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Virginia's Salt Trail runs for more than 8 miles between the small community of Saltville and the larger borough of Glade Spring. The trail is popular with equestrians and can get muddy and eroded in places during different times of year.
Much of the trail passes through a pastoral landscape of farms and woodlands, crossing several roads. The trail includes some on-road segments near Saltville and also incorporates other local paved trails.
As of 2012 the Salt Trail was a work in progress. For parking information, click on the link Salt Trail Guide above under Explore Related Content.
Since the previous reviews were written a lot must have changed on the Salt trail. On my visit the trail was well kept with and The trail is seldom used but has two nice cinder/gravel travel lanes with grass in between. It's a very smooth and tree canopy covered ride. As other have said this trail ends and one must used the road to access the Saltville portion. This is result of a mine collapse several years ago. Never the less there is still 7 miles of secluded trail before the trail meets the road. At 14 miles round trip (skip the road) this trail is definitely the road less traveled. I ride this trail a few times a year and have yet to pass another cyclist.
The salt trail is a pretty nice trail. The only complaint I have is the point in which the trail ends at a major roadway. You have to go down a steep overgrown hill, walk 1/2 mile on the side of a busy road, and continue north at the intersection on an even busier road for another 1/2 mile. The only reason I see to this break in the trail is to avoid the abandoned mines.
As previous reviews : trail not finished, trail not marked, trail not worth the ride. We tried both ends and disrepair and nobody cares about maintaining it, just like the locals want discourage bike riders
I rode both sections of the trail on 6/6/2011. Despite what you may see on Google maps, this is not one contiguous trail.
The Glade Spring trailhead is off Old Mill Rd. You will see a pull off area on the left (west) side of the road marked with blue "TRAIL AND PARKING" signs; you will also see some red-roofed livestock sheds near the trailhead.
This section runs for about 5.5 miles to a trestle over Old Mill Rd. After crossing the trestle you'll see "TRAIL UNDER CONSTRUCTION NO TRESPASSING" signs and the trail ends. Apparently this trail gets a LOT of horse use ... it was torn up pretty badly on the Monday I visited, and heavily littered with manure. Also in some parts of the trail, the gravel was too deep and ended up riding like quicksand.
I drove to Saltville to find the other trail section. Saltville is worth a visit but that section of the trail didn't amount to much. It winds through town for a couple of miles and then dumps you onto an uphill climb on Hwy 91 (which was busy at that time of day), then more on-road riding. I chose to turn back to town rather than follow this route.
The trail was a disappointment for me ... it has potential but it's too much of a hodgepodge right now. The amount of trail damage and litter left by horses doesn't add much to the experience either.
My daughter and I have very much enjoyed walking on the trail. We use the Glade Spring side, so that's what I'm basing this review on. It's an easy-enough walk for everyone, and we've seen all types using it. Although it does sometimes parallel a well-used road, there's plenty of room to make you feel as though you've escaped civilization for awhile. And there's much to look at, explore, and enjoy--trickling streams, animals (including cows, spring peppers, and free-range chickens), and plenty of rocks/plants/trees. There's even a spring with a tin cup thoughtfully placed. Although we've seen other walkers/bikers every time we've gone out, you still feel like you're alone on the trail, which is nice. We're looking forward to the town bringing the trailhead into the town proper.
A few notes as of Spring 2011: It can get a little muddy in places, so be prepared. There are unfortunately some places that would benefit from cleaning up in regard to illegal trash dumping. Also, as of now there's no signage at the trailhead on the Glade side, so you need to be looking for it. There are signs for parking, but it's dirt and grass, so you find people parked every which way. There's not a lot of parking, either. Nothing bothersome, though--the trail is worth it! :-)
After biking the New River Trail and the Virginia Creeper I decided to bike the Saltville trail while in the area. I wasn't expecting too much after riding the two other trails but I was pleasantly surprised. The trail goes through rolling farm country and through some scenic wooded areas and I liked the way they used railroad ties to make fences along the trail. The only downfall was trying to find the trail head in Glade Spring and that you have to ride the road about a mile before Saltville. Its also a nice downhill ride from Glade Spring. Make sure you visit the museum in Saltville, its worth the visit
July 2010 - Very enjoyable rail-trail. You can travel about 7 miles downhill from Glade Spring until you hit barricades indicating the remainder of the trail to Saltville is still under construction. Turn around and go back up the trail to Glade Spring - a gentle uphill climb. A good 14mi round trip outing. Trestles are new, and trail is well maintained.
The trailhead in Glade Spring is a little difficult to find. It is a the end of a spur that come off the main Norfolk Southern line. From the Glade Spring Exit off I-81, take Hwy 9l north toward Glade Springs. Keep straight on Va 750 when Hwy 91 bears right toward Saltville. Cross the railroad with a few hundred yards and continue on county road 750 until you cross the spur. The trailhead will be on the left about a half mile after the crossing. There are no signs indicating that it is the Salt trail and no developed parking. The trailhead in Saltville is right in the center of town, pretty much in front of the post office.
Coming from the east on I-81, take the Chilhowie exit and follow highway 107 to highway 91 and turn left toward Saltville.
Chris Bracknell May 29, 2010
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