Mount Rogers National Recreational Area
Mount Rogers National Recreational Area is part of the Jefferson National Forest in southwestern Virginia. The Mount Rogers National Recreational Area encompasses all of the Jefferson National Forest south of Interstate 81. The area include the Lewis Fork Wilderness and the Little Wilson Creek Wilderness with the Grayson Highlands State Park connected on the south side of the Recreational Area.
The area is home to Virginia's two highest mountain peaks, Mt. Rogers (5,729 ft.) and Whitetop Mountain (5,520 ft.) and many famous trails including the Appalachian Trail and the Virginia Highlands Horse Trail. The area is higher than all of the surrounding areas and because the massif is so large it can create its own weather. Be prepared for sudden changes in the weather. During the main season, not winter, the average highs are 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit and average lows are 30-59 degrees Fahrenheit. During the early spring and late fall temperatures can drop to as low as 15-25 degrees Fahrenheit.
This area is so large and made up of different parks and wilderness areas, that I will break it down into four sections; Grayson Highlands State Park, Lewis Fork Wilderness, Little Wilson Creek Wilderness, and the areas of the Mount Rogers National Recreational Area that are outside the designated Parks and Wildernesses.
To see a 3-D interactive map of the Mt. Rogers Recreational Area, please load the Master Google File on the left side.
Photos taken by: Amanda Tsiukes
Page created by: John Ostrander
Directions to Grayson Highlands from Boone:
Take US-421 S towards Deep Gap, turn left onto US-221 N towards West Jefferson (12.4 mi.), turn left onto NC-194 N towards Warrensville (7.0 mi.), turn right to stay on NC-194 N towards Lansing (3.7 mi.), turn right to stay on NC-194 N (4.8 mi.), turn left onto Helton Creek Rd. (3.5 mi.), Enter Virginia, turn right onto US-58 E (3.4 mi.), turn left onto Grayson Highlands Parkway, you will pass the Gatehouse in 3/4 of a mile.
Year Around (Facilities are open seasonal)
$3.00 Parking Fee
$20.00 - $27.00 Fee at Grayson Campground
Camping Permits are required and can be filled out at the Gatehouse to Grayson Highlands.
3,100 feet - 5,729 feet
Allowed, must be on leash
Other Trails not Listed
Grayson Highlands State Park
Grayson Highlands is a State Park in southwestern Virginia. Grayson Highlands is a great starting point for exploring the Mt. Rogers area offering overnight parking areas for backpacking, camping areas with electric and water hookups, stables and parking for horse trailers. There is also a visitor center with information on Mt. Rogers. This park is open year around though four-wheel drive is recommended in the winter.
Grayson Highlands elevation is between 3,698 - 5,089 feet. There are many trails that are in Grayosn Highlands including the Appalachian Trail. You can also access all of the other areas of Mt Rogers from Grayson Highlands. If you are interested in camping at a campground and exploring the Mount Rogers area this is the place to start.
Big Wilson Creek Trail
Cabin Ridge Trail
Elk Garden Trail
Fairwood Valley Trail
First Peak Trail
Grassy Branch Trail
Hightree Rock Trail
Helton Creek Trail
Helton Creek Spur Trail
Iron Mountain Trail
Jackie Street Trail
Listening Rock Trail
Little Wilson Creek Trail
Lewis Fork Trail
Lewis Fork Spur Trail
Lewis Fork Tie Trail
Mount Rogers Trail
Mount Rogers Spur Trail
Mount Rogers Tie Trail
Old Orchard Trail
Orchard Spur Trail
Pine Mountain Trail
Rock House Ridge Trail
Seed Orchard Road Trail
Stampers Branch Trail
Sugar Maple Trail
Third Peak Trail
Twin Pinnacles Trail
Virginia Highlands Horse Trail
Upchurch Road Trail
Whispering Waters Trail
Whitetop Mountain Trail
Lewis Fork Wilderness
Lewis Fork Wilderness is located in the northwest part of the Mount Rogers National Recreational Area. It includes Mount Rogers itself and seven miles of the Appalachian Trail. This area includes the highest points of the Mount Rogers National Recreational Area so you will experience dense spruce and fir tree habitats. Elevations of this area range from 3,300 feet - 5,729 feet.
There are many trails in this wilderness area including the Appalachian Trail, the Crest Trail, and the Mount Rogers National Recreational Trail. There are two hiking trails and a horse trail that start at the base of the Mount Rogers massif and climb to the top ridge line. In total there are 30 miles of hiking trails in the wilderness area.
Little Wilson Creek Wilderness
The Little Wilson Creek Wilderness is located in the southeastern part of the Mount Rogers National Recreational Area. Its western border is abut to Grayson Highlands. Elevations range from 3,220 feet - 4,857 feet. Because this area is not as high as some other areas in the Mount Rogers National Recreational Area the vegetation is primarly hardwoods with sugar maple, beech, yellow birch, and some stands of red spruce and fraser fir.
The wilderness area includes both hiking and horseback trails. The Appalachian Trail is only in the wilderness area for 0.5 miles. However there are 19 miles of other trails in this wilderness. You can acsess these trails from the Grayson Highlands campground or you can use the overnight parking there to backpack in the area.
Mount Rogers National Recreational Area General Area
The rest of the Mount Rogers National Recreational Area is not included in the prior three areas. There are a lot of trails in this general area including long streches of the Appalachian Trail and the Virginia Highlands Horse Trail. This general area includes Whitetop Mountain (5,540 ft.) and Wilburn Ridge. It also includes most of the ridge lines in the Mount Rogers National Recreational Area.
There are many grazing grounds for wild ponies in the general area as well as long horn cattle. They will move the ponies in and out of these areas. If you are planning on backpacking, you will most likely be camping in the general area so be aware of the ponies because they will try to invade your tents.
High Country Trails
You can use this interactive map to find directions to the trail in the park you are looking to hike. This map is interactive and you can move around and zoom in or out.
For Driving Directions: Please click on the "hiker man" and then click on the arrow in the bottom right corner. You will then be redirected to Google Maps where you can type in your home address.