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Welcome to July's Park of the Month: Grayson Highlands State Park

Before you even reach Grayson Highlands State Park, you will sense this place is unlike any other state park in Virginia!

Hiking Wilburn Ridge Trail at Grayson Highlands State Park

Hiking Wilburn Ridge Trail at Grayson Highlands State Park

The winding roads leading to the park are lined by farmlands, a rolling creek, and Christmas tree farms.

Fresh air and a slower pace replace the rush of our everyday lives. The park is full of little treasures, some well-known and others are hidden, just waiting to be discovered. Each visitor comes for a different reason and most leave feeling a bit more relaxed and focused.      

With elevations in the park ranging from 3,900 feet to just shy of 5,100 feet, on average, the temperature is at least 10 degrees cooler in that park than in surrounding areas. The park is located just 2 hours from Charlotte, NC and Winston-Salem, NC, 2 ½ hours from Knoxville, TN and only 3 hours from Columbia, SC. It makes the park the perfect escape from the heat of summer.

Hikers and equestrians have known for a long time that the park is home to some of the best trails in the area. 

The park serves as a connector to the Appalachian Trail and VA Highlands Horse TrailTrails within Grayson Highlands meander from rushing streams featuring waterfalls and native brook trout (all VA fishing regulations apply), to mountain balds that are home to wild ponies and offer views beyond compare.

The newest trails at the park are in the Split Rock Trail system. Haw Flats and Split Rock are short but popular trails for visitors interested in geology and bouldering because they meander one of the most popular boulderfields in the park.The trail even goes through one of the boulders that have broken in two pieces, hence the name. For more info and the trail guide, click here.

Split rock on the Split Rock Trail at Grayson Highlands
The namesake for the Split Rock Trail system

For folks wanting to stay overnight at the park, there are two campgrounds:

  • Hickory Ridge Campground has 32 standard (tent) sites and 42 sites with electric and water. In the center of the campground, is a large field with a playground. It is a perfect place for kids to run and play but still be within the parent’s line of vision. The Country Store is located near Hickory Ridge Campground and carries camping supplies, souvenirs, and snacks.
  • Chestnut Hollow Campground is an equestrian campground. It offers a stable with 67 stalls as well as 50 amp electrical service and water hookups for horse trailers, a dump station, and a bathhouse. An additional charge applies if you wish to have a covered stall.

Camping at Grayson Highlands
Hickory Ridge Campground

Here is a sampling of just a few of my favorite pictures of this unique park:

Horseback riding at Grayson Highlands State Park
Equestrian trails available at the park

The amazing beauty of Grayson Highlands
What a view!

Wild ponies at Grayson Highlands
Where ponies run free

Waterfall along Cabin Creek at Grayson Highlands
A treasure along Cabin Creek Trail

WSLS Daytime Blue Ridge featured Grayson Highlands State Park in their special travel segment on the region called "In a Day's Drive." Grayson Highlands State Park is just under 2.5 hours from Roanoke, Virginia. Check out what they found here:

The Grayson Highlands story cannot successfully be told without mentioning the vital role music and Appalachian traditions play in the region. These traditions have been handed down through the generations. In truth, this legacy of craftsmanship is one of the treasures of this area. In many ways, a national treasure. But I won’t get into that now, but check back next week for a peek at how we keep these traditions alive in the highlands of Virginia!

Dancing Ranger
Check out next week's blog article to find out about this picture

For more information about Grayson Highlands State Park, click here, or email here, or contact the park office at 276-579-7092. For camping or picnic shelter rentals, you can reserve online or call 1-800-933-PARK.

If you have never been to Grayson Highlands State Park, we invite you to put this jewel on the list of must see Virginia State Parks, oh and don't forget your camera!

Published: 07/01/2014

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