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Grayson Highlands State Park, Virginia – Volunteer Vacations 2022

June 19 - June 26

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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.

Organizer

Grayson Highlands State Park

Accommodations

Cabin/Lodge

Hiking/Access

Day hiking up to 1 mile each work day.

Project Rating

Difficult

Minimum Volunteer Age

18

Maximum Group Size

14

Area and Attractions

Grayson Highlands State Park, frequently called the Jewel of Virginia's State Parks, is adjacent to the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, home to Mount Rogers, Virginia's highest peak at 5,729 feet. The park contains over 2 miles of the Appalachian Trail, a portion the Virginia Highlands Horse trail and is known for it's sweeping views, rhododendron thickets, wild blueberries (huckleberries) and its herds of feral ponies. Its numerous streams are home to native brook trout, while brook and rainbow trout can be found at lower elevations. High temperatures on the mountain rarely exceed the 70's, there is almost always a breeze and it isn't unheard of for night time lows to drop into the low 40's during summer months.

Accommodations Description

Volunteers will stay in an on-site bunkhouse with 7 bunk twin beds (14 beds), refrigerator, microwave, coffeemaker and gas grill. The facility does not have water, but is adjacent to one of the bathhouses in our campground. Cookware, plates and utensils are provided, but volunteers will need to bring their own linens. For those volunteers who prefer more space for social distancing, they may also stay at the group tent site, and participants will need to provide their own camping gear. Please contact volunteer@americanhiking.org for assistance with gear needs. The project will be completed on Fri. June 24 with additional time to explore the park and surrounding area. Lodging will be available through checkout on Sun., June 27 for anyone who would like to stay an additional night.

Travel

Volunteers can fly into Charlotte Douglas International Airport in, Charlotte, NC; or the Tri-Cities Airport in Blountville, TN. Airport pickup is not provided for this trip. Volunteers are responsible for transportation to and from camp and the work site. Carpooling can be arranged once the project is confirmed.

Venue

Grayson Highlands State Park
829 Grayson Highland Lane, Mouth of Wilson, Virginia 24363 + Google Map
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