Grayson Highlands and Mount Rogers National Recreation Area

June 3, 2006 at 9:29 pm 10 comments

Today was an eventful day.  Bill C and I both woke up at 5 AM.  We were on the road by 6 AM and headed out to Grayson Highlands State Park and Mount Rogers National Recreation Area

Some well-known features of this area include:

  • The beautiful Rhododendron Gap section of the Appalachian Trail. 
    The rhododendrons blossoms that line the trail peak in early June.  We appeared to be just a couple of weeks too early, but we did get to enjoy the early blooms.
    Rhododendron on Pine Mountain Trail
  • The herds of wild ponies that occupy the mountains.
    We got to encounter of number of the ponies in our 5.5 hour hike.
    Vicky Pets Pony
  • The highest point of Virginia. 
    At an elevation of 5729', the summit of Mount Rogers is the highest point in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Although we choose not to ascend to the summit today, we did cross the highest spot (~5526' feet at Pine Mountain Crest) the Appalachain Trail reaches in Virginia.

Bill and I took a combination of trails throughout our day's journey.  At our halfway point, we met up with Tony Airaghi, Paul Ely, Matt Ely and Nancy at their campsite.  They hiked with us for a while before our groups parted ways.  I'm not sure of our total mileage, but our route was as follows:

  • From Massie Gap Parking Lot in Grayson Highlands State Park, we took the AT Spur Trail up to the Appalachian Trail (0.8 miles)
  • We went Southbound on the AT, past Rhododendron Gap, through Fatman Squeeze Tunnel (what a apt name!) and to Pine Mountain Trail (2.7 miles)
  • We walked down Pine Mountain Trail to Lewis Fork Trail (??? ~1 mile?)
  • We turned right on Lewis Fork Trail and walked to the intersection of Lewis Fork and Crest Trail (neglible).
  • We took Crest Trail back to the Appalachian Trail (??? ~1 mile?)
  • Took the AT Northbound to Wilburn Crest Trail (.5 mile)
  • Took the Wilburn Crest Trail till its connection further down the AT (1 mile)
  • Took the Appalachian Trail Northbound to Massie Gap Trail (2.1 miles)
  • Took Massie Gap Trail down towards the State Road.
  • Whoops! We missed the parking lot and took the Horse Trail all the way down to the Country Store (??? ~2 miles?)
  • Got on a park road and walked back to the parking lot we somehow missed (??? ~2 miles?)

It was more mileage than we intended, but still a wonderful journey!  Well-worth the trip. 

All my pictures from this Grayson Highlands/Mount Rogers trip can be found on my website.

Entry filed under: Appalachian Trail, Bill C, Grayson Highlands, Mount Rogers, Tony Airaghi.

JavaScript: Changing a Button’s onClick Programmatically Client-Side At the Corner of Progress and Peril

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Clint  |  June 7, 2006 at 11:26 am

    In the immortal words of Beavis: “Walking sucks!”


  • 2. tgaw  |  June 7, 2006 at 2:06 pm

    Hmm… I’m going to have to disagree with Beavis on that one.

    Actually, Beavis and I may have many differences of opinion. In the pregnancy episode (which is my favorite)– he showed a distain for vegetables– which I’m quite fond of.

    Well, he is still the cuter of the two, so at least he has that!

  • […] Unfortunately, now I’m on to myself.  On five recent hikes (Tinker Cliffs to VA-220, VA-635 to Pine Swamp Shelter, Blackhorse Gap to VA 652, Mount Rogers and Bald Knob), I knew better.  I never thought I couldn’t make it.  But, with Mt. Bierstadt I definitely had my doubts!  Those doubts were a slightly different species, however– they occurred before I even arrived in the state. […]

  • 4. Melissa  |  August 12, 2006 at 8:43 am

    OMG! I can’t believe I actually found something on the mysterious Bill Cygielnik! I haven’t spoken to him practicaly since high school! Billy if you view this post email me at I’d like to chat!

  • 5. Kenny  |  September 14, 2006 at 3:18 pm

    I have great memories hiking up Mount Rogers and seeing a thunder storm roll in when we were way up high. We walked down in the pouring rain, trail turning to river. It was great.

  • […] Route We took the same route as our day hike last year: […]

  • 7. The Birthday Orange « TGAW  |  October 10, 2007 at 9:20 am

    […] today, preparing for my hike with Bill– an orange was a no-brainer inclusion.  It was a downright […]

  • 8. Courtney Smith  |  July 25, 2008 at 8:55 am

    me and my group home went on a school trip. we enjoyed it very much. im from a very country home town called Grundy Va. and i wanted to ride the ponies so bad i couldnt stand it .

  • 9. Bill: Almost Assimilated « TGAW  |  November 2, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    […] C to my hobbies is progressing.  Not only has he joined me on a few hikes this year (including Mt. Rogers and Butt Mountain), but tonight he returned from his three week vacation to Australia where he […]

  • 10. this website  |  July 3, 2012 at 6:49 am

    Woah! I’m really enjoying the template/theme of this blog. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s very hard to get that “perfect balance” between superb usability and visual appeal. I must say you have done a fantastic job with this. Also, the blog loads super quick for me on Opera. Exceptional Blog!


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