Amazing panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains rolling in the distance always impress the guests of Grayson Highlands State Park. Not to mention the scenic waterfalls and wild ponies that roam the area. The trails here bring a lot of bang for your buck. They are mostly rated as moderate and often feature balds, which create a clear view of the surrounding mountains with the added bonus of nearby ponies. They are well maintained and approachable for novice backpackers in decent physical condition. Many of them are made of crushed gravel and one two-mile stretch is even part of the Appalachian Trail (AT). The fall foliage is stunning in the Virginia Highlands; because of this, and the comfortable weather, fall is a great time to hike here.
The park is located near the two highest peaks in Virginia, Mount Rogers and Whitetop Mountain. Mount Rogers is the highest mountain in Virginia. Get there by taking the Rhododendron Trail to the Appalachian Trail, which leads to the summit. This is a 4 mile out and back hike. Much of this trail is open with little tree cover and can get very hot and sunny in the summer months. Both ponies and AT through- hikers are often found on this route. The ponies were introduced to the park in 1974 and now graze in the balds, unfazed by hikers passing by, but keep in mind they can bite or kick. Please do not get too close or offer them food. AT hikers on the other hand might appreciate a granola bar in exchange for a tale of the trail.
Also a popular site for climbing and horse-back riding, Grayson Highlands boasts over 700 climbing routes, many bouldering opportunities, and over nine miles of bridle trails, which include access to overnight stables.
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