Grayson Highlands 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.
- The herds of wild ponies that occupy the mountains.
We got to encounter of number of the ponies in our 5.5 hour hike.
- 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).
- <MET UP WITH TONY, PAUL, MATT AND NANCY>
- 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.