Appalachian Trail Histories


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From 1930-1952, the Appalachian Trail followed a very different route between Roanoke and Damascus, Virginia than today's version of the trail. Instead of passing southwest from Roanoke toward Blacksburg, the trail turned due south into Floyd County, and from there passed down into Patrick Country, crossed briefly into North Carolina at Fisher's Peak, then hooked back northwest through downtown Galax, Virginia, before crossing the New River at Dixon's Ferry. On the west bank of the river, the trail then turned north until it reached Byllesby Dam, at which point it climbed up onto the Iron Mountain ridge, which it followed all the way to Damascus. In 1952, the Appalachian Trail Conference (ATC) pulled the trail more than 50 miles west to its current location, abandoning the original route in Southwestern Virginia, a route that encompassed 300 miles, or 15 percent of the entire trail at the time.