Wilburn Ridge via the AT

  • Highlights: wild ponies, wildflowers, wildlife, great views
  • Distance:  4.0 mile loop
  • Elevation change: 850 feet
  • Difficulty level: Moderate
  • Trailhead Parking: Grayson Highland State Park, Massie Gap parking area; park fee required
  • Website: Grayson Highland State Park Trail Guide
  • Beer Pairings: Damascus Brewery-Preppy Harvard Boy IPA & Beaver Ridge IPA

The Hike:

This hike is a great warm-up hike for Mount Rogers. We planned to hike to the summit of Mount Rogers the next day, so Wilburn Ridge provided some great foreshadowing of what was to come with Mount Rogers. This hike is clearly marked and very popular. We arrive early as parking near Massie Gap in Grayson Highland State Park fills up quickly.

Hiking trails in Virginia State Parks are very well marked. From the parking area, follow the Horse Trail east to the Appalachian Spur Trail which eventually connects with the AT. The wild ponies and great views abound at this section of the trail. Take a left (heading south) on the AT and the views get even better. The AT will meet to a junction with the horse trail heading south back to Massie Gap. Take a left at this junction to return to your vehicle. This was a great hike, but Mount Rogers is even better. 

Hike Photos:

Click on an image below for an enlarged view.

Beer Pairing:

Damascus Virginia calls itself “Trail town USA” and deservedly so. The Appalachian Trail runs directly through the town. Damascus is just “down the road” from Grayson Highlands State Park and makes a great overnight spot. We stayed at the Dancing Bear Inn which caters to hikers and bike riders. The Virginia Creeper Trail runs right through Damascus and many bike riders spend the night here. 

Damascus also has a brewery, The Damascus Brewery. Located just on the outskirts of town, the brewery has a nice selection of beer and on the weekends they have food trucks and live music. Pete liked the Preppy Harvard Boy, a New England style IPA. Even though he is not a preppy Harvard wannabe, the beer had a great bitter/hoppy balance and was perfect after a long day on the trail. Kathy enjoyed the Beaver Rage IPA which was nicely hoppy with a great blend of Summit, Willamette, CTZ, and Nugget hops. 

Hike and drink responsibly. Never drink and drive. Stay safe and be responsible.