Mount Rogers National Recreation Area - Member Hike

Hike Name: Mount Rogers National Recreation Area
Country: United States
State: Virginia
Nearby Town: Mouth of Wilson
Rating: 4 stars
Directions: From I-77, take Hillsville Exit 14 to U.S. 58. Travel west on U.S. 58, 40 miles to Volney. Turn left to stay on U.S. 58 and go eight miles to the park entrance.
Total Hike Distance: 6.50 miles
Hike Difficulty: Moderate
Permit Required: Yes
Hike Type: Roundtrip, Loop Hike
Hike Starts/Ends: Grayson Highlands overnight parking area
Trails Used: Rhododendron Trail, Appalachian Trail, Rhododendron Gap Trail
Backcountry Campsites: Yes
Backcountry Water Sources: Streams, Springs
Management: National Park Service
Contact Information: Grayson Highlands State Park
829 Grayson Highland Lane, Mouth of Wilson, VA 24363
Phone #: (276) 579-7092

Mount Rogers National Recreation Area
Supervisor's Office
5162 Valleypointe Parkway
Roanoke, VA 24019
Best Season: Winter, Spring, Fall
Users: Hikers, Dogs, Horses
Road Conditions: Primary Paved Roads
Hike Summary: Start this trip at the Grayson Highlands overnight parking area. There is a $2.00 parking fee per night at the park entrance. Grayson Highlands has a collection of balds that stay bald because the vegetation is consumed by "wild" ponies and, occasionally, cattle (I once ran into longhorn cattle grazing on the balds). The "wild" ponies will come right up to you and search for food. They are absolutely beautiful to look at and make me smile everytime I see them. Unfortunately, we did not see any this visit. From the parking lot we took the Rhododendron Trail for 1 mile to the Appalachian Trail. We then went left (south bound) on the AT for 2.5 miles. At Rhododendron Gap, the AT bears to the left and the Pine Mountain Trail comes in from the right. About 3/4 miles on the AT, there are a number of different campsites that are right off the trail. This is a good area for camping. Behind these campsites, off of the Crest Trail (which parallels the AT for a short distance) there is a water source for filling up. It is a spring that is fenced in to keep animals out, although the last time I visited the area, ponies and cows were drinking from the spring down stream from where I was. The hike from start to the campsite is a steady, although not necessarily steep, ascension up the Wilburn Ridge. We had spent the night in this area, since it is one of the few areas that have water nearby. On the way back, we cut through the campsites and went across the Crest Trail to the Rhododendron Gap Trail. This is a rocky trail that is very eroded. During times of rain, or snow, the trail is usually flooded. At about 3/4 mile, the Rhododendron Gap Trail crosses the AT. There are no blazes on this section of the trail and it may be hard to follow at times. At about another 3/4 mile, it meets up with the AT again. Follow the AT northbound for a few thousand feet and take the Rhododendron Trail back to the parking lot.



4,650 points


Trip Reports

  Date Rating Duration Hiker
Mount Rogers National Recreation Area - December 27, 2011 December 27, 2011 4 stars 2 days jayemm


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