New River @ Alleghany Access Landing

New River State Park - Alleghany County Access

New River State Park is located in Alleghany and Ashe Counties in extreme northwestern North Carolina. Protecting a 30-mile stretch of the ancient New River the park is spread out along the waterway, encompassing just under 3,000-acres within about a half-dozen separate "access areas." While a couple of these areas are only accessible by water most are also reachable by car, offering land-based recreational activities to compliment the obvious aquatic ones available on the river. On this particular visit I'd be stopping at two such access points...the U.S.-221 Access Area, which you can visit with me by CLICKING HERE, and the lesser known Alleghany County Access which is covered in this particular album. The Alleghany County Access is the northernmost of the park access points and one of the more remote and unvisited. In fact, you may notice the park website and literature stating that the Alleghany County Access is accessible only by water. This is patently not true, though my guess is that park officials don’t want a lot of people driving in due to the lack of facilities (i.e. parking). What this means, though, is you’re going to need a good map to find the “trailhead” for this area at the end of Round House Road which heads south from the Virginia State Line. My plan was to hike the two main trails within the access area, the Farm House Loop and Riverview Trails, two separate mile-and-a-half loops which I hoped would offer a good overall look at this particular corner of the park. I wasn't disappointed.

So the first issue is getting there. The best approach is by heading up into Virginia, getting on US-58, and then turning south on VA-767 (Old Mill Rd) a mile or so east of the crossroads known as Mouth of Wilson. Immediately after crossing the river on VA-767 make a left onto VA-716; this is Round House Road. Entirely gravel, Round House Road is passable for cars all the way to the trail head, which is at a gate at the end of Round House Road. There’s parking for maybe two here, just make sure you’re not blocking the aforementioned barrier. The two loops I was interested in lie uphill and downhill from here. I decided on the lower loop, called the Farm House Loop, to go down and see the river first. Walking past the gate downhill for a couple minutes the beginning of the trail isn’t signed but it’s pretty obvious as it breaks from the road into some pines on the right (it’s also blazed red). True to its name, the Farm House Loop circles its way through a woodland that is obviously recovering from a farm or farms which were located here in the recent past. The forest is young and there are a number of openings which look like they were man-made at one time. At about the halfway point of the loop a spur trail heads down to the river and the canoe-in campground located alongside it. I wandered down to take a look and found a nice little campground and enjoyed a short time relaxing alongside the New River (the only time I’d see it this hike). Overall that’s about it for the Farm House Trail. It’s a nice walk and a good trail, there’s just not much that’s remarkable about it.

My second loop of the afternoon, the Riverview Trail, was a bit harder to find than anticipated. Returning to the parking area at the gate after hiking the Farm House Loop, my official park map showed the Riverview Trail beginning pretty much right at said gate. There was no trail to be seen. As I had already been downhill from the parking area and knew it didn’t start in that direction I decided to walk uphill along the road and see if it was located there. As it turned out, after walking perhaps a tenth-of-a-mile up from the parking area, there it was. A small trail sign and white blazes can be seen cutting up into the trees on the north side of the road (the right side walking up from the parking area). Turning left to start the Riverview Trail loop in a clockwise direction, I immediately found this trail more scenic and enjoyable than the Farm House Loop. It first enters a forest of pine before then reaching an interesting area of large rock ledges which it passes above and then turns to pass beneath. From there the trail continues to descend into a remarkably pretty cove through which a tiny unnamed creek flows. After crossing the creek the trail begins to climb back up the ridge. This portion of the hike is moderately steep but it’s short-lived. Before long I popped out of the forest onto a beautiful grassy and open ridge with very nice views of the hills in every direction. At about the halfway point on the ridge a simple bench marks the trails official overlook where you can look east across the New River (which remains hidden in the trees) or back north where the lofty peaks of Virginia’s Grayson Highlands can be seen. Beyond the overlook the ridge continues to be open for a short time before re-entering the woods and ending back at the junction where it starts alongside the road.

Overall I’d say I enjoyed my visit to the Alleghany Access portion of New River State Park. It’s certainly obvious not too many people head here by land which made it all the more novel to me. The trails are pretty, not all that difficult, and easy to follow (once you find them!). Though I wouldn’t make a special trip here, if you’re in the area these short hikes might be worth considering. So, without further adieu, I present to you the Alleghany Access area of New River State Park…as always, please ENJOY!!

Trailhead GPS Coordinates:   36.560977, -81.324183

Route Type:  Double Loop                 Difficulty:  MODERATE  (Petzoldt Rating:  3.90 )

Mileage Hiked:  3.1 miles                     Hike Duration:  1:30

Trailhead Temp:  75'F                          Trail Traffic: NONE!!

Min. Elevation:  2,450'                          Max. Elevation:  2,750'

Total Vertical Gain:  400'                     Avg. Elevation Gain / Mile:  129'

Trails Used (blaze color):  Farm House Loop (red), Riverview (white)


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  • Dave Kathy Weemhoff

    on August 21, 2018

    A pleasant place! When there are nice views of the Mts (if not the River), and the beauty of rhododendrons in bloom -- nice!