We go to Grayson Highlands once per year. Normally when the rhododendrons are blooming. For my 2013, 2014, and 2015 posts, do internet search by “ranger annette grayson highlands”.
But, this year we probably went a couple of weeks too late to see the rhododendrons blooming. We saw one bush with one rhododendron bloom on our walk today.
We started out by hoping to catch up with a friend that was camping with some gals from her photo club. We were hoping that they would be breaking for lunch and would be at their camping spot. When we arrived, they weren’t there. So, we had our picnic at their camping spot. While we were having lunch, one of the ponies was walking through the campground.
After we finished lunch, we headed back to Massie Gap to park. We headed across the little meadow to the Rhododendron Trail trailhead. Rhododendron trail heads up the hill in front of you. It’s easy to moderate and about 1 mile round trip. Once we got to the top, we turned left and headed to the perimieter of the park on Horse Trail North. It’s only about 1/2 mile to the perimeter of the park. We then turned around and headed back on the trail above Horse Trail, which is the Appalachian Trail. This is where the ponies were today. And that is where we ran into my friend and her group. We took photos and visited for a bit, and then headed back to the car.
After we got in the car, we headed up towards the visitors center. We parked in a gravel parking lot on the right. We then headed over to the picnic area. There is a walkway that takes you to an overlook. We took some photos there and jumped in the car again.
We then started heading out of the park. Before we exited the park, there was a paved parking area / overlook on our left. This is Sugarlands Overlook. Got out and took some shots here and headed home.
Was a little disappointed that we didn’t see any of the steers today. Where we usually see ponies every time, it’s hit or miss on the steers.
Here are quite a few photos from today.
Address: Grayson Highland Ln, Mouth of Wilson, VA
Heed the warning as you walk across the meadow to the trailhead
Kiosk at trailhead. Good information and map.
Starting the walk up Rhododendron Trail
Looking back / above where we parked. A couple of people on Big Pinnacle.
View of the road that goes up to the visitors center and a slight mountain view
A couple of blooming bushes with mountains way in the background
I can tell you that people don’t pay attention to this sign. We always see people trying to feed the ponies.
One of the two azalea bushes that we saw blooming today
Just some bloom
An orange azalea
A couple of serious hikers that are definitely going to do more than spend the day in the park
Another mountain view from Rhododendron Trail
Grayson Highlands does a great job of marking their trails
The boulders that people are always climbing on off to the right of Rhododendron Trail
We’re going to head south
On Horse Trail NORTH?
The one rhododendron that we saw today
A view from the horse trail
I believe this is a piece of Mount Rogers
Zoomed in on people on top of Mount Rogers
Zoomed in on a few ponies on top of Mount Rogers
We are at the edge of the state park. When you walk through the turnstile, a sign showing how far it still is to Mount Rogers.
Then, when you turn around, this is your view
As we took off on the upper trail (Appalachian Trail) captured a few horseback riders coming up Horse Trail North
Now, the ponies that we finally came across
These two ponies came right up to this lady and were nudging her while she was taking photos
This was the only baby that we saw today
This pony is a little further up the trail all by itself
View from Appalachian Trail
This is the view from the overlook at the picnic area near the visitors center
Stopped at Sugarlands Overlook as we were heading out of the park
View from Sugarlands Overlook