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  1. #1

    Default Looking for a Grayson Highlands/Mt Rogers hike for scouts

    Is there anyone that can recommend a hike for in the Grayson Highlands/Mt Rogers area for scouts aged 14-16 for a weekend trip? Either a good route description or map would be very much appreciated.

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    Va. 600/Elk garden north to Va. 603/Fox Creek. 17 miles

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    Va. 600/Elk garden north to Va. 603/Fox Creek. 17 miles
    National Geographic map #786 for the Mount Rogers Nat. Rec. area is the map to have

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    Registered User unl1988's Avatar
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    Elk Garden into Damascus - - about 25 miles. There are a couple of good, long uphills and a nice down into Damascus. Pretty easy to support with transportation as well. Myself, a former Scoutmaster and his 16 year old son did the hike a month ago. There is pretty easy access to Elks Garden from HWY 58, I believe.

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    IMO 25 miles is too far for a weekend Scout trip. If you're like us we travel on Fri. evening and by the time we get to the trail it's dark so we just set up camp. Sat. we hike most of the day but it takes time for them get up and do breakfast so it a late start, maybe about 9 AM. Hike until dinner time, maybe about 5 PM, then set up camp. Sun. we hike a few hours then hit the road for the trip home. Total time hiking about 10 hour at no more than 1.5 miles per hour equals about 15 miles. Much more than that and it becomes too much for the younger guys.

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    Not 100% sure of Grayson's winter camping policies. Camp at Grayson's campground or Bear Tree campground for Friday night. Access to the AT from either is a short walk.

    If you are doing 2 groups, then probably you could drop one group at Bear Tree Gap or Creek Junction (there are some campsites on the Creeper & AT near the trailhead) and the other at Graysons. Whitetop would be your only climb.

    But for loop possibilities. Look at the Mt Rogers and National Geo maps for around Graysons.
    ''Tennessee Viking'
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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Don H View Post
    IMO 25 miles is too far for a weekend Scout trip. If you're like us we travel on Fri. evening and by the time we get to the trail it's dark so we just set up camp. Sat. we hike most of the day but it takes time for them get up and do breakfast so it a late start, maybe about 9 AM. Hike until dinner time, maybe about 5 PM, then set up camp. Sun. we hike a few hours then hit the road for the trip home. Total time hiking about 10 hour at no more than 1.5 miles per hour equals about 15 miles. Much more than that and it becomes too much for the younger guys.
    Exactly. So far everyone has some good ideas. I went by Outdoor Provisions Company and got the map Lone Wolf suggested. I'll scope out some possible loop hikes. Where are the open balds and ponies everyone mentions?

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    Take a look at the Mount Rogers High Country insert on the map. I think the open bald areas are shown as a light tan color. I'd recommend camping anywhere in the open area between Thomas Knob shelter and Rhododendron Gap. The overnight parking area in Grayson Highland State Park would be a good start/finish point. You will see ponies....

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    Registered User Ol Mole's Avatar
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    Many of the Scout troops start at Massie Gap and hike to Thomas Knob shelter. The ponies and the balds are on the way.
    Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee. Gen 13:17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Walking Dead View Post
    Exactly. So far everyone has some good ideas. I went by Outdoor Provisions Company and got the map Lone Wolf suggested. I'll scope out some possible loop hikes. Where are the open balds and ponies everyone mentions?
    my suggestion is what you want to do. trust me. i live here

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    Lone Wolf is right. What he laid out for you would be the most scenic and most logistically feasible. Includes balds, ponies and Montana like terrain.
    I love the smell of esbit in the morning!

  12. #12

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    We did the following with a scout group some years ago (ages 12-16):

    1. Friday PM - Fox Creek Trailhead, VA 603 to Old Orchard Shelter (1.7 mi)
    2. Saturday - follow AT to Rhodadendron Gap (10.2 mi)
    3. Sunday - return via Pine Mountain to VA 603 (5.5 mi)

    We left early enough Friday to get to Old Orchard in daylight. Good open field camping and water at both locations.

  13. #13
    Registered User JoshStover's Avatar
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    I would go with what Lone Wolf suggested...

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ol Mole View Post
    Many of the Scout troops start at Massie Gap and hike to Thomas Knob shelter. The ponies and the balds are on the way.
    This is what I would do the first day. Safe parking at Massie's Gap at Grayson Highlands State Park. The next day I would start off heading back (north) on the AT and pick up the Pine Mtn Trail (old at) which is very easy and then head south when you hit the AT again and making this a loop hike. Get the National Geo map.
    Hokey Pokey

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    Registered User rpenczek's Avatar
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    This is from another post in the general thread (from today).

    I did a similar trip with my Boy Scouts in the summer of 2008.

    While we did not use a commercial shuttle service (a local BSA Troop shuttled us), we left our cars in Damascus and began our hike north at the USFS Hurrican Campgroud.

    From Hurricane Campground we hiked to VA 603 Fox Creek. There is a creek just as you cross the road (good water) and a horse camp down stream about 1/4 mile. We did not camp at the horse camp (it was hot). There are good campsites just in the woods accross 603 (south bound). There was even a pic nic table. (about 7 miles)

    From VA 603/Fox Creek we hiked to a good camping area just trail North of the Wise Shelter. Big Wilson Creek runs here (good water) and there are tons of good camp spots. Keep in mind, this is right on the border of Grayson Highlands State Park, so you need to camp north of the border of the park. (about 7.5 miles)

    From Wise Shelter to Elk Garden. I never found water at Elk Garden, but Lone Wolf said there was water here. We had a food drop here so it was not an issue. There is also a spring at Deep Gap (two miles before Elk Garden). We camped in the woods just off the parking lot from Elk Garden (tons of spots). Another option would be to go two more miles (up hill) to Whitetop Mt, there is a good water source and camp spots neer by. (about 12 miles).

    From Elk Garden to Lost Mountain Shelter. Spring near shelter. (about 8 miles)

    From Lost Mountain Shelter to Saunders Shelter. Spring near shelter (about 6.5 miles)

    From Saunders Shelter to Damascus. (about 13 miles)

    You may be able to make bigger miles, this was my Scouts first attempt at longer than a weekend trip, so we kept it simple. If I were on my own, I would have started a bit furthrer North and would have gone to Damascus rather than jumping off at Bear Tree.

    Lone Wolf was a great help in planning this hike (via email, I am in Indiana). I used a combination of LW's area knowledge and at ATC map to plan. Key for me (with Scouts) was water at each camp site and the ability to do a food drop mid way (cut downt he weight each had to carry).

    The strech from Old Orchard Shelter (trail South from Fox Creek) to Lost Mountian Shelter (total of about 23 miles) was some really cool hiking. We went to the the Roan Highlands this year and the boys who were repeats were asking why we didn't go back to Grayson.

    Have a great Hike

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    Registered User rpenczek's Avatar
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    Lone Wolf is right on the money, the section he recommended is the best of the entire section I note.

    The Scout Troop that shuttled us was really helpful. We met them on Friday evening, gave them a second set of keys and they picked up our cars at the beginning trail head. Then they dropped our cars at the ending trail head the day we ended our hike. We made a donation to their Troop (the same amount we would have paid a shuttle service).

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