Dale Stenseth's Virginia High Point Hike

Highpoint 38. Virginia, Mt. Rogers, 4730 ft, 10/13/03

Used Wingers' book for guidance. Zumwalt's book contains a topographical map, but describes a different route, and is not useful if you are hiking from the Grayson Highlands State Park.

In 2003, the parking fee is $2 on weekdays and $3 on weekend days.
There are rest rooms at the parking area. There is also a solar powered pit toilet near the Thomas Knob Shelter about 3/4 of the way to the summit.
While most of the hike is in the open, the last 1000 yards up Mount Rogers are in deep, wet forest. That is, it was wet the day I was there.
Virginia is a nice 8 mile hike, probably 3rd hardest east of the Mississippi, but still a breeze compared to Maine or New York.

There is a map in the park brochure. Because most of the trail is outside the park, it is inadequate for hiking to the summit. I had maps printed from the internet and a topographical map in my GPS, but I found the blaze marks very easy to follow.
There are two alternative routes from the Massie Gap parking area-trail head in Grayson Highlands State Park.
1. Rhododendron Trail-Appalachian Trail-Rhododendron Trail to the top, (Blue Blaze-White-Blue) or
2. Rhododendron Trail-Appalachian Trail-Rhododendron Trail(Wilburn Ridge)-Appalachian Trail-Rhododendron Trail (Blue-W-B-W-B) to the top.
I took the first route up and the second route down. You should have hiking boots for route 2, which is for people who also want to bag the peaks on the Wilburn Ridge.
It is interesting that horses are not allowed on the Appalachian Trail, but you will share the trail with cattle and wild ponies. Be careful where you step.

Station benchmark. Marker
Notice the fine green patina on Reference Marker 1, from the constant wetness. There are 2 additional reference markers nearby. I was able to find the stone outcropping where Reference Marker 2 is located, but chose not to scrape off all the moss to find it. Even the USGS recovery people have not been able to recover Reference Marker 3, because of all the vegetation. Marker 2