Pass Mountain — Elkwallow Wayside Lollipop

A lollipop featuring 8 miles on the Appalachian Trail with Elkwallow Wayside, a favorite mid-run oasis.

  • 22 miles
Running time
  • 4–6.5 hours
Total ascent/descent
  • 4,900 feet
    225 feet/mile


From the parking area on Route 211, cross the road and head uphill to the Pass Mountain Trail. Climb 0.7 miles to the saddle and then take a left, climbing an additional 2.2 miles to the Appalachian Trail (AT). You will pass Pass Mountain Shelter near the top.

Turn right on the AT and go 1.8 miles towards Beahms Gap. Before crossing Skyline Drive, take a right on the Rocky Branch Trail and go 0.4 miles to a parking area and the Hull School Trail. Take Hull School and descend 2.2 miles down to the North Fork of the Thornton River. Continue for 0.7 miles, then turn left onto the Fork Mountain Trail. Climb for 1.2 miles to the intersection with the Piney Ridge Trail. Continue on Piney Ridge for 2 miles to the AT.1

Turn left on the AT and descend 0.75 miles to Skyline Drive. Cross Skyline Drive and take the short side trail to the left to Elkwallow Wayside (mile 12), where there is a convenience store and snack bar in season.

From Elkwallow, take the AT southbound for 7.2 miles, all the way back to the Pass Mountain Trail. Take a left onto Pass Mountain and descend 2.9 miles down to Route 211.

  1. Near the intersection of the Piney Ridge Trail and the AT is the PATC’s Range View Cabin, with an excellent spring down the hill in front of the shelter. This is a good option for water for times when Elkwallow Wayside is closed. 

Last updated February 17, 2021

What you do is up to you, but you shouldn't rely on these directions alone; they are often not specific enough to navigate by, and may be incorrect or out of date. Review a map beforehand and carry it with you. Tell a friend where you are going and when you plan to return. Do not count on having cell phone service while on the run. The VHTRC is not responsible for your welfare on any of these runs. If you go on one of these runs and get lost, run out of water, get injured, mauled by a bear, or die, or if anything else goes wrong, it's your fault; not ours. You assume all risks here and the VHTRC assumes none at all. Legal issues aside, some of these runs are more remote than others and the VHTRC is not suggesting that you do any of these runs, unless you are prepared to accept full responsibility for yourself.