James Face-Matts Creek Trail to Piney Ridge

About 11.5 miles; Strenuous; 45 miles from the parking area at Gander Mountain; 5 minute car shuttle.

Near Big Island, the hike, through the James Face Wilderness, begins at the Matts Creek trail head and follows the old AT before the construction of the James River footbridge. We intersect the AT after about 2.5 miles and head south, passing Matts Creek shelter. From here, the trail ascends passing over Grassy Island Ridge, Big Cove Branch, Gunter Ridge, and Sulfur Springs Trail before we intersect the Piney Ridge Trail for our descent to the finish. There nice views at Grassy Island Ridge as well as views of the James River Gorge, Big Rocky Row and Bluff Mt from midway through the hike. I am calling for weather reaching the upper 50’s with sunshine!