The West End of the Mount Rogers NRA includes the famous Virginia Creeper Trail, outstanding trout fishing in Whitetop Laurel, and picturesque Beartree Lake. The NRA�s largest campground, Beartree, is a great family campground and close to all west end activities. Damascus, the friendliest town on the Appalachian Trail, is a trail hub as four major trails go through the town: Virginia Creeper, Appalachian Trail, Iron Mountain, and Daniel Boone Heritage Trail.
Are you looking for solitude? The family campgrounds at Comers Rock and Raven Cliff are lightly used and have several nice trails nearby. The Comers Rock Overlook has outstanding views and the Raven Cliff Furnace Trail takes you to a fascinating iron ore furnace from the early 1800�s. Looking for something more developed? Two rental cabins with outstanding views are located on the East End. The East End also has several horse trails and horse camps for the equestrian. Hussy Mountain and Collins Cove Horse Camps provide camping areas close to the famous Virginia Highlands Horse Trail.
The heart of the NRA, the high country contains over 25,000 acres of the highest lands in Virginia. The Mount Rogers NRA manages approximately 20,000 acres of the high country and 5,000 acres are managed by Grayson Highlands State Park. The high country consists of the following areas:
LEWIS FORK WILDERNESS & LITTLE WILSON CREEK WILDERNESS
Combined, these two federally designated wildernesses total about 10,000 acres of primitive backcountry. These two areas are forested in northern hardwoods with red spruce and Fraser Fir at the highest elevations.
The open areas on Brier Ridge, Cabin Ridge, Wilburn Ridge, Stone Mountain, and Pine Mountain are commonly called the Crest Zone and total about 2,000 acres. Views are spectacular, with rocky ridges and grassy areas. The area was once heavily forested, but over logging by private companies during the early 1900�s, and wildfire created the balds. Grazing by domestic livestock kept them open. The USDA Forest Service acquired the property during the 1960�s. Today the balds are kept open through prescribed burning and regulated cattle grazing by private farmers who lease grazing rights. Ponies- Two herds of free-roaming ponies make their home in the high country. A private association manages them. One herd is in Grayson Highlands State Park, and the other lives within the Crest Zone of the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. Enjoy the ponies, but do not feed them or harass them. In the fall, some of the ponies are auctioned at the Grayson Highlands State Park Fall Festival to manage the population.
There are over 400 miles of designated trails on the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. Trails range from primitive single-track to old logging roads and railroad grades. Some are for foot only, others allow horse and/or bicycle use. Plan your trip carefully if you are looking for solitude. Trails in the high country as well as the Virginia Creeper and Appalachian Trail are popular destinations, particularly on weekends. Please be sure you use only those trails open to your particular type of travel. Please note that trails within wildernesses are always primitive with few or no signs or blazes and may be difficult to follow in places. Before heading into wilderness, you should be competent with both map and compass. Any type of motorized or wheeled vehicles (including bicycles and any type of wheeled cart) is prohibited in wilderness, but horses are allowed on designated trails.
|26 Feb 8:15 pm EST