Virginia's Lost AT

The Kelley School along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Floyd, Virginia, operated as a school from 1876-1939, after which it became a country store known as Ware's Store. The Appalachian Trail arrived in the area in 1930 and passed directly in front of the School's front door. The Blue Ridge Parkway runs within 100 yards of the school/store building, which is now within the bounds of the National Park.

Ware's Store was a typical country store that sold both dry goods and food and was an useful resupply stop for hikers along the trail.

Kelley School.jpg

Hiking along roads was a common experience for hikers on the early versions of the Appalachian Trail, with as much as 40 percent of the original route of the trail being along roads when the trail was first declared completed in 1937. The use of roads, either those in use or those that had fallen out of use and were fading back into the forests, was especially common on the section of the Appalachian Trail between Glenvar, Virginia (near Roanoke) and Dixon's Ferry on the New River. This photograph shows a typical section of one of those roads in southern Floyd County, between the Haycocks and Tuggle's Gap, and offers a good sense for what hikers experienced as they walked through Southwestern Virginia.

Old AT Floyd County.jpg

The now abandoned Thompson's Store sits in a sharp bend in the road near the summit of Pumpkin Stem Knob ("Extraordinary view; should not be missed"). As the images indicate, the store is now completely overgrown and has been used as a place to dump unused construction materials. When the Appalachian Trail passed by the store on county route 619, it was the second place south of Poor Mountain where southbound hikers could re-provision right on the trail.


A news item in the Floyd News (Floyd, VA) about a planned hike by local Boy Scouts on the Appalachian Trail in Floyd County.

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