Reviews The Upper New Review

When the Appalachian Trail Went Through Galax

by Tom Dillon

“Virginia’s Lost Appalachian Trail,” by Mills Kelly. History Press, Charleston, S.C. 2023. 157 pages, $23.99 paperback

“The Old Appalachian Trail in Southwest Virginia,” by Susan Gail Arey. Independently published, 2023. 116 pages, $27 paperback

Talk about early relocations of the Appalachian Trail, and PATH members who’ve been around for a while will conjure up the removal of the trail in the 1980s from the dry summit ridge of Walker Mountain to Garden Mountain and Chestnut Knob.

But that’s far from the longest relo southwest Virginia has ever seen, even if the Appalachian Trail Conservancy has never bothered to tell much of the story. That’s why it’s fortunate we have a couple of other people on the job. They are Mills Kelly, a professor at George Mason University and volunteer archivist for the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC), on the job, and Susan Gail Arey, an author of several hiking books.