This mountain park is next to the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area in the Jefferson National Forest. Grayson Highlands State Park was originally named Mount Rogers State Park and was established in 1965. Pets are allowed in the park but not allowed inside public facilities including the bathhouses, visitor center and office.
Magical backcountry! Most of the trails in this park are moderate to difficult. I would not bring or hike with anyone that (dogs) that you cannot lift over large boulders. I hiked from Massie Gap on the AT/Rhodedendron, then looped back via a horsetrail during summer solstice. Good water sorces in most places. It rained the first 1-2 days, but after that nice and sunny. Still cold at night 40s-50s.
Sweet views! Parked at Massie Gap and looked down as I climbed up. A lot of people with dogs and kids were all out. The horses were out, one was in labor. SoBo on the AT was very quiet. Lots of rocks both ways. Mt. Rogers way was steep and big rocks, while SoBo was just rocky. Go to the visitor center up the mountain. There are more trails up there. Awesome place to just sit and chill!
I hiked from Massie Gap in Grayson Highlands State Park to the Mount Rogers summit (November 2015) on a beautiful and unseasonably warm day. The open views on this section of the AT are spectacular. I really enjoyed crossing Wilburn Ridge. I took the more direct and rocky route on the way out and the somewhat less challenging 'bypass' on the way back. The trail also takes you through Rhododendron Gap and by the Thomas Knob Shelter (shortly before the Summit Spur). There was a mommy pony and her young pony hanging out in front of the shelter as I passed (not to mention many more that I saw along the way).
Absolutely beautiful place! Definitely going back as I only hiked one trail (Rhododendron) and that barely scratched the surface. I want to camp here! GH has something for every hiker, every level but what sets this heavenly place apart from none other is the horses. Come on...it's what we all go for!
Wow. My friend has talked about this place for the last several years. I finally made my way to VA, and completely understand why she loves it so very much. It is incredibly beautiful. I did not find the trail especially difficult. We saw the feral ponies, which was quite a treat. Unfortunately, I also witnessed people feeding the ponies, which is strictly prohibited.
I enjoyed very much climbing on some of the rock formations. The panoramic views during the middle of October are amazing!
This was our second AT 1 nighter after Carvers Gap in TN 2 weeks ago. I didn't think anything could beat the view but this was simply amazing. A little tougher but worth it! We saw about 10 wild ponies and 50+ Cattle (long horn) in the Trail. 5 stars and worth doing! Started at the backpackers overnight parking lot and headed AT Spur Trail to the AT north. Camped at "the Scales". Followed the AT north to "pine mountain trail" then back on AT north. 13 total miles.