Acres and acres of wilderness dotted by Alpine meadows, ringed by dense fir forests and crowned by Virginia's two tallest mountains combine to make Mount Rogers National Recreation Area a unique place to experience the great outdoors. Mount Rogers at 5,729 feet and Whitetop Mountain at 5,344 feet tower over this wild 140,000 acre landscape, part of the Washington/Jefferson National Forests.
Some of the highest country in the state is found in this recreation area. The Appalachian Trail runs from one end of the park to the other, over 64 miles. Hikers can enjoy over 400 miles of trails, from easy to difficult including the Virginia Creeper National Recreation Trail, a rail to trail route shared with bikers and equestrians. Though there are hundreds of miles of forest road and rugged path perfect for peddling, mountain bikers are particularly fond of the eight-mile loop up and down Iron Mountain.
The Virginia Highlands Horse Trail runs the entire park length, for those of an equestrian bent, and there are, in addition to conventional campgrounds, several horse camps in the area . Those who prefer to see the park by car can follow the Mt. Rogers Scenic Byway, a 34-mile long road that merits mention as the highest in the state - part of it even winds up Whitetop Mountain.
Not left out of the mix are avid anglers, who can fly-fish, bait fish or pier fish for some of the lunker trout this stretch of the woods is well known for - certain restrictions apply and appropriate permits are required so be sure to do the necessary paperwork before you reel anything in.
Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, which extends to the Tennessee state line, is located 280 miles southwest of Richmond, VA, and 157 miles northeast of Knoxville, TN, off I-81, exit 45. Open year-round, the campgrounds are closed in winter.