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The Mount Rogers Recreation area is filled with dozens of miles of trails, many are not on maps. We like to enter the Mount Rogers Area from Grayson Highlands State Park at Massie Gap. From there it is a maze of trails that can only be navigated with a map. Compass skills are very helpful if you are not familiar with the area. There are a lot of hikers that frequent this area, so if you lose your sense of direction, you can ask them. Navigation is not difficult here but a map is an absolute must. This is a series of "wide open" balds and after a few trips here, bushwhacking can be a great experience. Several loops can be made here, ranging from an overnighter to a hike of several days. It would be better to consult with your map to decide which is best for you.

Mountain Biking

 The Virginia Creeper Trail is 33.4 miles long and is for non-motorized use only. It stretches from Abingdon, VA to the Virginia-North Carolina line. The trail began as a Native American footpath, then pioneers including Daniel Boone used the trail. In 1907, a railroad was constructed for hauling lumber, iron ore, supplies and passengers. The Virginia Creeper ran its last train on March 31, 1977. There exist today over 100 trestles and bridges, all accessible by foot or bicycle. The Virginia Creeper Trail is considered one of the most beautiful trails on the continent.

  There are a variety of bicycle shops in Damascus that will rent bicycles and provide shuttle services. The going rate is 25 dollars a day for a rental and a shuttle. This unique trail follows a route that takes you through hollows, past gorgeous views and across old rail-road trestles. Even if you have a bicycle, the shuttle service is well worth it. Pedaling in one direction allows you to take in more views and pedal in a downhill direction. We don't have any online bicycle posted here because we don't know enough about them to endorse them, however the competition is stiff so the consumer wins. The trail is accessible from Rt.58 and Damascus, Va.


No primitive camping or backpack camping is allowed inside of  the state park. Just outside of the park, approximately a 2 mile hike, is national forest land. Camping is allowed anywhere and no permits are required. The best campsites are in the wide open spaces of the balds. Depending upon where you pitch your tent, the views of sunrise and sunset are stunning. Even on the most crowded weekends it is possible to find a great spot with "Wide open" views. 

Beartree Campground  


RESERVATIONS: 1-800-280-2267
At an elevation of 3,400 ft. this US Forest Service campground is composed of two loops.  Most sites are secluded and private; some are nestled in Rhododendron groves.
The Appalachian and Virginia Creeper Trails are nearby. 
 Open : Open April 15 through December 1. Reduced services provided between November 1 and December 1. There are 73 sites here and 2 bath-houses with hot showers. There is also the 14 acre Beartree Lake complete with a 300 foot sandy beach .  

 HIKING trails accessible from the campground include:  

Shaw Gap Trail - 1 mile   Beaver Flats Trail - 0.5 miles   Straight Branch Trail - 1.5 miles   Lum Trail - 1 mile   Beartree Lake Trail (wheelchair friendly) - 1 mile   Appalachian Trail-2200 miles   

DIRECTIONS: From Damascus, VA, take US Rt. 58 east for 7.6 miles to campground sign (Beartree Gap Trail Recreation Area). Turn left and go 0.8 miles to the entrance. Proceed through the entrance and go 3.9 miles to the camping area.

Grayson Highlands

Hot showers, in season,  can be found here. There are two campgrounds and they both fill up quickly on the weekends. The family campground has a store, in season, showers and lots of frolicking children. The horse campground, also with hot showers , is a much more friendly environment. The equestrian crowd is very friendly and far more polite that the overcrowded family campground. It is also closer to Massie Gap, the trail head for a variety of hikes. The campsites here are fewer but all are in a wooded area.  Reservations are accepted and can be made by calling the park office at  (540) 579-7092 or by calling 1-800-933-PARK.


Grayson Highlands 

Grayson Highlands State Park, 829 Grayson Highland Lane, Mouth of Wilson, Va. 24363, phone (540) 579-7092

 On U.S. 58 is between Independence and Damascus, Virginia

From I-77, take the Elkin Exit 83 to U.S. 21. (In North Carolina) Travel north on U.S. 21, 25 miles to Sparta, N.C.. Just past Sparta city limits, turn right on Rt. 93. Follow 93 until it crosses the Virginia border and dead-ends at Rt. 58. Turn left on 58 and follow 58 approximately 18 miles to the entrance to Grayson Highlands State Park. 

From I-81 At Exit 19 near Abingdon, Va.; turn east on Route 58. Travel 33 miles on U.S. 58, through the hiker friendly  community of Damascus, to the entrance of Grayson Highlands State Park. 

It is about a 2 1/2 hour drive from Charlotte. Map your route there  with  Map-quest>>>

For reservations or brochures, call 1-800-933-PARK. For general information, call (804) 786-1712, 

Email: pco@dcr.state.va.us.

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