|Name||Appalchian Trail - Elk Garden to Mount Rogers to Massie Gap|
|Summary||Beautiful section of the Appalchian Trail though Mount Rogers National Recreational Area|
|Type||Backpacking Hike - Car Shuttle|
|Distance (Total)||8.5 miles / 13.7 km|
|Elevation Gain||1,329 feet / 405 meters|
|Minimum Elevation||4,400 feet / 1,341 meters|
|Maximum Elevation||5,729 feet / 1,746 meters|
|Hiking Season||- All Year Long|
|Things To See||- Cliffs - Creeks - Forest - Meadows - Mountain Views - Rock Formations - Scenic Views - Streams - Summit - Wildflowers - Woods|
|Rating||★ ★ ★ ★ ★|
|Nearby Town||Damascus, Virginia, United States|
|Trail Map||The National Geographic Online Store - 786 Mount Rogers NRA Trail Map|
This section of the Appalachian Trail takes you from Elk Garden through Mount Rogers (The highest point in Virginia at 5,729 ft) and Rhododendron Gap and ends at Massie Gap in Grayson Highlands State Park.
This section of the trail offers sweeping views from meadows and overlooks, plenty of water access and if hiked in mid-June the mountains are covered of blooming pink rhododendrons at Rhododendron Gap.
Day 1 (6 miles):
Start the hike at Elk Garden. Cross the road from the parking lot and pass through the gate. Follow the white blazed Appalachian Trail Northbound (Do not confuse with the Virginia Horse Trail that runs nearby and parallel to the AT). The views open up right away before entering the woods. In about 3 miles you will reach the next overlook on an open meadow. At about 4 miles you will reach the blue blazed Mount Rogers spur trail. Take this 1/4 of a mile trail to the summit and back. Then continue Northbound on the Appalachian Tail, pass Thomas Knob Shelter, and after a mile past the shelter, start looking for campsites before reaching Rhododendron Gap. There are plenty of sites and this can become a crowded area at times. Water access is nearby. Enjoy the sunset/sunrise on the rock outcrop at Rhododendron Gap.
Day 2 (2 miles):
Follow the Appalachian Trail Northbound to Massie Gap in about 1.5 miles. Then follow signs to Grayson Highlands State Park. This park of the trail is on constant meadows offering sweeping views of the area.
This is a shuttle hike. You will need to leave a car at Grayson Highlands State Park and one at Elk Garden.
Directions to Elk Garden:
Take I-81 to Exit 35. Go southbound on VA 762 to VA 600. Follow VA 600 to Elk Garden Gap.
Directions to Grayson Highlands State Park:
From Elk Garden take VA 600 South to US 58. Take a left (West) onto US 58. Drive about 7 miles to Grayson Highlands State Park. Park at the Massie Gap Backpackers Parking Lot parking lot.
|Latitude||36.6464524393 degrees / 36° 38.787' / 36° 38' 47.23"|
|Longitude||-81.5831744671 degrees / -81° 34.990' / -81° 34' 59.43"|