To get to Mt. Rogers, turn immediately south from I-81 exit 35. Follow the major two lane White Top Road 11 miles until you cross a small bridge and come to an intersection. Look for a sign that says "White Top Road" and "Elk Garden" on the left. Turn left. Continue up the major two lane white top road another 5 miles to the trailhead.
The AT trailhead is at Elk Garden (4,450'). It is a small parking lot which indicates the Appalachian Trail. There is a registration box and information kiosk at the trailhead. Across the road from the rustic parking lot, is a gate. Open and close the gate behind you and you will find a sign which says, 4.5 miles to Mt. Rogers.
The trail starts across the road, on this meadow
The trail up goes over one a bare field. Then you see some light trees, and then you enter the woods, where you are greeted by a wilderness sign. Follow the Appalachain trail and you will see Mount Rogers through the trees. After a couple miles you start the ascent uphill. It is about 3 miles to Wilburn Ridge. You never get on the ridge. The trail curves around and goes back towards the Rogers summit. 1 mile later you get to a higher clearing above the meadows. This is a very pretty spot to sit and relax, and enjoy a splendid view. A little higher up is a sign that says, Mt. Rogers Summit, 1/2 mile. The trail to the top is in the middle of dense woods, without any view. Just a big boulder. When I went, the high point sign was gone. The people at the visitors center said it was stolen. It may be back up, but don't count on it being there.
Elevation gain is about 1,500 feet due to the ups and downs.
Round Trip hike is 9 miles.
-However, for a longer hike, I suggest playing around in Wilburn Ridge, which is quite pretty. But beware, because it is a very large area, where you will cover a lot of mileage. Plan for a long day if you want to explore Wilburn Ridge.
The trail can get icy in winter, so just be careful. I climbed in January and slipped a couple times, but I was okay. Just bring some nice shoes, because it is a long hike.
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