Mount Rogers and Appalachian Trail Loop is a 21.2 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Troutdale, Virginia that offers the chance to see wildlife. The trail is rated as difficult and offers a number of activity options. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length21.2 miElevation gain3,490 ftRoute typeLoop
Dogs on leashBackpackingCampingHikingNature tripsRunningForestWildlife
Waypoints (0)
Weather
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Reviews (63)
Photos (2,114)
Recordings (40)
Completed (158)
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Tom Bragg
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 14, 2021
BackpackingFeeRocky

The trail is hard, but well worth the effort. The ponies are the highlight to a great loop hike. The trail is well maintained!

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Dania Spohn
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 5, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful route. It was a winter wonderland with all the snow.

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William Tell Fritzler
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 7, 2020
HikingGreat!Rocky

The hike is a true gem of the Appalachian Trail and Virginia for that matter. The sweet smell of the spruce-fir forests is phenomenal and only compliments the views. Not to mention, the wild ponies!! I did this hike with a friend who is not a hiker at all currently and was able to this hike. My dog also came and did well. We made our way up the trail from Elk Garden, but didn't see any longhorns. Oh my goodness, I will totally do this hike again. The Grayson Highlands are gorgeous. :-)

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Kara Hughes
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 29, 2020
Hiking

We did this loop clockwise in three days/two nights. We got a late start the first day so we hiked to and camped at Old Orchard. The second night we camped at a site with beautiful views just before Thomas Knob shelter. There is a great water source a short distance from the Thomas Knob Shelter. Although there isn’t a view at the top of Mt Rogers, I think it’s still worth the quick jaunt through the beautiful moss covered forest. This loop is very doable and not too difficult. Gorgeous views and sweet little ponies abound.

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Bojan Drobic
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 22, 2020
Hiking

Completed the trail with a buddy of mine the first week of October. The first two days were super nice and the scenery was just gorgeous. We camped out two nights and then did 2/3 of the trail the last day due to the fact that it was raining all day and we were just soaked. Our initial plan was to have about 5 miles left the last day but we just ended up hiking back to Grindstone campground Saturday instead of Sunday morning. All in all great trail and I would definitely do it again no doubt!

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Jonathan May
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 19, 2020
CampingGreat!Rocky

Depending on your skill level, this trail can really be a ball buster, especially if you plan to do it in 2 days\1 night. However, it is absolutely worth it. Several scenery changes to enjoy, and no less that half a dozen magnificent views. Huge sense of accomplishment awaits at the end of your journey with this one.

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Jacquelyn Gibbs
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 19, 2020
HikingRocky

absolutely beautiful scenery! bring your best set of knees! we did this loop in two days(one night) which included the mt rogers spur.

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Chelsea Boyd
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Walking
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Juan Santana
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Hiking
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Sophia McElroy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 7, 2020
Backpacking

10/2-10/4 This trail was the perfect length for a 2 1/2 day backpacking trip! It was only my second time doing a two night backpacking trip and it was incredible and the perfect level of difficulty. We decided to do the trail clockwise spending the first night and Old Orchard and the second night at the Thomas Knob shelter! The middle day was by far the hardest with 12.5 miles between the two campsites but also the most rewarding based on how many ponies and Longhorns we saw! Would recommend to absolutely anyone!!

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C Jackson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 5, 2020
Hiking

We hiked this trail counterclockwise starting at Grindstone Campground 10/2-10/4. It was my first time backpacking and it was amazing! We hiked to just past the Thomas Knob shelter the first night and, as others have mentioned, there are amazing views and tons of spots to camp about a half mile past the shelter. The whole first day is pretty much all uphill but there are some switchbacks and it never really felt super strenuous, although it does get a little harder the closer you get to Mount Rogers. The second day we had intended to get to Old Orchard shelter but we really took our time through Grayson Highlands and enjoyed the scenery/ponies. We found a small spot to camp in the woods just past Scales and then finished up the next morning. Overall this was a fantastic experience that really offered everything—amazing views from beautiful ridges, thick forests, fun rock scrambles. It was definitely challenging for me but so much fun!

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Callie Jensen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 3, 2020
BackpackingGreat!

My friend and I did this about a week ago and loved it! We started at Grindstone campground and went counterclockwise. The first day we stayed at a campground about .5 miles past Thomas Knob shelter... it was only about 7.5miles into the trail so we got there early, set up camp and hiked up to Mt Rogers summit. It was a little crowded in this area which was a little disappointing for me personally as I like the seclusion feeling on backpacking trips. In the morning a wild pony walked right up to our campsite. My favorite part was hiking along the rocky terrain of Wilburn Ridge the next morning... there were tons of groups of ponies to see as well. Unfortunately my friend injured her knee a little past Massie Gap so we had to bail and thankfully a nice couple that was parked in the Backpackers overnight lot drove us back to Grindstone. There were plenty of places to get water throughout and the elevation gain was totally doable. Would definitely recommend this to any level backpacker and hope to return someday to finish the loop!

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Mike York
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 2, 2020
Hiking

Great trip. this is only a partial record of it.

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Chris Ameigh
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 2, 2020
Hiking
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Nick Fabian
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 28, 2020
BackpackingGreat!

Very fun and rewarding loop! Parked at grindstone trailhead. The terrain changes from woodlands and green tunnels, to meadows and mountains fairly quick, and then back again. Did this loop clock wise and would recommend that due to making this a 1.5 day hike and wanting to camp in the openness around Thomas Knob shelter (14-15 miles in). The hike isn’t too difficult but the elevation and boulder scrambles as you are approaching Mount Rogers become significant. As some of the other reviews have suggested, skip the Thomas Knob shelter if you’re looking for amazing sunset and sunrise views. It’s pretty thick with trees around the shelter but opens up on both ends within .5-.75 miles each direction. You won’t be disappointed! Water was easy to come by with creeks, streams, and run offs from rain earlier in the week. Otherwise the northwest area of the loop is a bit dry. The ponies and cows are easily found on the souther/western area of the loop. Bear boxes are at most camps and the trails were well marked. Awesome little loop and highly recommended! Next time would take 2.5 days just to camp in more of this beautiful area.

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Nina Wells
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Hiking
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Krina Patel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 21, 2020
BackpackingGreat!

amazing loop! my friend and i did this loop in 2.5 days as first time backpackers. parked at grindstone parking lot and camped at old orchard shelter the first night. the second night we hiked to the thomas knob shelter and camped out there. last day we hiked back to grindstone. all the trails were well marked and easy to follow. both shelters had a privy, spring, and bear boxes. definitely recommend, even for first time backpackers!!

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Haley Litton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 16, 2020
BackpackingGreat!Muddy
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Madi Hatfield
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 9, 2020
BackpackingGreat!Muddy

Awesome trail! Backpacked 9/5-9/6 counter clockwise. Stayed at a campsite near Thomas Knob shelter - would highly recommend the campsites about .75 miles past the shelter (beautiful views, greater water source, bear box, wild ponies). Grayson Highlands were unreal with tons of ponies and incredible views. Very doable in 1.5 days if you’re somewhat of a speedy hiker but would also be fun to take it slow!

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Tyler Grim
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 17, 2020
Hiking

Excellent trail and easy to follow for most sections. Plan to have atleast 64 oz of water per person and to hit water sources when available. If going counterclockwise there will be less water sources in the first half than the second half. Beautiful scenery throughout the trail and bear boxes at all shelters.

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Cragun Liston
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 28, 2020
Hiking

Highly recommend this hike. My friends and I did the loop counterclockwise. We camped near the Thomas Knob shelter the first night. There are loads of campsites along the trail near the shelter and a bear box. Great place to watch sunset and wake up to. The Highlands were spectacular and it's nice to do a hike that isn't 98% green tunnel. Also saw a few of the wild horses. The slope of the trail is very even and the hike never felt strenuous (granted we were all in reasonable shape). All in all, it was a very cool hike with varied terrain and excellent views. I am definitely recommending this overnighter to my other friends.

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Jonathan Malinconico
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 31, 2019

Amazing views with amazing ponies, what more could you want?

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Cole Reichardt
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 14, 2019
HikingIcyRockyScrambleSnow

Backpacked this trail 12/11 to 12/13. Trail had a good 1-2in of snow in most spots and was absolutely beautiful. Hike from the parking lot to Mt Rogers is a lot of steep uphill, but worth the views once you get out in the open in the Grayson Highlands. Ponies were an awesome sight to see. Plenty of water sources throughout the trail even in december, longest I went without seeing water was 2-3 miles max! Stayed at Wise Shelter and stopped for lunch at Old Orchard Shelter, both awesome shelters. Trail was really well marked and great signage. Due to wet slushy conditions the trail did get washed out in some places but having the Alltrails map downloaded helped so much to make sure I was on trail. Definitely a cold one with lows around 18-20 and highs around 34. Would highly recommend, great views and an incredible vastness in sceneries and landscapes for 20 miles.

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