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Grayson Highlands State Park, Virginia – Volunteer Vacations 2022
June 19, 2022 - June 26, 2022
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 park provides year-round access to the Appalachian Trail and the Virginia Highlands Horse Trail. American Hiking Society volunteers will work on creating a new trail that connects the Visitor Center to Massie Gap, which is needed to allow park visitors to access the high country when the parking at Massie Gap is at capacity and visitors are diverted to the nearest parking area at the Visitor Center, just over a mile up the road. There is a trail system currently in place for this, but the Big Pinnacle trail from Twin Pinnacles to Massie Gap was poorly designed along the fall line, and is therefore unsustainable and too steep for many park visitors to successfully navigate. The new 0.85 mile trail will skirt the side slope of Haw Orchard Mountain through birch groves, boulder fields and spruce stands, completely avoiding the heavily used Twin Pinnacles Trail. Some of the trail will be installed mechanically, but portions will require dirt or rock work by hand. If the new trail is completed, there is additional rock work needed on Listening Rock, another high elevation trail in the same area of the park.
AHS acknowledges with gratitude that this project takes place on the traditional lands of the ᏣᎳᎫᏪᏘᏱ Tsalaguwetiyi (Cherokee, East), S’atsoyaha (Yuchi) and Moneton peoples past and present. We honor the land itself, the Indigenous communities who have stewarded this land for generations, and those who continue to steward these lands today. AHS invites all volunteers to join us in our commitment to support and amplify the work of Indigenous communities as they work to dismantle the systems of oppression that these communities continue to face today.