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  1. #1

    Default Hiking in SW Virginia after trail days

    I'm planning a short (3-4 day) section hike for the week of May 19th. I understand this is the week following trail days. One of my potential locations was a loop hike around the Mt. Rogers/Grayson Highlands area, but I wanted to see what the impact of Trail Days would be. Will that area be totally crowded with people from Trail Days?

  2. #2

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    there are plenty of other trails filled with campsites in the Mt Rodgers area that ARE NOT on the AT. the national geographic has a really nice map of the complete area. just remember to think outside the box, there are so many other more beautiful trails replete with great campsites that are all in or near 'the crest zone' which basically means the area you see in all the pictures above 5000 ft. (ponies, stunted fir trees, blueberry bushes, heath meadows, and the thousands of views). just remember there are so many other trails with better views/beauty besides the AT, I cant reiterate that enough.

  3. #3
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    This is the time of the year with the highest number of hikers on the AT in the Grayson/Mt Rogers area. Many of the hikers will be former thru-hikers who attended trail-days. The police and Park Ranges will be patrolling the area visiting all the shelters. They do this because of problems related to bad behavior in the past. It has been a party carry over place in the past with beer and pot parties.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by SevenPines View Post
    there are plenty of other trails filled with campsites in the Mt Rodgers area that ARE NOT on the AT. the national geographic has a really nice map of the complete area. just remember to think outside the box, there are so many other more beautiful trails replete with great campsites that are all in or near 'the crest zone' which basically means the area you see in all the pictures above 5000 ft. (ponies, stunted fir trees, blueberry bushes, heath meadows, and the thousands of views). just remember there are so many other trails with better views/beauty besides the AT, I cant reiterate that enough.
    I am totally on board with this. I really don't care if much/any of my hike is spent on the actual AT. I was just wondering about the entire area in general.

  5. #5
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    I did Atkins to Damascus the week after Trail Days expecting to get bombarded with NOBO's and there were none. A week later you should be fine.
    Pain is a by-product of a good time.

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    Did 603 south to Damascus. Highly recommend!! Shuttle from MRO hike back to Damascus. Not sure about the trail days crowds.


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    It was 40 miles


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  8. #8

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    Thanks...I'm set on doing a loop around Grayson Highlands area if I decide this is where I want to hike. Really want to avoid crowds though, so based on moldy's comment I'm leaning towards going somewhere else.

  9. #9
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    I love Grayson Highlands, many good loops. I always park at the backpackers parking lot. Massies Gap.
    One of my favorites
    Start at overnight parking lot, AT spur, north on AT, to Scales, First Peak trail to Kabel Trail, camp at Little Wilson Creek, Bear Pen to AT north to Pine a Mountain Trail. Camp along Wilburn Ridge, AT north back to AT spur trail.
    I add days to include Lewis Fork and Mount Rogers trails. May is great because some of the trails are horse trails and they usually are not "mucked up" yet.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by DugK View Post
    I love Grayson Highlands, many good loops. I always park at the backpackers parking lot. Massies Gap.
    One of my favorites
    Start at overnight parking lot, AT spur, north on AT, to Scales, First Peak trail to Kabel Trail, camp at Little Wilson Creek, Bear Pen to AT north to Pine a Mountain Trail. Camp along Wilburn Ridge, AT north back to AT spur trail.
    I add days to include Lewis Fork and Mount Rogers trails. May is great because some of the trails are horse trails and they usually are not "mucked up" yet.
    Thanks. Have you hiked there around the time of Trail Days? Does it get really crowded?

  11. #11
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    My kid (15yrs) have at tradition of backpacking around there on Memorial Day weekend. We don't camp at shelters, usually. We have camped near Old Orchard shelter, never have seen or heard any party's. But I avoid shelters like the plaque in this area. I have passed through the Wise shelter area and have seen many tents, no party. The trek I typed I usually do on Memorial Day and Labor Day, avoiding shelters. Out in the Little Wilson Wilderness I have seen a few horse riders but only a couple backpackers. Up on Wilburn Ridge there will be groups of tents/people but the area is so vast that being alone or away from the crowd is easy. The sunset and sunrises from Wilburn ridge are worth it. Thomas Knob shelter also is a gathering point I the area. I do not hesitate going to Grayson Highlands because if you want to avoid the party it is easy. I personally have never witnessed beer/pot party.

  12. #12

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    Thanks again DugK. My goal is not to simply avoid beer & pot, but to avoid people altogether, if possible.

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    Here is a Sunset and Sunrise


  14. #14
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    Damascus Trail Days will have most of the commercial/USFS campgrounds packed. You will have majority of the hiker crowd pretty much from Damascus to Pearisburg. Then a decent following back to Erwin. But there might not be a whole lot if you time it right.

    I would stay more on the side trails, Iron Mtn trail, and such.

    If you are wanting to avoid human contact as much as possible. I would recommend going over to the Boone area and do Linville Gorge or Wilson/Harper Creek area. Maybe an in/out of Rogers Ridge in TN.
    ''Tennessee Viking'
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  15. #15

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    I don't think it is possible to avoid human contact at any time in the highlands, except maybe if you go tomorrow It is a popular area for day hikers, weekend hikers and thru hikers. There are places you can go where you will not meet anyone or very few, but not on the AT and not in Grayson highlands. I would imagine it will be a little busy the week immeditately following trail days. I think I got there a full week after Trail days last year and it was reasonably quiet by then.
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