A little “peace” of heaven just off the Blue Ridge Parkway

Pilot's Perch Cabins

Hiking Grayson Highlands State Park

Grayson Highlands State Park is a beautiful park in far southwest Virginia. You can see for miles atop bald peaks that provide 360 degree long-range views. Grayson Highlands State Park is probably best known as home to a herd of hiking companions, wild ponies that roam the park helping to keep growth down in the park. The ponies make for a very unique and memorable hike.

Grayson Highlands was the first place my sons and I ever went backpacking. In addition to the ponies, I remember the countless bright stars in the night sky far away from city lights. It remains one of my favorite backpacking destinations. My wife has hiked Mt. Rogers, and she enjoyed the park just as much as I did.

Grayson Highlands State Park is less than an hour and a half from Fancy Gap and well worth the trip. If you’re looking for a day trip while staying in Pilot’s Perch Cabins, hiking Grayson Highlands State Park is a great option.

The Ponies of Grayson Highlands State Park

The best place to see the ponies is on Wilburn Ridge, which you can access from the Massie Gap parking area. You might also see them on the Appalachian Trail, which runs through the park.

The Trails of Grayson Highlands State Park

There are lots of great trails in Grayson Highlands State Park. They provide a great place for hiking and backpacking as well as mountain biking, horseback riding, trail running and even cross country skiing.

In addition to the ponies, you can see local flora and fauna, unique outcroppings, long-range pastoral mountain views and waterfalls.

The trails provide gateways to the Appalachian Trail and the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area.

You’ll find more about the trails here and here and a map of the trails here.

If you’re a little insane and are in the mood to run 50 miles, you might consider the Grayson Highlands Ultra-marathon.

More Things to Do and See at Grayson Highlands State Park

In addition to the trails, you’ll find lots of other things to do in Grayson Highlands State Park.

There are festivals:

  • Wayne Henderson Festival – Third Saturday in June.
  • Albert Hash Memorial Festival – Saturday of Labor Day weekend
  • Grayson Highlands Fall Festival – Last full weekend in September

Near the trailhead of the Rock House Ridge Trail you’ll find two rebuilt log cabins, a springhouse, and a cane mill from earlier times. 

There is bouldering.

There are miles of wild trout streams that are open to fishing, including Big Wilson Creek, Wilbur Branch, Mill Creek, Quebec Branch, and Cabin Creek.

More Info

If you’re looking for something more primitive than Pilot’s Perch Cabins in Fancy Gap, there are tent, RV and horse sites as well as yurts available for camping inside the park.

Grayson Highlands State Park
829 Grayson Highland Ln
Mouth of Wilson, VA 24363
Phone: 276.579.7092

Open Daily 8am–10pm

You’ll find some great information about Grayson Highlands State Park here and here.