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This out and again hike is likely one of the greatest within the Japanese United States and one of many premier hikes in Virginia, which is saying lots for the house of Shenandoah Nationwide Park.
The hiker begins with a scenic drive up by way of Route 362 and into Grayson Highlands State Park. You might be then subjected to unbelievable, open discipline magnificence with fixed views of the encompassing Blue Ridge Mountains. As you progress to the 5,700 ft summit, the views improve in depth and wonder, topped of by the realm surrounding Rhododendron Hole which is a becoming end result level for a number of excessive knobs the route traverses by way of.
The summit itself is like few others, that includes a dense hemlock grove that appears extra just like the state of Washington than the state of Virginia.
Alongside nearly your complete route there are probabilities for encounters with wild ponies and free vary cattle. In all, about 150 ponies roam this countryside.
$5 entry charge into Grayson Highlands State Park, $7 for non Virginians. Climate will be unpredictable and Mt Rogers is sometimes called the Mt Washington of the Southeast. Be ready for wild temperature swings and precipitation at a moments discover. GPS coordinates are helpful to achieve the parking space: 36.633297, -81.508685.
There may be water on the Thomas Knob shelter.
The hike begins on the Massie Hole car parking zone with the trailhead instantly north of the lot by way of a discipline. Since there are ponies all through a lot of the hike, you may cross by way of a number of gates (you should definitely shut them) and the primary one throughout this primary discipline and marks the start of Rhododendron Path (Massey Hole - AT Connector). This quick 0.8-mile path will be lovely when the path's namesake is in bloom.
The one complicated part of the path is on the level the place Rhododendron Path (Massey Hole - AT Connector) intersects with the AT: Mt. Rogers Appalachian Path Membership (VA) and the Virginia Highlands Connector Path. Maps present all three trails connecting on the similar location (and the free park map does not even show the VHC), they usually could, however whereas on the path it did appear to us we traversed the VHC for a couple of hundred yards earlier than hopping on the AT. There are a lot of signal posts, however they don't seem to be at all times intuitive. A GPS and the Mountain climbing Challenge cell app is extraordinarily helpful. The vital factor is to search out your technique to the AT heading southbound. The world could be very open and straightforward to identify all the paths, so simply ensure you might be on the fitting one.
Proceed on the AT and about 0.9 miles later, bear left onto the Wilburn Ridge Path. This quick path comprises a really enjoyable rock scramble the affords a number of the greatest views on the hike. (You may merely skip this part and proceed on the AT if scrambling is not to your liking). It's strongly really useful to at the least try this path; it's nicely price your time and sweat.
Rhodendron Hole follows about 1 mile after the Wilburn Ridge Path rejoins the AT. Right here you may climb Pinnacle Rock for expansive 360-degree views of your complete space. This can be a must-see and a fantastic place for a break. Maintain on to your hat although; with no timber to dam the breeze it may be very windy.
Rested, proceed on the AT for an additional 1.5 miles, passing the Thomas Knob Shelter (pretty new and huge), getting into the Lewis Fork Wilderness, and choosing up the Mount Rogers Summit Path, bearing proper. Regardless of the myriad of views alongside the best way, the spotlight of this hike could be the summit itself. There may be completely no view from the highest, however the serenity of this dense grove (hemlock and others) can't be understated. It appears to be like eerily just like photos of the Pacific Northwest with moss rising on nearly each wooded floor, lush ferns, and damp trails with uncovered root buildings. Magnificent.
Retrace your steps from this level, bypassing Wilburn Ridge Path and sticking with the AT: Mt. Rogers Appalachian Path Membership (VA) . In contrast to most different out-and-back hikes, this open expanse affords a unique feeling on the best way down than it did on the best way up.
All kinds as you climb to the summit - rhododendron, open grassland, and spruce - fir forest. There are wild ponies and free vary cattle as nicely. Many hawks too.
Path passes by way of Grayson Highlands State Park, the Mt Rogers Leisure Space, and the Lewis Fork Wilderness.
The summit has been altering over the previous a long time. With the woody adelgid insect destroying hemlock groves up and down the east coast, Mt Rogers has been hit notably onerous. Native hikers have observed distinct adjustments within the forest cover, with the thinning of the tree needles leading to a drier forest flooring and a altering ecology.
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