View Full Version : Help Regarding Starting Near the Scales, Grayson Highlands

Dan Roper
05-22-2018, 10:02
I want to pick up the AT at Wise Shelter, just south of the Scales, in Grayson Highlands State Park.
This will be a two- or three-night trip on the AT, northbound.

Should I park at the State Park and hike down one of the park trails to Wise Shelter? Is it permissible (and safe) to leave a vehicle in the state park parking lot?

Or is it preferable or necessary to park in Damascus and arrange for a shuttle?

05-22-2018, 10:07
The state park has a backpacking lot that you can park at.
When you enter the park, you must pass a ranger entrance hut. You tell them your details and theyíll give you a pass to hang from the mirror.

With that said, I think many like to hike to their car so they donít have to wait for a shuttle at the end.

Tipi Walter
05-22-2018, 12:00
They call that lot the Overnight parking lot. I believe they charge something like $4 per weekday night and more for the weekend. It's close to Massie Gap and Wilburn Ridge and above Wise shelter---and there's a connecting trail from the lot to the AT---Rhododendron Loop trail?

If you want to park for free you could leave your car at the NRA headquarters many miles north and shuttle down to Massie Gap etc and then hike your way north to your car on the AT.

05-22-2018, 15:42
Park in the state park. While you can technically drive to Scales, it's not a great "road" and the state park backpacker lot is actually closer to Wise Shelter anyway. It takes us an hour of hiking to get from the backpacker lot to Wise Shelter, just walk up the blue blaze from the parking area and turn right (north) on the AT at the top.

If you want to get even closer, there is a parking area near the campground in the state park, and an old road that is now a trail goes out to the area near Wise Shelter. Easy walk.

Yes, it costs a few bucks to park, but it's safe and convenient.

05-22-2018, 16:02
From the state park website.
I like to take the Rhododendron trail up to the AT then on to the Wise shelter. There are other ways but itís a nice scenic start.

Good luck - beautiful area.



Dan Roper
05-22-2018, 17:50
Thanks, folks. That's just the information I needed.

P.S. We caught a ride in a pickup truck down that gnarly road from the Scales last July - wow, what a beast of a road!

05-31-2018, 21:16
I have North Carolina tags and they charge me $12.00 to park at the overnight backpacking lot in the Grayson Highlands state park.

06-01-2018, 18:17
Parked there twice recently for AT hikes both north and south. Very safe and secure.