The summit of Mount Rogers is the highest point in Virginia and one of the highest in the Eastern United States. The mountain peak is close to the Appalachian Trail, making the peak a nice side hike if you are working your way up or down the trail. The Mount Rogers peak can also be reached during a single day hike.
Mount Rogers has a rounded, tree-covered summit reaching an elevation of 5,729 feet above sea level. The peak is the feature of the 200,000 acre Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. Available activities include camping, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking and cross-country skiing. The recreation area includes seven campgrounds, and there are several cabins available for reservation. Two lakes and 50 miles of streams add water-based recreational opportunities.
Mount Rogers is located in the southwest corner of Virginia. Find your way to the recreation area via Interstate 81, which travels in a southwesterly direction through Virginia. Exit the interstate on Highway 16 at the town of Marion, turning south. Drive south approximately 33 miles to the junction with Highway 58 and turn west -- to the right. The first trailhead to hike Mount Rogers is in the Grayson Highlands State Park, about eight miles after the intersection. The second trailhead is 10 miles past the state park at the Highway 600 intersection.
Hiking the Mountain
In the state park find the Massey Gap trailhead for the start point to hike the mountain. Parking is provided at the trailhead. On Highway 600, the Elk Garden trailhead provides the access to the peak hike. Park near the trailhead. The hike to the top of Mount Rogers is approximately four miles and 1,000 feet of elevation gain from either trailhead. The initial trail will join the Appalachian Trail, then look for the sign marking the turn for the half-mile hike from the A-Trail to the summit of the mountain.
The summit of Mount Rogers is wooded and does not provide a scenic view. There are several places along the hike with the wide-open vistas that make mountain hiking so enjoyable. Grayson Highlands State Park has an entry fee, and the park is closed at night, so plan accordingly. There is no cost or time restrictions at the Elk Garden trailhead. Always hike with an extra layer of clothing, rain protection, food, water and a map. The trails in this region are popular, and you will encounter many other hikers in season.