Sunday, September 19, 2010

Grayson Highlands

The hills are alive,
With the sound of music
With songs they have sung
For a thousand years

The hills fill my heart,
With the sound of music
My heart wants to sing
Every song it hears
--Richard Rodgers (1902-1979) American composer--

Above: The view from Wilburn Ridge (elevation 5526) in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area in Southwest Virginia. To get here, enter the spectacular Grayson Highlands State Park, park at Massey Gap and hike up to the ridge taking either the Appalachian Trail or the Rhododendron Gap trail (approx. 2 miles). Along the way you'll have outstanding vistas from the naturally occuring balds loaded with wildflowers. You may even encounter some of the wild ponies for which the Grayson Highlands are best known. Definitely worth the trip! For more information about the park, click here and here. To see previous photos taken in winter, click here.

From Tri-Cities, TN: take I-81 to Exit 19 (Abingdon, VA), go east on Route 58 about 37 miles to the park entrance. It's a very windy, but scenic road, so allow plenty of time.

From Elizabethton, TN: take Highway 91 (Stony Creek Road) approximately 34 miles through Shady Valley and Backbone Rock to Damascus, VA. Once in Damascus, turn right onto US Rt. 58. Follow Rt. 58 signs and proceed 26.3 miles to the park entrance on your left. Continue on this main park road 3.5 miles to Massey Gap. (There's a $3 fee per car).

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