Between 2007 & 2008, familiarization (FAM) tours were taken by each of the seven participating counties to become more familiar with the proposed route through their county. Below is a review of what was seen on the tour through Russell County.
Nestled in the Appalachian Mountains of Southwest Virginia, Russell County is rich in natural beauty, history and a rapidly advancing economy. Founded on January 2, 1786, Russell County was formed from a section of Washington County. Lee, Tazewell, Wise, Buchanan, Dickenson and Soott counties were formed from parts of Russell County. Our communities take great pride in our history and culture and are passionate about its future. The County was named for Colonel William Russell participated in the drafting of the Declaration of Independence. Russell County has been home to such public servants as Daniel Boone, Governor H.C. Stuart, Sate Senator M. M. Long and State Senator Phillip Puckett.
Russell County’s portion of the trail begins at the Dickenson-Russell County line on Virginia Route 63 coming from Trammel, VA. Follow VA Route 63 to VA Route 627 through Lower Bear Wallow where you can see one of the remaining coal camp communities. Continue to VA Route 627 where you can visit the Dante Coal & Railroad Museum which is filled with photographs and artifacts showcasing the community’s rich history in coal mining and railroad memorabilia. From the museum, turn left onto VA Route 608 which will return you to VA Route 63, passing by the old depot. When you arrive at VA Route 63 directly across the highway you will see the Dante Fire Department where the Dante Coal Miner’s Memorial is located. After visiting the memorial, return to VA Route 63 which will take you t6o St. Paul. Along the way you will be able to view the CSX Railroad Turntable between Dante and Sun. In St. Paul, make a left turn onto VA Route 270. When arriving at the stop light, the trail will split in each direction at US Route 58A. Turning right will continue through the Wise County portion of the trail. Turning left will afford the opportunity to continue touring the Russell County portion of the trail.
Continue on U.S. Highway 58A into Castlewood, Ma & Pa’s Drive In Restaurant is a historic icon in Castlewood located along the trail. In St. Paul you will travel across the Clinch River, which is a part of the VA Scenic Rivers System. The Clinch River has been ranked the #1 river in the country by the Nature Conservancy for environmental diversity and significance and is the top river in the world for freshwater mussels. In Castlewood you will arrive at a set of traffic lights, one immediately after the other. At the second light, turn left onto VA Route 65 (Mew Road). Approx. 2 miles on your right, a historic marker is located which highlights the period of time Daniel Boone lived at that location. Continuing on VA Route 65 will take you to the Russell-Scott County line.
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