How Long Is The Hike At Grayson Highlands?

Hiking the Grayson Highlands is a challenging 13.8-mile loop trail near Mouth of Wilson, Virginia. Hikers generally take 6 hours and 16 minutes to complete it

The following factors can determine the time it will takes for someone to hike Grayson Highlands

20 Mile Backpacking Loop of Grayson Highlands – YouTube
Grayson Highlands State Park offers various hiking trails with varying lengths.
The specific length of the hike depends on the trail chosen.
Visitors can find trail maps and descriptions to determine the distance of each hike.
Dogs are allowed on the hiking trails but must be kept on a leash.
Grayson Highlands State Park is known for its scenic beauty and the opportunity to see wild ponies.
Camping facilities are available, including options for tent and RV camping.
Horseback riding is allowed in the park with designated horse trails and facilities.
It’s advisable to check the park’s official website for camping reservations and specific regulations.

Hike Length

Hiking length is a key factor in determining how physically demanding or difficult a hike is. 

Longer hikes are more challenging because they require more energy, but they can also be more rewarding as you get to explore more of the area and see breathtaking sights.

It’s important to know how long you have before starting your journey on a trail so that you can prepare yourself for potential problems such as fatigue and dehydration. 

If you aren’t prepared for these issues, then it could put your safety at risk or cause discomfort along the way.

When embarking on a hiking adventure at Grayson Highlands, it’s essential to come prepared. Take a look at our comprehensive guide on what to bring for hiking to ensure you have all the necessary gear and essentials for a successful and enjoyable hike.

Difficulty Rating

The trail rating is a general guideline of how difficult a hike might be. Often, the number of hikes that share similar characteristics will have a similar difficulty rating. 

For example, if you’ve hiked a trail with 8 miles and 2,000 feet of elevation gain before, then you may assume that hiking another 8-mile/2k hike would be easier than one with 10 miles and 3k.

The difficulty rating doesn’t take into account weather conditions or seasonality because once you get going on the trail there isn’t much you can do about either one! 

It also doesn’t depend on your own fitness level because no matter how fit or out-of-shape you are if it’s summer or winter you’re going to have to sweat at some point during the hike!

TrailDifficulty Rating
Trail AModerate
Trail BEasy
Trail CDifficult
Trail DModerate
Trail EEasy

Elevation Change

The higher your elevation, the more oxygen you’ll need to breathe. This is because there’s less air pressure at higher elevations and each breath contains less oxygen.

The higher your elevation, the more likely you are to get altitude sickness. Symptoms of acute mountain sickness include headache, nausea and vomiting, fatigue or weakness (tiredness), dizziness or lightheadedness when standing up quickly (dizziness when rising from sitting or lying down), rapid heart rate (tachycardia) and swelling around eyes. 

If any of these symptoms appear during your hike at Grayson Highlands, stop ascending immediately descend to lower ground as soon as possible!

Maintaining stability and preventing falls are crucial aspects of hiking. Learn valuable techniques and tips on how to keep from falling when hiking to enhance your safety and confidence on the trails.

Trailhead Elevation

The elevation at the trailhead is 3,680 feet, which is about 10.5 miles from Grayson Highlands Visitor Center (GHCVC). 

The highest point on this hike is 4,165 feet and you will gain 616 feet in total during your trek. You’ll lose 539 feet over 11 miles of hiking as well.

Trailhead Weather

Grayson Highlands State Park is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. If you are planning a hike at Grayson Highlands, make sure to check the weather beforehand. 

Weather can affect your hike in many ways, from making it easier or harder, to more enjoyable or less enjoyable. The trailhead weather of Grayson Highlands State Park is one of the most important things to consider when preparing for your hike on this trail.

The temperature of Grayson Highlands State Park has been known to fluctuate wildly depending on the time of year and location within the park itself. Summers are usually warm with temperatures reaching into the 80s during July and August, while winters are cold and snowy with lows dropping below freezing in December through February. 

During springtime (late March through May), expect mostly sunny days with highs around 70°F as well as some occasional light rain showers every few weeks throughout this time period – though they tend not last long enough for hikers who plan ahead by bringing an umbrella along! 

Fall brings cooler temperatures back from summertime highs down into fall’s low 50s during September through November; however if you’re looking forward towards winter months bring snowfall instead!

Trekking poles can greatly enhance your hiking experience by providing stability and support. Discover the best methods for carrying trekking poles with our insightful guide and make the most of your hiking adventures.

Mental Fatigue

Mental fatigue is the most important factor in determining how long it takes to hike Grayson Highlands. This is true for all hikers, but especially those who are new to hiking or hiking in new areas.

So what causes mental fatigue? Well, that depends on a lot of factors. Some common ones include:

Physical Fatigue

Hiking time is affected by a number of factors, including:

Your level of experience and physical fitness. If you have done a lot of hiking in the past or have strong endurance and are carrying a heavy pack, then your time will be shorter than someone who has never hiked before. 

The same goes for weather conditions—if it’s colder or hotter than usual, that will affect how long it takes to complete your hike.

How steep the terrain is on your route (i.e., whether there are large elevation changes). A more intense climb up a mountain ridge might take longer than a flat trail through rolling hills because it requires more energy from your body to make those climbs up inclines!

ActivityFatigue Level

Hiking Speed

The hiking speed at Grayson Highlands depends on your fitness level, terrain, and trail conditions. 

If you are not in shape to hike fast, start slow and build up speed. You can also adjust your own hiking speed to suit your fitness level by doing the following:

  • Slow down when tired or sore
  • Stop for breaks every 20 minutes or so to rest and get rehydrated
  • Drink a lot of water so that you don’t get dehydrated as easily

Weight Carried In Pack

The amount of weight you can carry in your pack is related to the maximum capacity of that backpack. For example, if you have a 60-liter backpack and are carrying 35 pounds, it’s possible that you could take on an additional 25 pounds.

What is the maximum weight I can carry on my back?

You should be able to comfortably carry 20% of your body weight at a minimum. In other words, if your body weighs 100 pounds (45 kilograms), then 20% would be 20 pounds (9 kilograms). 

The maximum recommended load for most hiking trips should be no more than 33 lbs (15 kg) per person and remember: this includes food!

Curious about the time it takes to complete certain hiking trails? If you’re planning to hike the Sunrise Trail or other similar routes, our article on how long does it take to hike Sunrise Trail offers valuable insights, allowing you to better plan your hiking itinerary.

Type Of Terrain & Condition Of The Trail

Trail Conditions: The trail itself is in great condition. It’s wide, has ample signage and has many of the amenities you’d expect to find on a state park-maintained trail.

Trail Maintenance: I’ll admit, I was a bit worried about this one because the Grayson Highlands are not maintained by Virginia State Parks but rather private landowners and conservation organizations. However, it seemed like most users were respectful of the land so there weren’t too many trails being trampled or cut through vegetation along this part of the Appalachian Trail.

Width: The width of this section was pretty standard for what I’ve seen elsewhere on other parts of my journey around America’s National Scenic Trails system—about 2 feet across each footpath (3 feet total). 

It ranged from doubletrack to single track depending on where we walked through dense forests near streams or alongside clearings with no trees at all between short bursts where sunlight could reach down onto our path through thickets near stream crossings – keeping us cool during hot summer months!

Surface Type: This part had mostly dirt surfaces that were soft enough not to feel rocky underfoot but firm enough not get muddy during rainy days/months when some areas would be prone

Time Of Day Hiked

You can expect a few changes in the weather depending on when you hike at Grayson Highlands. 

In general, the earlier you hike, the cooler it will be. The later you hike, however, the warmer it will be and this can affect how comfortable your experience is. 

If you’re looking for a cooler morning hike and don’t mind being alone on the trail (or just want to be more prepared for all-day hikes), go ahead and get an early start on your day!

However if you’re hoping for a warm afternoon with lots of others around to socialize with and lots of dogs running around off leash (yes please), then waiting until mid-to late afternoon might be better suited for your preferences.

Preparing for a 7-mile hike requires careful consideration of essential items. Our detailed guide on what to bring on a 7-mile hike provides you with a comprehensive checklist to ensure you have everything you need for a successful and comfortable hiking experience.

Your Fitness Level

Your fitness level will determine how long it takes you to hike at Grayson Highlands State Park. If you are in good shape, you can hike longer and faster than someone who is not fit. 

Being out of shape may mean that it takes longer for your body to adjust to the demands of hiking and then recover after your hike. 

In this case, an afternoon stroll on a paved trail would be more appropriate than an all day trek through rocky trails!

If you aren’t in great shape and don’t have time for lengthy hikes, remember: it’s not all about speed! You can still have a great time by spending less time on the trail but taking in the views along the way.

Fitness LevelBrand
BeginnerFitbit Inspire HR
IntermediateGarmin Forerunner 245
AdvancedApple Watch Series 6
ExpertSuunto 9 Baro
ElitePolar Vantage V2


The hike to Grayson Highlands is an excellent way to enjoy nature and get some exercise. The best part is that you can choose the length of your hike depending on how much time you have available and what kind of physical condition you’re in!

Further Reading

Now, here’s the FAQs section in Markdown format:


How long is the hike at Grayson Highlands State Park?

The length of hikes in Grayson Highlands State Park varies depending on the specific trail you choose. It’s recommended to refer to trail maps or online resources for detailed information on trail lengths.

Are pets allowed on the hiking trails in Grayson Highlands State Park?

Yes, pets are allowed on the hiking trails in Grayson Highlands State Park. However, they must be kept on a leash at all times and be under control of their owners.

Is there an entrance fee to access Grayson Highlands State Park?

Yes, there is an entrance fee for visiting Grayson Highlands State Park. The fee amount may vary, and it’s advisable to check the official website or contact the park authorities for the most up-to-date information.

Can I camp overnight in Grayson Highlands State Park?

Yes, camping is allowed in Grayson Highlands State Park. The park offers various campsites and amenities for overnight stays. It’s recommended to make reservations in advance, especially during peak seasons.

Are there any wildlife encounters to be aware of while hiking in Grayson Highlands State Park?

Grayson Highlands State Park is known for its population of wild ponies, which are a popular attraction. While encounters with these ponies can be exciting, it’s important to maintain a safe distance and avoid feeding or approaching them.