Celebrate National Trails Day in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains – June 1, 2019

Celebrate National Trails Day in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains – June 1, 2019

One of these stunning parks is the perfect destination for National Trails Day this Saturday, June 1, 2019!

Grayson Highlands State Park

Located near Mount Rogers and Whitetop Mountain, Virginia’s two highest mountains, Grayson Highlands offers scenic views of alpine-like peaks more than 5,000 feet high. Facilities include a visitor center, campgrounds, and hiking trails leading to waterfalls and overlooks. 

 

The inhabitants of Grayson Highlands–a herd of wild ponies that roam freely.

The following guided hikes are planned throughout this year’s National Trails Day. 

9 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Hike on the Appalachian Trail to Mt. Rogers, meet at Massie Gap

10 a.m. to 12 p.m. – Trail maintenance on Rhododendron Trail, meet at Massie Gap

4 p.m. to 5 p.m. – Trick Your Stick at the Campground Amphitheater

8 p.m. to 9 p.m. – Salamander Meander at the Visitor Center

https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/grayson-highlands

New River Trail State Park

New River Trail is a 57-mile linear park that follows an abandoned railroad right-of-way. The park parallels the historic New River for 39 miles and the scenery is magnificient. The trail is relatively flat and appropriate for all skill levels. A trail entrance is located in Fries, VA at 323 Firehouse Drive.  From Route 94, go south to town.  Parking is available near the town park.

Untamed beauty along the trail.

https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/new-river-trail

Virginia Creeper Trail

The Virginia Creeper trail is a 34.3-mile rail-to-recreation trail, traversing through two counties from Abingdon, Virginia, through Damascus, and ending just past Whitetop Station in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, at the Virginia-North Carolina border.  Cycling the Creeper Trail is perfect for riders of varying ages and fitness levels due to it’s slight decline.  

To get to the Whitetop Station trailhead, follow US 58 east from Abingdon into Grayson County. Turn right on State Route 726 and head south toward the North Carolina border. You will see the parking area off of 726.

To get to the Abingdon trailhead, head south on Main Street/US 11 in Abingdon and turn left onto Pecan Street. There is a large locomotive engine on display by the trailhead, which you can see to the left of the parking lot.

https://www.vacreepertrail.org/

 

 

The Top 5 Things to Do in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains

The Top 5 Things to Do in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains

1) Explore the New River

Flowing 160 miles through Virginia, the New River is a true recreation destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The New River is recognized as the second oldest river in the world, (the Nile in Egypt is the first). Its headwaters begin near Blowing Rock, NC and is one of the few rivers in North America that flows northerly. If you’re looking for a peaceful float trip on the water, plan a trip to the New River to venture into some of Virginia’s most beautiful waterfront acreage. The warm waters of the New River offers resourceful anglers the opportunity to catch the smallmouth bass of a lifetime. Fast water and large rock outcroppings are a feature of the New River, creating the perfect habitat for big smallmouth bass and flathead catfish. Several lazy, slow stretches also abound, where you can fish for rock bass near grass beds. The slow waters near the dams along the river will yield big flathead and channel catfish, as well as walleye and smallmouth bass.

2) Go for a Bike Ride

Biking On The New River Trail

The New River Trail parallels 39 miles of the New River. Bikers will experience miles of beautiful scenery along the trail.  The trail contains two tunnels:  135 feet and 193 feet long, and three major bridges, Hiawasee-951 feet, Ivanhoe-670 feet, and Fries Junction-1,089 feet.  The trail is relatively flat and appropriate for all skill levels. Visit New River Trail State Park for additional information.

3) Climb a Mountain

Mount Rogers is the highest natural point in Virginia, with a summit elevation of 5,729 feet above mean sea level.  The Appalachian Trail passes within a half mile of the summit, making it especially popular with hikers.  You may come upon the residents of Mt. Rogers, a herd of more than 100 wild ponies that roam free.

4) Take in a Show

Grayson County VA is rich in musical history and the legacy continues today.  Fries is a proud affiliate of The Crooked Road, a 330 mile driving trail through the mountains of Southwest Virginia that connects nine major venues and over 60 affiliated venues and festivals that visitors can enjoy every day of the year.  Jam sessions can be enjoyed at The Fries Community Center every Thursday night from 6:30 to 9:00 PM.  The world’s oldest and largest Old Fiddler’s Convention is held in Galax, VA the second week of August annually.  Numerous other towns and communities also have music festivals throughout the year.

5) Savor the Local Cuisine

Award winning barbecue can be enjoyed at The Galax Smokehouse, a local institution in Galax VA. See if you can guess the secret ingredient in their delicious banana pudding.  The Smoke On The Mountain Barbecue Championship is held in July each year.