We investigate here the performance of our recently developed linear-scaling Jastrow-generalized-valence-bond (J-LGVB) wave functions based on localized orbitals, for the quantum Monte Carlo (QMC) calculation of the barrier heights and reaction energies of five prototypical chemical reactions. Using the geometrical parameters from the Minnesota database collection, we consider three hydrogen-exchanges, one heavy-atom exchange, and one association reaction and compare our results with the best available experimental and theoretical data. For the three hydrogen-exchange reactions, we find that the J-LGVB wave functions yield excellent QMC results, with average deviations from the reference values below 0.5 kcal/mol. For the heavy-atom exchange and association reactions, additional resonance structures are important, and we therefore extend our original formulation to include multiple coupling schemes characterized by different sets of localized orbitals. We denote these wave functions as J-MC-LGVB, where MC indicates the multiconfiguration generalization, and show that such a form leads to very accurate barrier heights and reaction energies also for the last two reactions. We can therefore conclude that the J-LGVB theory for constructing QMC wave functions, with its multiconfiguration generalization, is valid for the study of large portions of ground-state potential energy surfaces including, in particular, the region of transition states.