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Thread: VA/ NC Info

  1. #1
    slowhike's Avatar
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    VA/ NC Info

    Looking for a place at higher elevations and cooler weather and not too strenuous, and water is not an issue.
    Hoping for too much?
    Hope to do no more than 3 or 4 miles per day. Just getting back into it and not as young as I used to be.

    I have always loved Grayson Highlands. 10 - 15 degrees cooler than here in the Piedmont of NC.
    But now, "The Backpackers Lot is open for overnight parking, but reservations are required".
    If several are trying to go, that could possibly complicate things, especially if they have limits on numbers.

    Thought about going in through Elk Gardens. As best I remember, there was plenty of parking not a real hard climb up to the Thomas Knob area, but it's been a long time.
    Could continue on from there.

    Planning on 3 nights and would like to hear other suggestions.
    Thanks
    I too will something make and joy in it's making

  2. #2
    Senior Member soul embrace's Avatar
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    i prefer to pay the $15 per car per night and know my car if pretty safe. there is a limit of 40 car spots in the backpacker's parking lot
    There's magic in the woods,
    if you know where to look for it.
    -Pete's Dragon

  3. #3
    slowhike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soul embrace View Post
    i prefer to pay the $15 per car per night and know my car if pretty safe. there is a limit of 40 car spots in the backpacker's parking lot
    Good point.
    I too will something make and joy in it's making

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    Grayson Highlands is a great choice for cooler temps and great scenery. We parked at Elk Gardens for our trip last fall. There were lots of other cars there, and we didn’t have any issues, but I had read a warning from Forest Service saying there were car breakins reported close to Damascus. The hike from Elk Gardens to Thomas Knob is ~5miles, and the steep sections are not too long. There are some nice campsites about 2.5 miles in, but the water source isn’t close or convenient. Much better, if you have time, to go all the way to Thomas Knob and all the nice campsites near and past there. Another alternative is to park on the north side of the park on Fairwood Rd near Grindstone and hike the Mt Rogers trail in. This is a much steeper trail.

    Other locations to consider:
    Roan Highlands is also cooler than the Triad and you can drive close to the high spots, so the trail elevation changes aren’t bad.
    Elk Knob state park has backpacking campsites that don’t appear too tough a hike, and the day hike up to the top of Elk Knob is A nice, new, well-graded trail.

  5. #5
    slowhike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SubaruWx View Post
    Grayson Highlands is a great choice for cooler temps and great scenery. We parked at Elk Gardens for our trip last fall. There were lots of other cars there, and we didnít have any issues, but I had read a warning from Forest Service saying there were car breakins reported close to Damascus. The hike from Elk Gardens to Thomas Knob is ~5miles, and the steep sections are not too long. There are some nice campsites about 2.5 miles in, but the water source isnít close or convenient. Much better, if you have time, to go all the way to Thomas Knob and all the nice campsites near and past there. Another alternative is to park on the north side of the park on Fairwood Rd near Grindstone and hike the Mt Rogers trail in. This is a much steeper trail.

    Other locations to consider:
    Roan Highlands is also cooler than the Triad and you can drive close to the high spots, so the trail elevation changes arenít bad.
    Elk Knob state park has backpacking campsites that donít appear too tough a hike, and the day hike up to the top of Elk Knob is A nice, new, well-graded trail.
    Lots of good information. Much appreciated.
    I've only hiked in from Elk Garden once, many years ago. Seams like there was a water source part of the way in but I don't remember how good of a source it was.

    I'll look into these other places as well.
    I too will something make and joy in it's making

  6. #6

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    I do an 18 mile loop around Mt Rogers / Grayson Highlands all the time, but there are ways to make it as much or as little as you want. Since even before the backpacker lot went to reservations and a fee, I've been parking at the lot where the AT crosses Fairview Road and never had a problem. About a mile and a half from Old Orchard. If the AT hiker bubble is coming through, I've left a cooler of trail magic on my tailgate and been fine. I did have somebody steal my food bag out of the locker at Thomas Knob, though. Hanging my bag now on. Only room for about 10 cars so it will fill up on weekends if you don't get there early, though.

    https://www.alltrails.com/explore/ma...20-b3d6e13?u=i

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    slowhike's Avatar
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    I have gone in that way, to Old Orchard and beyond.
    One concern is that I don't know how many might join us and how many other cars might be in the lot.

    Nice job with the map.
    I too will something make and joy in it's making

  8. #8
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    Maybe youd be interested in a guided hike a little farther west with me sometime? 6000 ft peaks and cool in the summer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crawldaddy View Post
    Maybe youd be interested in a guided hike a little farther west with me sometime? 6000 ft peaks and cool in the summer.
    I'd join that hike!

    Been doing a lot of exploring of this fine state (NC) since moving here but there's so much more to see, especially on the West (and East) ends of the state.
    Iceman857

    "An optimist is a man who plants two acorns and buys a hammock" - Jean de Lattre de Tassigny (French Army General in WWII)

  10. #10
    slowhike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crawldaddy View Post
    Maybe youd be interested in a guided hike a little farther west with me sometime? 6000 ft peaks and cool in the summer.
    Sounds interesting!
    Where might that be?

    Quote Originally Posted by iceman857 View Post
    I'd join that hike!

    Been doing a lot of exploring of this fine state (NC) since moving here but there's so much more to see, especially on the West (and East) ends of the state.
    Yep, lots to see here!
    I too will something make and joy in it's making

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