Grayson Highlands State Park

Important Notices

COVID-19 & the VBWTBefore heading out to visit a site on the Virginia Bird & Wildlife Trail, be sure to check if that site has any COVID-19 policies or closures in place. This information is typically posted on a site's own website.

Description

Elevation: 3853 ft.

The extensive 4800-acre Grayson Highlands State Park provides any nature enthusiast premier wildlife watching potential within the mountain range home to Virginia’s highest peak, Mount Rogers. The park offers camping, picnicking, overnight horse stables, a visitor center, hiking trails, and access to the Appalachian Trail. The Rhododendron Trail can be accessed from Massie Gap in the park. Hiking along the summit of Wilburn Ridge can produce spectacular cliffside views. This trail connects to the Rhododendron Trail. The Rhododendron Trail then forks to lead into either the Virginia Highlands Horse Trail or the Appalachian Trail to Mt. Rogers (not accessible by horses).
Habitats within the park range from open meadows, northern hardwoods, rocky outcrops, rhododendron thickets, sphagnum bogs, grazed pastures, Fraser fir groves, and red spruce forests. Nine trails originate within the park, but several of these connect to the extensive trail networks of Mount Rogers National Recreational Area and the Appalachian Trail. Mountain hikers should note that the least strenuous and shortest hiking trail, at 4.2 miles to the summit of Mount Rogers, originates at Massie Gap within this park. Sullivan’s Swamp can be accessed from Massie Gap, as well. This rhododendron bog holds many unique treasures, occasionally including alder and willow flycatchers.
Wildlife watching in this park can be rewarding any time of the year. In addition to eastern hardwood breeders such as wood thrush, ovenbird and black-and-white warbler, in summer, visitors can look for nesting songbirds typical of high-elevation forests, such as black-throated blue, black-throated green, Canada, and chestnut-sided warblers, as well as scarlet tanager and rose-breasted grosbeaks. Spring and fall visits can produce a copious number of migratory warblers, thrushes, and vireos. This park is also home to a large diversity of other wildlife as well. Visitors should keep an eye out for black bear, bobcat, red fox, ruffed grouse, deer, and wild turkey. Salamanders can be plentiful, and this is one of the few regions where Weller’s salamander can be found.

Directions

Physical Address: 829 Grayson Highland Lane, Mouth of Wilson, VA 24363

From I-81 at Exit 45 in Marion, turn south on Route 16 and travel 24 miles to US 58 in the community of Volney. Turn right onto US 58. Travel eight miles to the park’s entrance.

Location & Directions

View on Google Maps

Site Information

  • Site Contact: 276-579-7092; GraysonHighlands@dcr.virginia.gov
  • Website
  • Access: Daily, 8:00 am- 10:00 pm; admission fee required

Birds Recently Seen at Grayson Highlands State Park (as reported to eBird)

  • American Crow
  • Common Raven
  • American Goldfinch
  • Blue Jay
  • Red Crossbill

Seasonal Bird Observations

Facilities

  • Bike Trails
  • Camping
  • Environmental Study Area
  • Fee
  • Food
  • Accessible
  • Hiking Trails
  • Information
  • Interpretive Nature Program
  • Interpretive Trail
  • Parking
  • Phone
  • Picnic
  • Restrooms
  • Viewing Blinds