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There is a little bit of everything here. Mountain location meets all the view requirements to include the rushing stream as you come in. Owners are supper friendly and want to make your stay enjoyable. There are cabins, tents, and RV sites so you can take your choice of sleeping accommodations. Plenty to do for kids of all ages with game room, swing set, basketball, corn hole, and a field big enough to throw a frisbee or play catch. Add a little creek through the middle and a fishing pond; what more do you need?
Campground is well maintained. The RV Sites are level. The bath house is clean. The WiFi is A++, can you say streaming?! You have your choice of open site or one with tree cover. If you are looking for a place to see the leaves changing color this is the place to stay. Don’t wait to make your reservations it fills up fast!!!
I have been coming here for the past 10 years. It's one of the best Campgrounds I have been to anywhere. Not only is it beautiful and well kept like most state parks but the staff has always been tremendous and helpful. And the location is quite perfect. It is set high on the mountain so you get wonderful views easy access to the Appalachian trail And lots of hiking everywhere.
This is one of the best Virginia State Parks I have camped at!
The area is just so incredibly beautiful and the park is huge, there is so much to do and explore. The ponies, hikes of all kinds, waterfalls, mountains. It is a trip I will remember forever.
We got a non-site specific tent site reservation so we rolled up and I think we got the best one, site 13. It is the most private and very comfortable. Close to the bathrooms and water. I have no complaints! It was great!
Check out Molly Chomper Cidery if you venture out of the park!
Ranger Review: GRAYSON HIGHLANDS STATE PARK-Hickory Ridge Campground.
Every once in a while you end up staying somewhere and think…this was just unreal, I don’t want to leave. That’s what I experienced at Grayson Highlands State Park.
Grayson Highlands is expansive. It was a two mile drive from the Contact Center to the campground entrance… passing by a scenic view turnoff on the right, with long valley views.
At over 4300 ft, even at the end of June it got downright cold at night. Hiking trails are abundant, some higher than 5200 ft, the AT passes by and the Wild ponies of Grayson Highlands inhabit these heights.
You have several campsite options, from Electric/Water sites, Standard sites (no water/electric), Specific Sites (Reservable), Yurts, cabins to Equestrian sites. And a range of pricing depending on choice.
Without reservations, I rolled up and got the last available site (or so I was told). It has been a very, very long time since I have stayed at a full campground…and that even on a Wednesday night. So I was out of my element…and struggle a bit with the closeness of neighbors and noise. ..along with competing for a place at the shower, restroom or sink station. It wasn’t awful, just not the freedom I am use to primitive or backcountry camping. Site SP 54 set me back $30 a night as a non-resident. Virginians see a discounted rate.
The yurts appear newer, and the Pinnacle Yurt (#3) not only has a massive 360 degree deck like the others…the deck stretches out over the mountainside with a railed boardwalk, incorporating the huge rocks.
Restroom/shower house is clean and stocked. The shower was the hottest I’ve ever experienced. There are two private single shower rooms between the men and women’s restrooms and one shower in the men’s restroom. The wash sink for dishes is outside at the north end of the same building and also doubles as the water spigot. I guess they covered all the campground water spigots because of the current health issue and centralized it to one location. Not certain but doesn’t make much sense or make things convenient with a full campground.
Being a mountainous region, most tent pads and pull in drives appeared fairly level, except ours, which may be why it was the only one available…only a partial piece of wood remained of the “elevated tent pad.” The likely tent area was between half a dozen trees and a dirt/pea gravel mix. As long as it didn’t rain our tent site would work out okay.
On our circle, there was very minimal ground vegetation and distance between sites, so you can always see and hear your neighbors. Our neighbor’s eating area was less than ten feet from our tent pad. Not ideal, especially for Virginia State Park pricing, which in most cases is double to triple what I’ve paid for tent camping in seventeen other states I’ve camped in across the U.S. But you’ve got to pay the fiddler if you want to dance. Virginians get s healthy discounted rate.
“Fill-in” hosts (the Smith’s) were fabulous, kind and helpful. May their tribe increase! Drove around the wood cart in the evening for purchase which was helpful as well. Good sized bundle was $6 at the time of this review. They also manned the Outpost located in the campground where you could buy a few things.
With that in mind, bring or buy whatever you need because it’s a long haul to find groceries.
We drove 8 miles (25 minutes) to two different stores to find hot dogs and buns for lunch and dinner. The first had hot dogs but no buns…pass. The second gave us both from their back room stock. A Mennonite women brought in her pastries while we were there so we bought apple fritters, and several fold over mini pies, black raspberry, cherry and chocolate. Very tasty breakfast snacks.
Trails: miles upon miles…all clearly marked. Trails that lead to 180 degree views, trails that lead to 360 degree views, AT trails, trails to waterfalls and cascades, trails through rolling fields covered in flowering berry bushes, dark-cool-wooded trails, rocky trails, root covered trails, trails with wild ponies…tons of trails!
The Visitors center, oddly, is on the opposite side of the park but a treat to visit…as you will learn and see the history of the area…and find some nice trinkets to purchase.
Backpackers can pay a nominal $8 fee and leave there vehicles in a specific parking lot close to the AT. But you also must call ahead to make reservations. Countless backpacking folk of all ages were either coming or going.
There are playgrounds for the kids both in the campground proper and in the picnic and Homestead area further down the park roadway. A beautiful sprawling picnic area where the kids can run wild and parents can relax.
We stayed here just a few nights ago. Pros include a wide space for picnicking, throwing a frisbee, or attending the weekly events the owners hold on Saturdays. The only downside was that the spaces were a bit closer than expected. I would recommend reserving in advance and try to get a spot along the trout creek that runs right by the camp for the best views!
This is the first time I have stayed in a yurt, and it was definitely a learning experience. First of all, it is a cross between a tent and a cabin, and it has no electricity, bathroom, or running water. This was not so bad since the campground bath house was only a couple of hundred feet away. However, the temperatures were in the lower 90s outside, and once we walked inside the yurt, it was like walking into an oven. The temperature had to be somewhere around 110 degrees inside. Immediately after opening the door, opening the window and opening the canvas window coverings, we could feel the heat pouring out of the yurt. Fortunately, I had two 100-foot extension cords and a fan in our car. I plugged into the closest campsite and ran the cord to the yurt. There is no way we could have stayed in the yurt without the fan, so if you decide to stay in a yurt at this park during the summer, make sure to take extension cords and at least one fan. One thing that my wife and I found strange was that there were handrails along the three steps to the deck around the yurt, but there were no handrails beside the rougher steps leading to the yurt. Once we got the yurt cooled off to a decent temperature(high 70s), it wasn’t too bad. It had a queen bed and a trundle bed, which our grandson stayed on. A couch, side tables, and a dining table was also inside. The overall appearance inside the yurt was pleasant, and there was a picnic table and rocking chairs on the outside on the deck. There was also a fire pit, another picnic table, and a lantern hanger included with this yurt on the ground outside of the deck area. You will have to take your own linens for the beds—a queen and a single. There are two campgrounds in this state park, and each one is quite different. The Lover’s Leap campground has space for larger RVs and appears to be the newer of the two campgrounds. Although there are playgrounds, a swimming complex, an amphitheater, and much more, some of these venues are closed for the season due to the pandemic. The one thing I was really looking forward to(the chairlift) is only open on weekends. However, we were able to hike a couple of trails and see the natural tunnel. There are also cabins in the campground and they have a variety of sleeping arrangements of up to sixteen people in one cabin. The historical background of the state park is varied and extensive, so there are a lot of things to see within the park and surrounding the park. My wife and I decided we really want to come back and camp here again when we have more time. Overall, the campground has a lot of opportunities for different types of camping, and a lot to do, but if you stay in a yurt, be prepared.