Third Annual Mt. Rogers / Wilburn Ridge Loop

Basics — Mileage: 15.4 miles; Difficulty: Strenuous; Carpool: Roanoke Valley hikers meet at the Exit 140 Park & Ride ready to depart at 8:00 AM, New River Valley hikers meet at the Christiansburg Park&Ride at 8:30 AM; Carpool Fee: $12.50 per rider + split the parking fee at the state park; What to Bring: Basic hiking gear (remember the 10 essentials) and lunch; Highlights: amazing views, alpine forests, a state high point, and herds of ponies.

Detailed Description — This hike is just about as spectacular as it gets in Virginia, and I’ve scheduled it (hopefully) near the height of the laurel / rhododendron bloom in the high country. We’ll park at Massie Gap, then hike up to the Appalachian Trail. I like to follow the AT and blue blaze trails over the crags of Wilburn Ridge before reaching Rhododendron Gap. From there, it’s and out-and-back to Mt. Rogers summit, Virginia’s highest point at 5,729 ft. Once back at Rhododendron Gap, we’ll follow the Pine Mountain Trail and Virginia Highlands Horse Trail to the Scales, then loop back to Massie Gap using the AT. This loop comes in at 15.4 miles. Here is a write-up on the hike from Hiking Upward (and notice the view rating of 6 out of 5):

New this year — I will be offering a camping option as I plan to stay in the area to lead another spectacular day of hiking on Sunday. Recognizing that not everyone may wish to camp or do both trips, I have kept these as separate trips. If you would like to camp and then participate in the next day of hiking, you must sign-up for BOTH hikes. Once we have a group set, we will make a decision as to our camping (or lodging) options.