Want to experience Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains? Go to Grayson Highlands State Park for hiking trails, camping, great views and wild ponies!
By Elizabeth + Garret Johnson
Grayson Highlands State Park is a place that has never disappointed. We have made lasting memories here, and the views never fail to stop us in our tracks and give us that feeling of awe.
There are no grand mountains, glaciers, or glistening lakes, but the views you get for the small amount of effort at this park make it so worth it!
When you take in the vistas it is easy to understand why they are called the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Seeing all the different shades of blue in the distance stops me every time.
It’s easy to just look and keep on walking. Don’t.
Take a minute and really look and think about what you are seeing.
In the distance with each varying shade of blue lay mountains– mountains that have been there for so many years.
They have weathered time, and in their age have gotten smaller but no less majestic. Each of those shades of blue is home to so many beautiful creations.
Really seeing the Blue Ridge Mountains that we call home is an experience I will forever see in my memory.
That combined with the wild ponies make this place one of our favorites!
Want more park ideas in central Appalachia? Check out our guides for trails in the New River Gorge and Pinnacle Rock State Park in West Virginia, the Smokies in Tennessee, and Carter Caves, Natural Bridge and Bernheim Forest in Kentucky.
Winter Camping at Chestnut Hollow
We decided to squeeze in one last camping trip in November 2020.
We have never camped that late in the year, but we knew it would be awhile before we got to go again. Being softies, we have a camper, which does make camping later in the year very easy.
November is off-season, so most things were closed. We stayed at the campground usually used by the equestrians, Chestnut Hollow.
This time of the year there was no running water, but we came prepared and could only stay a few days anyway.
We had the campground to ourselves most of the time.
We did see a few brave souls, backpackers and a truck camper. Most only stayed for the day or at most one night.
Backpacking in Grayson Highlands
In the past we have backpacked here too.
If you’re into backpacking, we suggest this place for sure! Check out the park website for a full trail guide and backpacking information.
Our Favorite Hiking Trails in Grayson Highlands
We were able to get in a few hikes during our stay. Grayson Highlands State Park offers many miles of varying trails.
Along some of them you can even spot wild ponies! Some of the ponies are very friendly; others have no interest in us.
I could go on forever talking about why we love this place, but I’ll try and be brief.
One of our favorite hikes here is Wilburn Ridge.
To access this trail, start at the Massie Gap Trail parking area.
Massie Gap Trail is a nice one itself if you don’t want to continue on.
If you can muster up enough energy, Wilburn Ridge never disappoints.
When you reach the top of the trail you have the option (awesome opportunity), to do a little rock scrambling for some 360-degree views! Totally worth it!
Another trail off of Massie Gap is a trail with waterfalls called Cabin Creek.
Of course, Garrett can’t help himself so we had to take this one too. It was beautiful.
Toward the end, it seemed like the trail never ended… because we had left the trail a long time ago!
However, the waterfalls just kept coming!
Every time I would say, “This has to be the last one,” we would hike up a little farther and sure enough, there was another.
It was worth the adventure!
I could go on and on; however, to sum it all up: GO TO GRAYSON HIGHLANDS! You will not be disappointed.
About Elizabeth + Garrett Johnson
Hi! We are Garrett & Elizabeth from Beckley, WV. To pay the bills we are a firefighter and a nurse. We are also full-time volunteers. We also love backpacking, trail running, camping and hiking. We have 2 dogs who almost always drag us along on the trails. Follow Elizabeth at @smutko.girl.