the Appalachian Trail was located from 1930-1952.

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From 1930-1952, the Appalachian Trail crossed the New River at Dixon's Ferry, just north of the mill town of Fries. Hikers going south would knock at the door of the Dixon family home and request a ride across the river. Those coming north would shout from the far bank, approximately 100 yards away.

Charlie Dixon (rear) or his wife would take them across in the ferry boat pictured here, a typical New River flat bottomed boat, for 5 cents. Charlie Dixon's father, William Oliver Dixon, is in the foreground. The men had been out placing set lines in the river when this picture was taken sometime in the 1940s.

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The Bell Spur Primitive Baptist Church in Meadows of Dan, Virginia, was an important landmark for hikers on the Appalachian Trail in Patrick County, Virginia from 1930-1952. The Trail passed directly in front of the church and, if one was hiking southbound from Meadows of Dan, turned right toward the Blue Ridge Parkway.

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Parked at Lover's Leap overlook in Patrick County, Virginia, sometime in the 1930s. Lover's Leap was a popular stop along the Appalachian Trail in Southwestern Virginia between 1930-1952. It is on Highway 58 near Vesta, Virginia, just above the headwaters of the Dan River, and affords spectacular views to the north and east.

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John R. Barnard (right) leading a hike in the Dan River Gorge, August, 1936. Barnard was the man responsible for laying out and maintaining the Appalachian Trail in Patrick County, Virginia from 1930-1952. He regularly led hikes along the Trail and throughout the Dan River Gorge throughout this period and continued to do so long after the Trail moved 50 miles west.

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In 1933, members of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) traveled to Meadows of Dan, Virginia, to hike the Dan River Gorge, including the Pinnacles of Dan. They stayed at the home of John Barnard, who had laid out and maintained the Trail in Patrick County on behalf of the ATC. Barnard led hikes over the Pinnacles and was a regular host for PATC excursions in the area. Visitors such as this group typically camped on his land or stayed in his barn.

[Reverse of image] "Members of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club at the home of Mr. and Mrs. J.R. Barnard near Pinnacles of Dan, Patrick Co. Va., July 1,2,3, 1933. Myron Avery with wheel."

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This panoramic image of Lover's Leap in Patrick County, Virginia, is compiled from three photographs taken by ATC Chairman Myron Avery during a hike on the Appalachian Trail in Southern Virginia in January 1932. Avery was scouting the new route of the Trail in this region with local Appalachian Trail leader Shirley L. Cole and his brother Earnest.

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Map of the legality of Marijuana in the United States.

Collection: Crime on the Trail
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