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.
- Jacket/extra layer (the Highlands get chilly at night)
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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.
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.
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