Finding the trailhead was a little more difficult than it needed to be, thanks to the Nat'l Geo/Trails Illustrated Map #788, "Covington/Alleghany Highlands," which incorrectly shows the trailhead right off of the main road through the area, Virginia Rt. 42. Instead, it is off of Rt 600, Big River Road. The map should show 42 heading NE east of Panther Gap as 600.
This map also shows the trail starting at the back end of a gated forest road. It actually parallels that road, starting from Rt. 600. A downloaded .gpx track, which I placed in my GPS and used extensively during first part of this hike, proved much more useful than this error-prone map. A link to the track is found later in this description.