This 115,000-acre preserve has a 400-mile network of trails that wind through grassy, open country with herds of wild ponies and our panel’s favorite wildflower display. June brings natural fireworks of flame azaleas, mountain laurels, and rhododendron.
See “the best of the best,” according to Juskelis, by linking the Rhododendron Gap Trail to the AT for a 2.5-miler to the brightly colored gap shown above.
Driving From Marion, go 33 miles south on VA 16 to US 58 and head eight miles to Grayson Highlands State Park.
Map Trails Illustrated Mount Rogers NRA ($10, natgeomaps.com)
Contact (800) 628-7202, fs.fed.us/r8/gwj