Hike Rhododendron Trail

Virginia Grayson Highlands State Park Massies Gap Parking Area

Added by Jess Fischer

With endless views in all directions this short hike is perfect for a little late afternoon exploring in the heart of the Grayson Highlands.

In order to go when the Rhododendron are blooming you'll need to aim for the first three weeks of June. 

Starting from the Massies Gap parking area in the Grayson Highlands State Park, follow the trail through the field and towards the base of a large hill. You will see a fence that runs along the base of the hill with a gate right in the center. Go through this gate and follow the winding trail up the hill. Be sure to stop every once and awhile to enjoy the amazing views! Once you get to the top of the hill the Highlands are yours to explore. To your right you will see a massive outcropping of rocks you can climb onto, or, you could take a left and continue to follow the Appalachian Trail up to Massies Gap. During the evenings hundreds of bunnies come out to run around and ponies are often seen grazing along the hillsides. After you're done, throw on a headlamp or use the last remaining bits of light to make your way back down the hillside and to the parking lot. 

Pack List

  • Backpack
  • Food
  • Water
  • Headlamp
  • Jacket/extra layer (the Highlands get chilly at night)
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More



Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:




Trail Type:



2.5 Miles

Elev. Gain:

1020 Feet



Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Picnic Area

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

25 days ago

A spiritual experience

I went up on a misty, foggy morning and thoroughly enjoyed the vibe. I had my heart set on seeing the wild ponies so I watched closely as I hiked to ensure that I wouldn't miss them. The hike was very manageable and presented some cool terrain. There are plenty of rocks to play on if you enjoy bouldering as I do. Before long I spotted the ponies and drew near enough to touch them. As a side note, the parks service advises against touching them. They don't want the "wild pony" to become a "tame pony"! To be this close to those majestic creatures in a misty setting seemed like a spiritual moment to me. Expect sudden weather changes. It cleared up and was sunny and when I reached the rocky summit the rains poured down. This is a nice weekend excursion. Take a backpack with tent and bag and you'll have a blast.

25 days ago

27 days ago

Great Intro Hike to Grayson Highlands

The Rhododendron Trail is an excellent day hike at Grayson Highlands: Relatively level incline, well marked trail, and amazing views make it an awesome hike. If you're looking for an easy hour long day hike, this is a great choice.

27 days ago

Added by Jess Fischer

A little adventurer with a big love for the great outdoors.

More Adventures Nearby

Hike the Preddy Creek Loop

Virginia / Preddy Creek Trail

My husband is a runner and I am not. I hate to run and the entire time I am running I am exhausting myself thinking how much I hate running. However, I love hiking.

Sam Darling
2 Saves

Hike the Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Loop

Virginia / Red Rock Wilderness Overlook

Red Rock Wilderness Overlook provides 60+ acres of trails to explore right in Leesburg, Virginia.

Jenn Gonzalez
1 Saves

Hike the Lake Trail Loop at Hungry Mother SP

Virginia / Hungry Mother SP Parking Area (Lake Dr)

Hungry Mother State Park is located in the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains in Southern Virginia.

Jenn Gonzalez
1 Saves