3 Scenic Loops for Horseback Riding in Grayson's High Country

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Grayson County is great for the horse enthusiast! We have miles of trails and plenty of horse camps throughout the county to accommodate you. Come to Grayson and ride today!

1. Pine Mountain Loop

This is an approximate 12 mile loop lasting around 4 hours. It is classified as difficult because of its steepness. The grade is greater than 20%, and the footing is uneven and rocky. It also includes stream crossings and is known for it's 360 degree views and for the diverse forests it passes through.

This loop begins at the Fox Creek Horse Camp where riders ride up to the Scales on the Virginia Highlands Horse Trail, a 68 mile trail beginning in Elk Garden and continuing to Dublin, Virginia. Locals call this the 100 mile ride, and it would take approximately 4 days to complete in its entirety. Many consider this the most scenic trail in the Southeast with its valley views and creek crossings winding through miles of shady hardwood forests. (Side note... historically the Scales is where cattle were weighed prior to being driven down the mountain because they would lose weight during the drive.)

At the Scales get on the Crest Trail and ride to the Lewis Fork Trail. Continue riding to meet the Old Orchard Trail for a short distance to the Old Orchard Spur Trail. The Virginia Highlands Horse Trail takes you back to the horse camp, completing the loop.

The curious wild ponies often come to investigate horses and their riders on this ride and free range long horn cattle can be spotted from May through October. In May the wild azaleas bloom, and the rhododendron drape the mountain sides beginning sometime in June. There is no prettier ride!

Wild Ponies by Dale Johnson

2. Fox Creek Loop (Mount Rogers National Recreation Area)

Located on State Route 603 about 4 miles from Troutdale, Virginia, the federal government operates and maintains the Fox Creek Horse Camp in the middle of the Mount Rogers National Recreational Area from April to November. At an elevation of 4,000 feet this location offers a nice respite from the summer heat of the Southeast. From your campsite, you can easily access hundreds of miles of horse trails in the Washington and Jefferson National Forests.

Horse riders love the convenience provided by this ride as it begins and ends at Fox Creek Horse Camp. It's a moderate 7.8 mile loop, meaning most of the trail has an approximate 20% grade, is rocky, and has stream crossings. A rider takes the Virginia Highlands Horse Trail to Locust Ridge continuing on to Iron Mountain Trail until reaching Flat Top Trail. From here you ride the Fairwood Valley Trail straight back to the horse camp.

You will see the Fox Creek Falls on this ride, and if you go at the right time, you can feast on wild blueberries!

3. Big Wilson Creek Loop (Grayson's High Country)

This loop starts at the horse camp in Grayson Highlands State Park. Grayson Highlands

is a huge park of almost 5,000 acres with rocky trails and an elevation of over a mile. The climate changes drastically as you climb higher in elevation, and it doesn't seem like you're in Virginia anymore. At times it appears to be more like the barren lands of the western United States. Horses must be shod in this terrain; the rocks are just too much for them so don't risk injury by bringing unshod horses here.

This is also a moderate trail about 6.7 miles long. It has panoramic views and meanders through open country from the Virginia Highlands Horse Connector Trail to the Big Wilson Creek Trail. At this point you descend to the Seed Orchard Road Trail and enter back into the state park where the Horse Trail leads to Wilburn Ridge and back to the horse camp.

If you want to see a beautiful waterfall, this is the ride for you; be prepared to cross many streams on this loop.

Grayson Highlands State Park

In addition to the camps mentioned, there are other horse camps for you to bring your horses and escape. Rocky Hollow Horse Camp is privately owned and has easy access to all the trail rides as well as Grayson Highlands State Park. They offer camping as well as cabins. These nice folks know all the best trails and will even provide you with a map and some advice on where to ride!

Rocky Hollow Horse Camp

Iron Mountain Horse Camp, located in Cripple Creek, VA, is another camp with an awesome 78 stall barn, running water, and beautiful mountain views. They will be sure to direct you across the county line into Grayson to ride along the trails in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. Near Iron Mountain is a camp called Hungry Horse East. Here you'll enjoy shaded campsites, water and electric hookups, convenient horse barns, and even a cabin if you prefer. Hungry Horse East lies between Ivanhoe and Fries, VA.

Iron Mountain Horse Camp Riders

Love to ride, but don't have your own horses? Leave it to Doug Cregger and Appalachian Horseback Riding Adventures. He offers guided horseback riding in Mt. Rogers and Pine Mountain. He has horses for the beginner to those who've been riding all their lives. For 60 years Doug has ridden these mountains. He knows them like the back of his hand. Be prepared to be inspired!Check out some wonderful pics on Facebook!

Appalachian Horseback Riding Adventures

There are some things to consider when riding in the back country. First of all remember the weather changes rapidly here so check the reports before you head out. Cell service is limited; do NOT rely on your cell phone for emergencies. Know safety and first aid before embarking on your journey. Carry extra water, food, clothing, matches, a compass, a whistle, and nylon rope to have on hand in the event of an emergency. Remember this is wilderness area; you are a guest in the animals' homes, not the other way around. As always, leave no trace!

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Tourism Office

Address: 107 E. Main Street 

Independence, VA 24348

Phone: 276-773-8002

Email: visit@graysoncountyva.gov

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