Third Peak is the highest of three mountain peaks (the other two are named Second Peak
and First Peak) which are relatively close and are located in the Pine Mountains. The Pine Mountains are located in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area.
The peaks are simple hikes which can be accessed from several points, either from within the park or from trails which begin from outside of the park.
Grayson Highlands State Park is just to the south of the peaks and can be accessed from Route 58 which connects to Route 16. Mount Rogers (the highest point in Virginia) is located within Grayson Highlands State Park.
From Interstate 81, take the Route 16 exit (exit #45 in Marion) south. Approximately (10) miles south and on the right hand side of Route 16 is the Mount Rogers NRA Headquarters. Stop here to obtain maps or any other information that you may need. Then continue south until you enter the town of Troutdale. Then make a right hand turn onto Route 603. Follow Route 603 for several miles and make a left hand turn onto Route 739. Follow this for a very short distance and make a right hand turn into a small, parking area where you can leave your car at no charge. This is a back entrance to the peaks and there are no fees for accessing from here.
From here follow the horse trail (known as the Jackie Street Trail) up the mountain, crossing several gates which can be opened with no problem. Once you reach the top of the mountain, there are trail markers, but make a left turn (known as the First Peak Trail) and cross over Second Peak (which has great views of Mount Rogers and the remainder of the park) and follow the marked trail to Third Peak. Third Peak is heavily wooded so there aren't many views from there. There is a large rock outcropping which you can climb for better views of the area.
If you access Third Peak from the Grayson Highlands State Park gate you will have to pay a fee of several dollars. The park gate is open from 8:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. daily.
When To Climb
The peak can be climbed year round although Virginia winters can be severe so take necessary precautions.
I would encourage you to purchase the Mount Rogers topographic map from National Geographic Trails Illustrated series. It was very helpful in finding the many trails in that area. It can be purchased at the Information Center on Route 16.
There are several campgrounds located within Grayson Highlands State Park. There are fees for camping within the park.
Campsite reservations can be made at 1-800-933-PARK or www.dcr.state.va.us
I noticed plenty of campsites outside of the park along back roads which would be free camping without amenities.
Grayson Highlands State Park
829 Grayson Highland Lane
Mouth of Wilson, Virginia 24363