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  1. #1
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    Default Grayson Highland info needed

    My sister is planning a spring break backpacking trip somewhere on the AT in late March. She did the smokies last year, which I didn't suggest, and did fine. I recall there being a loop through the Grayson Highlands that I was going to suggest. I was wondering about the mileage and difficulty of this loop? Is it possible to pull off in a week for a novice backpacker? I would assume that Mt Rogers or Sundog would sell some sort of map of this loop.
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  2. #2

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    There's plenty of good hiking in the Grayson Highlands area. You can park at the Backpacker's parking lot at Massie Gap and wander around for a few days. As for a long-distance week-long "loop": you may be thinking of the roughly 50-mile loop starting at Damascus and taking the yellow-blazed Iron-Mountain trail north (the route of the AT until 1972) to Chestnut Flats and returning on the AT via Grayson Highlands. This is described in the ATC's Southwest Virginia guidebook (with map).

  3. #3

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    The best map of the Grayson Highlands area is called "Mount Rogers High Country and Wildernesses". I don't know of a place to buy this online, but you might phone the Mount Rogers National Recreational Area at (800) 628-7202 (they have a bookstore at their HQ south of Marion VA, which is where I bought mine), and they might sell you one by mail order.

  4. #4
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    Default

    Thanks Snakebitesurvivor, I will check it out the guide book. I hope she will have a good trip come next month.
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  5. #5

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    recommend hiking up on Wilburn Ridge to her - it has the best views IMO - the Wilburn Ridge trail parallels the AT and is somewhat more difficult to backpack especially going SOBO - if she does not want to do the whole Wilburn Ridge trail recommend doing an up and back from the south end of the trail

  6. #6

    Default Map

    Natioanl Geographic puts out a map for Mt. Rogers and you should be able to find this at Sundog Outfitters or Mt. Rogers Outfitters in Damascus. It has replace the Highcountry map mentioned in a previous comment. So far as hiking goes, Go in at Elk Garden or Massie Gap in the Grayson Highlands State Park. Don't miss the Pine Mountain Trail - Blue blazed trail that runs between Rhododendren Gap and Pine Mountain.
    "Take another road to another place,disappear without a trace..." --Jimmy Buffet

  7. #7
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    Default

    Here's a link where you can buy the Mt Rogers map on line.

    http://www.ngmapstore.com/jump.jsp?i...Cat=136&page=3
    Hokey Pokey

  8. #8

    Default

    I am planning a hike in Grayson Highlands, going west over Whitetop toward Damascus. I plan to camp up on top of Whitetop somewhere. I understand there is water just west of Elk Garden, and my old map shows water at the bottom of the switchbacks on the gravel road going up there, but can anyone time me if there is water up on top of Whitetop , or perhaps over toward Buzzard rock?

    thanks for your help.

  9. #9
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by homer_at View Post
    I am planning a hike in Grayson Highlands, going west over Whitetop toward Damascus. I plan to camp up on top of Whitetop somewhere. I understand there is water just west of Elk Garden, and my old map shows water at the bottom of the switchbacks on the gravel road going up there, but can anyone time me if there is water up on top of Whitetop , or perhaps over toward Buzzard rock?

    thanks for your help.
    just after you cross whitetop mtn. road, about 300 yards, there's a big piped spring. it flows year-round

  10. #10

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    Lone Wolf - thanks for the quick reply about the water - you saved me a lot of effort.
    homer_at

  11. #11
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    I am planning to do an AT section hike from Damascus to Fox Creek this May. I heard that camping is not allowed within the Grayson Highlands S.P. Can someone confirm if this is true? It shouldn't be a problem because the AT isn't very long through the park and there appears to be plenty of places to camp before or after the park. Also, I understand that the weather is always unpredictable but I heard May can be pretty rainy. My trip has to be completed before Memorial weekend because of work restrictions. I could pick any week in April or May for my hike but figured May would be warmer. Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated.

  12. #12
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    Default

    There is nice camping on the northern side of Elk Garden, my suggested start point. And there is a shelter on the AT within the park, and camping around it. I hiked thru the park in that section

  13. #13

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    You could easily pull a week in the Mt Rogers area by parking at the Overnight lot in Grayson Highlands and pull intricate loops all over the place.

    Or park at the NRA headquarters about 30 miles away and hike south on the AT into the Crest Zone and cavort with loops and then head back out north on the AT to your car. Or arrange a shuttle from your car at the NRA down to Va rd 603 and/or Massie Gap and stay in the crest zone and hike back to your car.

    I myself like to camp on Wilburn Ridge and do the Pine Mt loop and go into the Lewis Fork wilderness and the Wilson Creek wilderness area.

    Here are some trip pics for your interest---

    https://tipiwalter.smugmug.com/Backp...-In-Mt-Rogers/

    https://tipiwalter.smugmug.com/Backp...son-Highlands/

  14. #14
    Registered User Kaptainkriz's Avatar
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  16. #16
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    Red face

    Thank you to all who responded. Many of you have trip pictures that are amazing!
    Can't wait to go!

  17. #17
    Registered User Sheriff Cougar's Avatar
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    Default

    I bought this one at Mt. Rogers outfitter in Damascus. It is very thorough and detailed.

    http://shop.nationalgeographic.com/n...-nra-trail-map

  18. #18
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    Default

    When looking at the map - try to keep off the horse trails... they can get pretty torn up and muddy. My favorite spot for backpacking, especially with people that are new.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by RavensFan View Post
    When looking at the map - try to keep off the horse trails... they can get pretty torn up and muddy. My favorite spot for backpacking, especially with people that are new.
    Good luck with that. Most trails in the Mt Rogers area are horse trails except for the AT and the Cliffside and a few others. No loops can be done without using horse trails.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    Good luck with that. Most trails in the Mt Rogers area are horse trails except for the AT and the Cliffside and a few others. No loops can be done without using horse trails.
    Ive seen horses on the AT in Mt Rogers. Little ones.

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