Photographing feral ponies and catawba rhododendron sound interesting? How about bagging some awesome views of the Commonwealth? Well, you can do it all here, at Grayson Highlands State Park/Mt Rogers National Rec Area.
The Grayson Highlands offers some of the best mountain scenery in the state of Virginia, due to the stunted growth of the vegetation. No other area in the Commonwealth offers the views that can be found here. Hopefully, we will get lucky, and get close to the feral ponies as well. For those attending, we will park in Massie's Gap parking area, walk up the spur trail[masked]miles) leading to the Appalachian Trail. The spur trail will place you inside the "fence" perimeter and this is a great area to get close to the herd. Some of you may want to walk further up the AT and view more of the scenery, the views only get better the further up the AT, you go.
The catawba rhododendron (in this area) usually are in bloom between the 1st and 3rd week of June
Please bring plenty of water, sturdy shoes/boots (the further up the Appalachian Trail you walk, the rockier it gets), and snack(s). Also, the park charges $3-5 per vehicle to gain access to the park.
Directions for those who live south of Roanoke and wish to meet us at GHSP. Interstate 81 south to Exit 45. Take Exit 45, make a left onto Rt 16. Travel approx 33 miles, then make a right on to US Rt 58 West. After making a right onto US 58, travel approx 7.5 miles and the park will be on your right. After entering the park, drive to Massies Gap Parking (several parking spaces along the main road within the park). Those of us who leave from Roanoke, should be there around 10-10:30am, For those who wish to meet at the Roanoke/Salem Park-n-Ride, we can do so at 7am and perhaps meet those who wish to use the Christiansburg Park-n-Ride around 7:30am
NOTE: In the interest of SAFETY; Due to the elevation of the area (4700+ feet) (this area has the highest elevation(s) in the state), and being on an exposed ridge, I will check the weather Thursday evening and make a final determination by 9pm, as to whether or not this trip is a go. The weather, brutal at times, in this area, easily changes from day to day and can be difficult to predict even at a week out. My goal is for all of us to have a good time. Look forward to see each and everyone of you