Mount Rogers Trail In Virginia

Here is everything you need to know about the Mount Rogers Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Virginia
  • Length: 4.5 miles.
  • Type: Hiking
  • Surface: Dirt
  • Managed By: United States Forest Service
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website:

The Mount Rogers Trail, located in southwestern Virginia, holds a significant place in the region’s history. The trail is named after Mount Rogers, the highest peak in Virginia, standing at an elevation of 5,729 feet. The history of the trail dates back to the early 20th century when the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was established as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program during the Great Depression.

In the 1930s, the CCC played a crucial role in constructing the Mount Rogers Trail. The young men enrolled in the CCC were tasked with building trails, bridges, and other infrastructure to promote outdoor recreation and conservation. They worked diligently to create a trail that would allow hikers to explore the stunning beauty of the Mount Rogers area.

Over the years, the Mount Rogers Trail has become a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. The trail offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, lush forests, and diverse wildlife. Hikers can witness the unique ecosystem of the Mount Rogers area, which includes spruce-fir forests, open meadows, and rocky outcrops.

Today, the Mount Rogers Trail continues to be maintained and preserved by various organizations and volunteers. Its historical significance as a CCC project and its natural beauty make it a cherished part of Virginia’s outdoor heritage. The trail serves as a reminder of the dedication and hard work of those who came before, ensuring that future generations can enjoy the wonders of Mount Rogers.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Grayson Highlands State Park: This is one of the main access points to the Mount Rogers Trail. The park offers parking facilities, restrooms, and camping options.

2. Massie Gap: Located within Grayson Highlands State Park, Massie Gap is a popular trailhead for the Mount Rogers Trail. It provides parking facilities and access to the trail.

3. Elk Garden: Situated along the Virginia Creeper Trail, Elk Garden serves as a trailhead for the Mount Rogers Trail. It offers parking facilities and access to the trail.

4. Whitetop Mountain: This is another access point to the Mount Rogers Trail, located near the summit of Whitetop Mountain. It provides parking facilities and access to the trail.

5. Damascus: The town of Damascus, Virginia, is a popular starting point for many hikers on the Mount Rogers Trail. It offers various amenities, including parking, accommodations, and supplies.

6. Fox Creek: Fox Creek is a small community located near the Mount Rogers Trail. It serves as a trailhead and offers parking facilities.

7. Grindstone Campground: Situated near the Mount Rogers Trail, Grindstone Campground provides parking facilities and access to the trail.

8. Scales: Scales is a historic site along the Mount Rogers Trail and serves as a trailhead. It offers parking facilities and access to the trail.

9. Old Orchard Shelter: This shelter is located along the Mount Rogers Trail and serves as a starting point for some hikers. It provides parking facilities and access to the trail.

10. Thomas Knob Shelter: Another shelter along the Mount Rogers Trail, Thomas Knob Shelter can be used as a trailhead. It offers parking facilities and access to the trail.

Transportation Available

1. Mount Rogers Taxi – Reliable taxi service for convenient transportation in the Mount Rogers area.
2. Mount Rogers Shuttle – Shuttle service offering transportation to and from various trailheads near Mount Rogers.
3. Mount Rogers Rideshare – Ridesharing service connecting hikers and travelers in the Mount Rogers region.
4. Mount Rogers Bike Rentals – Bike rental service for exploring the trails and surrounding areas of Mount Rogers.
5. Mount Rogers Bus Tours – Guided bus tours providing transportation and sightseeing opportunities around Mount Rogers.


The amenities available at the Mount Rogers Trail include:

1. Restrooms: There are restroom facilities available at the trailhead and various points along the trail.

2. Parking: There is designated parking available at the trailhead for visitors.

3. Camping Sites: The Mount Rogers Trail offers several designated camping sites along the trail. These sites may require permits or reservations, so it’s advisable to check with the local park authorities beforehand.

4. Picnic Areas: There are picnic areas available at the trailhead and some scenic spots along the trail. These areas provide a great opportunity to relax and enjoy a meal amidst nature.

5. Water Sources: There are natural water sources such as streams and creeks along the trail, allowing hikers to refill their water bottles. However, it’s always recommended to carry a water filter or purification tablets for safety.

6. Trail Markers: The trail is well-marked with signs and trail markers, making it easier for hikers to navigate and stay on the designated path.

7. Information Boards: There are information boards at the trailhead and certain points along the trail, providing details about the trail, its history, and any specific guidelines or regulations.

8. Scenic Overlooks: The Mount Rogers Trail offers breathtaking scenic overlooks, providing panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and landscapes. These spots are perfect for photography or simply enjoying the beauty of nature.

9. Wildlife Viewing: The trail is known for its diverse wildlife, including various bird species, deer, and occasionally wild ponies. Hikers may have the opportunity to observe and appreciate these animals in their natural habitat.

10. Interpretive Signs: Along the trail, there may be interpretive signs that provide information about the local flora, fauna, geology, or historical significance of the area.

It’s important to note that amenities may vary depending on the specific section or access point of the Mount Rogers Trail. It’s always recommended to check with local park authorities or visitor centers for the most up-to-date information on amenities and any specific regulations or restrictions.

Nearby Services

1. Grayson Highlands State Park – Offers camping and cabins near the trailhead, with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains.
2. Mount Rogers National Recreation Area – Provides camping options and picnic areas, perfect for a quick stop along the trail.
3. Damascus, Virginia – A small town near the trail, offering various lodging options, restaurants, and emergency services.
4. Marion, Virginia – Another nearby town with lodging, dining, and emergency services available for hikers.
5. Troutdale, Virginia – Offers lodging options and a few dining choices for hikers looking for a place to rest.
6. Chilhowie, Virginia – A town with lodging, food services, and emergency services available for hikers in need.
7. Wytheville, Virginia – Provides a range of lodging options, restaurants, and emergency services for hikers passing through the area.

Mount Rogers Trail Difficulty Notes

The Mount Rogers Trail presents a moderate level of difficulty, making it suitable for hikers with a moderate level of fitness and experience. The trail spans approximately 8.5 miles and features a gradual ascent, with some steeper sections towards the summit. Hikers will encounter rocky terrain, exposed tree roots, and occasional muddy patches, requiring careful footing and balance. The trail also includes several stream crossings, which can be challenging during periods of high water flow. However, the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, diverse flora and fauna, and the opportunity to spot wild ponies along the way make the Mount Rogers Trail a rewarding and memorable hiking experience.

Features And Attractions

1. Mount Rogers: The trail itself leads to the summit of Mount Rogers, the highest peak in Virginia at 5,729 feet. The panoramic views from the top are breathtaking.

2. Grayson Highlands State Park: This park is known for its open meadows, rocky outcrops, and wild ponies. Hiking through this area offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and unique encounters with the ponies.

3. Rhododendron Gap: Located along the trail, Rhododendron Gap is a beautiful spot where the trail passes through a dense forest of rhododendron bushes. When in bloom, the vibrant pink and purple flowers create a stunning sight.

4. Wilburn Ridge: This section of the trail offers incredible views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The rocky terrain and open meadows make it a perfect spot for a picnic or to simply take in the scenery.

5. Massie Gap: This area is a popular starting point for hikers and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains. It is also a great spot for stargazing at night due to its remote location and lack of light pollution.

6. Appalachian Trail: The Mount Rogers Trail is part of the larger Appalachian Trail, which stretches over 2,000 miles from Georgia to Maine. Hiking along this iconic trail provides opportunities to see diverse landscapes and encounter fellow hikers from all walks of life.

7. Lewis Fork Wilderness: This wilderness area is home to pristine forests, cascading waterfalls, and crystal-clear streams. Hiking through this area offers a chance to immerse oneself in the natural beauty of the region.

8. Scales: This historic site was once a bustling community and a stop along the Virginia Creeper Railroad. Today, visitors can explore the remnants of the old town and learn about its history.

9. Elk Garden: This area is known for its beautiful wildflowers, particularly in the spring and summer months. Hiking through Elk Garden provides opportunities to see a variety of colorful blooms and enjoy the scenic views.

10. Whitetop Mountain: Located near the trail, Whitetop Mountain is the second-highest peak in Virginia. Hiking to the summit offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

These are just a few of the many scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks that can be experienced along the Mount Rogers Trail.

Usage Guidelines

1. Pets are allowed on the Mount Rogers Trail but must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Camping is permitted along the trail, but campfires are only allowed in designated fire rings or stoves.
3. Leave No Trace principles should be followed, including packing out all trash and minimizing impact on the environment.
4. Hunting is prohibited along the trail during certain seasons. Check local regulations for specific dates.
5. Mountain biking is allowed on some sections of the trail, but be aware of any seasonal restrictions or closures.
6. Horses are allowed on the trail, but riders should be mindful of other trail users and yield the right of way.
7. During winter months, the trail may be covered in snow and ice, making it more challenging. Use caution and appropriate gear.
8. Permits or fees may be required for overnight camping or parking in certain areas. Check with local authorities for any specific requirements.
9. Respect private property boundaries and do not trespass on adjacent lands.
10. Stay on designated trails and avoid creating new paths to protect the natural habitat.

Seasonal Information

The Mount Rogers Trail, located in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area in Virginia, offers visitors a stunning outdoor experience throughout the year. The best times to visit this trail largely depend on personal preferences and the activities one wishes to engage in. Spring and fall are generally considered the most popular seasons due to the mild temperatures and beautiful foliage. During these times, hikers can enjoy the vibrant colors of blooming wildflowers and the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.

In spring, the trail comes alive with the sounds of birds chirping and the scent of fresh blossoms in the air. The weather is usually pleasant, making it an ideal time for hiking, birdwatching, and wildlife spotting. The trail offers a variety of difficulty levels, catering to both beginners and experienced hikers. However, it is important to note that spring can also bring occasional rain showers, so it is advisable to pack appropriate rain gear.

Fall is another fantastic time to visit the Mount Rogers Trail. The trail is transformed into a picturesque landscape as the leaves change colors, creating a stunning tapestry of reds, oranges, and yellows. The cooler temperatures make hiking more comfortable, and the crisp air adds to the overall experience. Fall is also a great time for photography enthusiasts, as the scenery provides ample opportunities for capturing breathtaking shots.

It is worth noting that the Mount Rogers Trail has seasonal closures during the winter months. The trail can become treacherous due to snow and ice, making it unsafe for hikers. It is recommended to check with the local authorities or the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area website for the most up-to-date information on trail closures and conditions. However, for those who enjoy winter activities such as cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, this can be an excellent time to explore the area’s winter wonderland.

In conclusion, the best times to visit the Mount Rogers Trail are during the spring and fall seasons when the weather is mild, and the scenery is at its most vibrant. However, it is important to be aware of the seasonal closures during winter due to potentially hazardous conditions. Regardless of the time of year, the Mount Rogers Trail offers a memorable outdoor experience for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces close to the trailhead for easy access.
2. Accessible Trailhead: A paved or firm surface leading to the trailhead, allowing wheelchair users to reach the trail easily.
3. Accessible Restrooms: Restrooms equipped with accessible features such as grab bars and wider doorways.
4. Wheelchair Accessible Trail: A trail with a smooth and level surface suitable for wheelchair users, often featuring wider paths and gentle slopes.
5. Rest Areas with Benches: Spots along the trail with benches for individuals to rest and take a break.
6. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas designed to accommodate wheelchair users, featuring accessible tables and seating.
7. Accessible Interpretive Signs: Signs along the trail with information about the surroundings, designed to be easily readable and accessible for all.
8. Accessible Water Fountains: Water fountains at regular intervals along the trail, designed to be easily accessible for wheelchair users.
9. Accessible Viewing Areas: Designated spots along the trail that offer scenic views and are accessible for wheelchair users.
10. Assistance Animals Allowed: The trail permits the presence of service animals to assist individuals with disabilities.

Safety Information

1. Prepare for changing weather conditions: The trail experiences rapid weather changes, so bring appropriate clothing and gear for rain, wind, and cold temperatures.
2. Carry plenty of water: Ensure you have an adequate supply of water to stay hydrated throughout the hike.
3. Watch out for wildlife: Be cautious of encounters with bears, snakes, and other wildlife; maintain a safe distance and do not feed them.
4. Stay on the designated trail: Stick to the marked path to avoid getting lost or damaging the fragile ecosystem.
5. Be cautious of steep and rocky sections: Some parts of the trail can be challenging, so proceed carefully to prevent accidents or injuries.
6. Inform someone about your plans: Let a friend or family member know about your hiking plans, including your expected return time.
7. Pack essential supplies: Carry a first aid kit, map, compass, flashlight, and extra food in case of emergencies.
8. Check trail conditions and closures: Before starting your hike, check for any trail closures or advisories to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
9. Hike with a buddy: It’s recommended to hike with a partner for safety and assistance in case of any unforeseen circumstances.
10. Leave no trace: Respect the environment by packing out all trash, minimizing your impact, and following Leave No Trace principles.

Conservation Notes

The Mount Rogers Trail, located in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area in Virginia, is a significant natural resource that requires conservation efforts to ensure its long-term sustainability. As a part of the larger Jefferson National Forest, the trail is managed by the U.S. Forest Service and is subject to specific conservation measures to protect its unique ecological features.

The conservation status of the Mount Rogers Trail is generally considered to be stable, thanks to the ongoing efforts of various organizations and agencies. The trail traverses diverse ecosystems, including spruce-fir forests, grassy balds, and high-elevation meadows, which are home to a variety of rare and endemic plant and animal species. To preserve these habitats, strict regulations are in place to prevent damage caused by human activities, such as camping in sensitive areas or off-trail hiking.

In addition to habitat preservation, conservation efforts on the Mount Rogers Trail also focus on maintaining water quality in the surrounding streams and rivers. The trail crosses several waterways, and measures are taken to prevent erosion and sedimentation, which can harm aquatic life. Additionally, the Forest Service works to control invasive species that can disrupt the natural balance of the ecosystem and threaten native plant and animal populations.

Overall, the conservation status of the Mount Rogers Trail is actively managed to ensure the protection of its unique natural features. Through ongoing monitoring, research, and public education, efforts are made to minimize human impact and maintain the trail’s ecological integrity for future generations to enjoy.

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