The 1,800-foot climb of this walk is seems easier than most such climbs over such distance, though it does go on a bit toward the end, which occurs at the sign that announces the Eastern Continental Divide, with the Gulf of Mexico 1,300 or so miles to the west and the Atlantic 400 or so miles to the east.
There's the start of a blue-blazed trail at the spot as well, as the AT turns left to proceed along the ridge of Sinking Creek Mountain. Note to selves upon exploring it for the first time: It peters out quickly, with both the blazes and the trail remnants disappearing, but less than a quarter mile up, there is a rocky outcrop that will make for a better-view lunch spot in the future.
Even at the lower spot, there was a strong cool breeze from the west once we reached the crest. The Day Hiker settled us in for lunch just a snooch down the east side of the mountain, where the breeze didn't go.
We saw a lone thru hiker on this walk, but there was a big crowd at the Niday Shelter, about 1.3 miles in.
Appalachian Trail from Va. 621 south to crest of Sinking Creek Mountain and back. 7.4 miles.
How to get there: Va. 311 west from Salem to Va. 621; about 6.5 miles to small parking area on the right.