The Mount Rogers area of southwest Virginia is one of the most scenic and popular backpacking destinations in the Southeast. It includes the two highest points in Virginia and open terrain akin to what you might expect to find in the West. If you’re a backpacker and it’s not on your bucket list, it should be.
On this trip we hike in a mile or so east from Elk Garden off Whitetop Road and set up a basecamp for the weekend. From there, we hike in daypacks, which lets us cover more ground and focus more on Mount Rogers spectacular scenery. Our approach also lets us avoid the crowds that come up from the Grayson Highlands side of the park. Here’s the plan for the weekend:
Friday: Meet at 3 p.m. at the Elk Garden trailhead off Whitetop Road (specific directions will be provided upon registration). We hike east/north on the Appalachian Trail and set up basecamp for the weekend.
Saturday: On our main day of hiking we leave camp on the AT hiking north into the Lewis Fork Wilderness and taking the spur to the summit of Mount Rogers, at 5,772 feet the highest point in Virginia. We continue on along Wilburn Ridge to the area’s impressive rock outcrop and pony colony, then return along the Virginia Horse Trail to camp. Total distance: 12.5 miles.
Sunday: We pack up, head a mile back to the trailhead. Dump our full packs and with daypacks continue hiking south to 5,525-foot Whitetop Mountain, the second highest peak in Virginia. Total Distance: 6 miles.
Skill level for this trip
Intermediate, meaning you should have:
- At least two mountain trips of two nights or longer
- Fitness level for a 12.5-mile hike in the mountains. This means you should at least be hiking on a regular basis prior to the hike.
If we have not hiked with you we will have a brief phone conversation immediately after registration to make sure you and this trip are a good fit.
This trip includes
- Zoom planning meeting on Monday, July 11, to go over the trip itinerary and look at the weather forecast.
- eguide including daily route descriptions, custom maps for the hike, logistics, information about the area and hiking and camping tips pertinent to this trip.
- Guided hike
Date: July 15-17, 2022
Full refunds given for cancelations 8 or more days in advance of the start of the trip; credit given for cancelations made 1 to 7 days in advance; no refund for cancelations made 24 hours or less in advance.