Appalachian Trail Town Spotlight: Atkins, VA
As part of my Trail Town Spotlight series, I’d like to start with Atkins, VA at mile 543 on the Appalachian Trail going northbound.
Approximate northbound mileages:
469: Damascus, VA
543: Atkins, VA
590: Bland, VA
635: Pearisburg, VA
The trail crosses the far east end of Atkins just before it crosses over I-81. You can get everything you need without hitching at this cluster of businesses. Although broadly known as Atkins, the businesses you pass on the trail are in the towns of Groseclose and Rural Retreat.
If you hitch or shuttle about four miles west, you can find more lodging and resupply in Atkins proper.
Places to stay
The Relax Inn is a hiker-friendly budget motel right off the trail. It is nothing fancy, but they do accept mail drops for guests and have laundry.
There’s a Comfort Inn about four miles west on Hwy 11.
If you don’t hitch over to the Comfort Inn and the Dollar General, there is a limited selection at the Exxon or Sunoco gas stations right on the trail. Atkins was one of just three resupply mail drops I did on the entire AT, but my group of friends did their entire resupply from the ample food available at the Exxon.
Atkins may be a blip compared to some of the other towns directly on the trail, but it really isn’t that often you get to walk right past a few restaurants. One is the The Barn. It seems that most people go for the Barn and get what they’re looking for. I went to El Burrito Loco (attached to the Exxon station and open late). I love orchada drinks. They’re basically rice, milk, and sugar – I think that makes it a superfood for thru-hikers, and it’s free refills.
Things to do
There really isn’t much to do aside from the bare town stop necessities. Shower, laundry, power outlets, and resupply are all there. The town is built for getting in and getting out quickly with the things you need to get done.
For an unassuming stop on the trail (especially right after Damascus), Atkins delivers. Just keep your expectations in check.
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