Powell River Trail


2 Reviews

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Powell River Trail Facts

States: Virginia
Counties: Wise
Length: 1.2 miles
Trail end points: W Main Street/ US-23 Bus. (Appalachia) and Big Stone Gap
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Gravel
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 10669280

Powell River Trail Description

The Powell River Trail is a 2.4-mile out-and-back trail in Appalachia, southwestern Virginia. The trail sits on the former Louisville & Nashville Railroad bed, which was used to haul coal from Appalachia to the neighboring Big Stone Gap. More than a century later, this corridor is used by enthusiastic residents and visitors alike for walking, running, biking and walking dogs. Fishermen use the trail to access the Powell River. Trail users on the ten-foot wide trail may catch glimpses of wild turkey, bears and bears in the thick forest. The trail also features two tunnels: at 47 feet, the Bee Rock Tunnel was once claimed to be the shortest railroad tunnel in the world (a claim later disproved). The Callahan Tunnel is longer, darker and unlike the former, not reinforced. Interpretive signage placed along the trail narrates the history of the trail.  It is hoped that the trail will be extended across US-23 BUS. and into Big Stone Gap to link to that town's greenway system.  

Parking and Trail Access

Beginning on State Route 160 over black mountain from Kentucky, Turn left onto N Inman Street then right onto W Main Street. The trailhead is on your right before you go under the steel bridge. Look for the bright red Norfolk and Western caboose on display in the parking lot. The address is 722 W Main St, Appalachia. 

Powell River Trail Reviews

wonderful w kids and dogs

We took the dogs and kids w/ one in a stroller. It was perfect. The 3 year old tuckered out right before the end but it was beautiful, fun to explore and good for the soul! Definitely not a real hike just a walk but till the kids get older it was great!

A gem

January 1st 2021 I brought my dogs with for an hour’s easy walk. Parked in the parking lot just by the steel bridge. The parking lot is diagonally opposite the spot the GPS brought me to. The parking lot is opposite the Valero gas station.
You first cross a bridge spanning a huge area of Powell River, with roaring river sounds and lovely views. Then you walk through a short tunnel (43 feet long). The entire path is 1.2 miles each way. The end of the trail is just past the second (longer) tunnel. Dogs got a drink in one of the little streams. Did not see any bears despite it being fairly warm at 55 degrees. I felt safe walking there on my own with my dogs. Well worth the visit!!

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