Walkers, hikers and backpackers know Mount Rogers NRA as the hiking Nirvana of Virginia with its numerous long trails, rail trails and multi-use trails -- hikers can enjoy them all. Trail accesses can be had along creeks, atop mountains and all places in between, allowing you to construct added hikes of your own. For starters, here are a few hike suggestions to get you started exploring Mount Rogers NRA.
Short Sampler Hikes
BEARTREE LAKE LOOP - 1.0 mile
Start at Beartree Lake Recreation Area then encircle the mountain impoundment of Beartree Lake. Anglers use the loop to access their favorite fishing spots. This family hike stays around 3,000 feet in elevation.
CREST TRAIL/APPALACHIAN TRAIL - 2.5 miles
The wide, road-like Crest Trail offers nearly continuous vistas as it courses the top of Pine Mountain from Scales. Wild ponies, which live in the recreation area year-round, are often seen in this stretch of the high country. Meet the AT after .8 mile, then return to the trailhead at Scales, winding in and out of woods.
COMERS CREEK FALLS - 1.2 miles
This path traces Comers Creek -- dropping steeply in small cascades and falls -- into a rhododendron-choked gorge, then intersects the Appalachian Trail at .4 mile. To access the actual Comers Creek Falls turn right on the AT and continue another .2 mile to view the cataract dropping about 15 feet in a stair step fashion.
FEATHERCAMP LOOP - 6.7 miles
Trails Used: Beech Grove Trail, Iron Mountain Trail, Feathercamp Trail, Appalachian Trail
This loop leaves the Whitetop Laurel Valley on the Beech Grove Trail up to the crest of Iron Mountain. Next, cruise the ridgeline to Feathercamp Branch and descends the intimate stream valley to intersect the Appalachian Trail. Take the AT back to the Beech Grove Trail and return to the parking area. Along the way, enjoy streamside woods and open pine oak stands atop Feathercamp Ridge. The climbs are never overly steep or long.
ROWLAND FALLS LOOP - 11.8 miles
Trails Used: Rowland Creek Trail, Old 84 Trail, Jerrys Creek Trail
Climb up the attractive Rowland Creek Valley to even more attractive Rowland Falls. Crest out at the Old 84 Trail and make a high country traverse in the shadow of Double Top and Round Knob to Jerry Creek, where the path takes you down quickly, then moderates, before completing the loop. The climb up Rowland Creek valley is steady, but never too steep.
WILBURN RIDGE LOOP - 5.2 miles
Trails Used: Rhododendron Trail, Rhododendron Gap Trail, Crest Trail, Appalachian Trail, Wilburn Ridge Trail, Appalachian Trail
Leave Grayson Highlands State Park at Massie Gap and ascend on the Rhododendron Trail. Enter Mount Rogers NRA and take the Rhododendron Gap Trail for great views to the Crest Trail. Turn right on the Crest Trail and follow it a short distance to Rhododendron Gap. Pick up the Appalachian Trail and follow it along Wilburn Ridge to the Wilburn Ridge Trail. Do a little rock scrambling in between vistas, then return to the state park via the Appalachian Trail.