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Hiker Reviews for the Mt Rogers/Wilburn Ridge Hike - 1 to 9 of 9   
Review the Mt Rogers/Wilburn Ridge hike here!   Average Review Rating:

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Thursday, November 23, 2017
This is probably my favorite hike on the east coast (in the states anyway). The wild ponies were definitely the highlight. Be careful and pay attention to the route - we ended up getting lost more than once. I reviewed the trail in more detail here: https://adventuresinroamance.com/backpacking-in-the-south/

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, August 05, 2017
So I just want to start out saying that me and my friend ended up doing this hike in reverse which I believe was probably easier than what is directed here. With that being said, this would be a very difficult hike for a beginner or for anyone with good backpacking experience. Besides the physical nature of this hike, I rated it as a 5 five because of the views! The entire hike is wandering through old growth forest and hiking along ridgeline through high mountain open balds. It reminded me a lot of Dolly Sods. There are quite a few people on the AT once you get closer to the entrance of Grayson Highlands State Park but the majority of the hike is pretty private. There are some of best campsites I have ever seen near the Thomas Knob shelter. Can't wait to come back out here and do the 40 mile sister hike.

By: Curt Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 27, 2017
I agree with the last reviewer (Ken). This hike is not for new backpackers. This was our troops last training backpack before Philmont. We arrived late and parked in the Fox Creek AT trail head which saved us ~ 2 miles. Followed the HU plan from there. Day two is a beast with almost 3000' of elevation gain over 10-12 miles (the AT map and the markers seem to be in disagreement). The 1.5 miles leading up to the Thomas Shelter has great camping sites. Hint if you are passing lots of tents way before the shelter assume it will be full and the sites around it taken. So you may want to grab a tent site. As mentioned in the HU trail guide there are lots of ways to cut this hike up and make it easier with many trails and cut offs. Scenery is great. Having hiked a lot of the AT from Peaks of Otter to Reeds Gap this beats those sections by far.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 23, 2016
The hike was great, but the one thing I would say, is that this loop is not an easy hike. We took a group of 21 scouts and adults, ranging from 13 to 53 and ranging at all levels of fitness and experience. The majority of the second day of the hike is uphill, with lot's of "stairs", along with a fair amount of very tricky terrain. It turned out to be almost beyond my capabilities, which granted, are on the lower side of most hikers that are out there.

The positives were the camping areas were good. Access to water was good at Old Orchard, a rather full creek made a great spot for lunch and refills on day 2. the water access at Thomas Knob was a bit more challenging, as it involved going about 20 years down a rather steep hill. Thomas Knob, however, had a privy. The hike down to Grindstone was, for me at least, the easiest of the three days, even though I was sore and tired, as the last half was mostly smooth trails in a gradual decline.

Best parts were the views, being in nature and unplugged, and the ponies. The scouts loved this hike, as did most of the adults. A couple of the less fit among us were suffering by the third day. But that is why we do this, to grow and learn.

By: Red Fox Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, May 27, 2016
Quick update. I have hiked this trail many times and will be going back this weekend. Just wanted to let everyone know that the trail from Grindstone campground to the Mt. Rogers trail is back up and the price to park per day has increased from $3 to $5.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, March 26, 2016
Overall, a really nice hike, and it would have been better if the weather had cooperated as we hiked through the Wilburn Ridge. We ended up doing this hike as an overnight due to potential weather on the planned 3rd day.

My son and I did this hike the opposite direction...starting with Mt Rogers (parked in the Mt Rogers trail head parking). We started our hike at around 8:30 AM and reached the Thomas Knob Shelter around 1:15 PM, to include a 30 minute lunch in the clearing past the Mt Rogers/ AT trail junction and a packless excursion (left packs at the junction) up to the Mt Rogers marker. I had not expected to make the shelter until around 3:00 PM, so we had a little too much extra time on our hands. We stayed in the shelter loft, which was comfortable and saved me from having to put up the tent. There were alot of backpackers in the area, and by 5 PM almost all the campsites around the area were full, although there were just 5 of us that stayed in the shelter. Lots of ponies around, including one that walked right up to the shelter. Composting toilet was relatively clean and convenient and the spring was running well.

The 2nd day started off very foggy, and only cleared occasionally, providing glimpses of great views while walking Wilburn Ridge. We again started on the trail at 8:30 AM, and were surprised to see that almost everyone else in the area was already on the trail. The first few miles along Wilburn Ridge quite nice, even with the fog. It did start clearing towards the end of this stretch, providing some great views of the valley below. After descending the ridge, the rest of the hike was a mix of woods and highland areas, interrupted by an occasionally pony. We decided to push on to the car and make this an overnight hike after reaching the Old Orchard Shelter at around 2:30 PM because the weather looked like rain. This made for a long day (14 miles), although we were at the car before 4 PM.

Some thoughts:

- Trail is very well marked and easy to follow. Which ever way you go you are on the AT trail most of the way except for the 5 miles or so on the Mt Rogers trail. For us, we started out following the blue blazes of the Mt Rogers Trail, and after it intersected with the AT it was white blazes all the way. Follow white blazes to blue blazes, or blue blazes to white blazes is really all the directions you need.

- Because we decided to pack out the 2nd day instead of stay at the Old Orchard shelter, we jumped on the Lewis Fork Trail to make the final trek from the shelter to the car a little shorter. If you follow the spring markers to the right of the shelter (when facing it), traverse across the moss covered boulders just past the spring, and then proceed down grade for about 100 yards you will run into this trail. This trail would probably be very pretty when the Rhododendrons are in bloom, as they line the lower part of it. This trail runs into 603, and then you are about 1 mile from the Mt Rogers trail parking lot.

By: John Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, October 25, 2015
The hike was great! Beautiful and scenic. The directions on here were a joke!it's really the only reason this only got two stars. Really needs to be rewritten.

By: Dham Rating: Date of Hike: Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Overall this was a great loop for 3 days including driving!! This route and map directions need to be updated! We got lost right away from grindstone parking lot, because the directions were so poor. Also, the Mount Rogers Tie Trail is closed to the public because of a tornado. S just turn right on 603, to get to the trail. The directions failed to say that and we tried getting on the tie trail before getting stopped by the ignorant Grindstone campground manager. We told her we were trying to get to old orchard, and she said the she doesn't know where that is.... Bring a topographical map. The directions give so many vague details that it is super unhelpful. All that being said, the route was awesome!! It has very diverse terrain, and the ponies are super cool as well. There are a couple intersection on the AT, where its hard to find the trail. The directions should be way better if you are relying on them. We had great weather, but it was super cold at night. I would recommend this hike!!

By: Adam R. Rating: Date of Hike: Friday, March 06, 2015
This was a great hike.  My brther and I did this as a two night adventure.  We fallowed the directions and the first day was a easy hike with a little uphill action.  The shelter is great with a near by fire pit, or there is a grass area to fit a few tents with another fire pit.  The second day 10.5 miles is a solid day of hiking.  The second day starts out uphill for alomst two miles, and a beautiful view emerges.  the end of the day has an intense uphill section for a few miles with some incredible views and hand over hand climbing. (the hand over hand climbing can be avoided if you stay on the AT).  This is a hard day of hiking.  I am used to hiking, but if you are not used to backpacking, leave early to be able to take all day.  The second waterfall you pass is a great lunch area.  The Second shelter Thomas Knob is great.  It was about 30 outside and wind was blowing like crazy.  The upstairs of the shelter kept us totaly protected.  You can not have a fire in this area, and expect the shelter to be full / a fun party!  The last day is mainly down hill so a nice hike.  The path was about 40% ice when we went.  you can find ways around it, but be ready for it.  Best part was the wild horses! we saw about 4 different groups of them. 

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