2022 Grand Design Momentum
2022 Grand Design Momentum
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2020 Cherokee 274RK. Sitting on 300 feet of the New River in Crumpler NC.
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William Barton Rogers was a well-regarded teacher at the University of Virginia between 1835 and 1853, the first Virginian state geologist, and the founder of Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In honor of his achievements, Mount Rogers was named for him in the late 1800s. Mount Rogers National Recreation Area was officially established in 1966. Today, it is a subset of the Jefferson National Forest. Mount Rogers National Recreation Area is a pastoral Virginia landscape with its gently rolling mountains blanketed by soft suede green forests.
The closest large town is Marion, which is a small town of around 6,000 residents. The town boasts a Walmart store and a small community hospital. It’s a little under 10 miles to the northwest. Marion is best known as being the birthplace of Mountain Dew, a popular cola drink. Although Mountain Dew was actually created in Knoxville, TN, a Marion resident adjusted the recipe to its current iteration, and the Pepsi Cola company purchased this new version. As a result, the town has hosted the Mountain Dew Festival for a number of years.
Mount Rogers National Recreation Area encompasses around 200,000 acres of thick forests consisting of Appalachian hardwood and pine forests. Clad in green, the mountains rise from the valley floors like turtle backs emerging from a sea. Mount Rogers is the highest point in Virginia, just barely topping 5,700 feet. The mountaintop is treed, and to gain a view of the surrounding peaks, adventurers must shimmy their way up a tree to above the leafy canopy.
Over 500 miles of multi-use hiking trails wind and weave through Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, a portion of which includes the mighty Appalachian Trail, Virginia Creeper Trail, and Virginia Highland Horse Trail. About 78 miles of the 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail, which starts and ends in Maine and Georgia, passes through Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. The tail end of the Virginia Creeper Trail, a rail-to-trail recreation trail, terminates in Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. All of the 67-mile Virginia Highland Horse Trail meanders and serpentines through Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. In addition to being horse-friendly, the trails are also open to mountain bikers.
While exploring the woods of Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, keep an eye out for a herd of wild ponies, which roam freely in this area. The herd is one of the few wild herds on the east coast, and though no one knows what their true origins are, records show that they were known to reside in the area as early as the 1940s. The woods are also home to over 50 federally endangered or threatened species of animals and plants, including the Balsam Fir and Golden-winged Warbler. Bring a camera to photograph these precious critters for proof.
Mount Rogers National Recreation Area RV campgrounds are known to be quite picturesque. A handful of the campgrounds are all set in deep woods, and it’s not uncommon to step out the front door of an Airstream rental to find a small herd of deer nibbling on moss in a nearby clearing. Grindstone Recreation Area RV campground near Chilhowie, VA, has around 100 sites, a majority of which have electric and water hookups. All campers can access drinking water, and there are restrooms with flush toilets and warm showers.
Alternatively, RV camp near Wytheville, at the Stony Fork Campground. Of the 54 sites, 10 have electric and water hookups. This campground similarly has restrooms with flush toilets and warm-water showers.
Raccoon Branch Campground outside Sugar Grove, VA, is open year-round. However, water is available only seasonally. In winter, there are no water hookups (electric is available, though) and no flush toilets. The smaller campground has around 20 sites, seven of which have hookups. There is an on-site dump station, too.
The backwoods of Virginia are full of history and local charm, and one has to only hop into a rental motorhome to explore them all. Many towns operate museums, historical societies, and landmarks to honor their heritage. In Saltville, is the Museum of the Middle Appalachians, which houses replicas of wooly mammoths and other ice-age mammals that once roamed Virginia 15,000 years ago. Visitors can also learn about the role the town played in the Civil War.
A local curiosity and roadside attraction can be found near Marion, VA. In the 1940s, a homeowner built his home out of brick, glass bottles, and mortar. Being a private property, it is not open to tours; however, people are welcome to enjoy the unique architecture from the side of the road. Explore the other local historical landmarks like the Mansion in Fort Chiswell, VA. Built-in 1939, the mansion was deliberately designed to be a utilitarian yet imposing home, and it played a key role in America’s progress into the Wild West. The mansion is open to tours during the summer months.
Whether you seek a glimpse into America’s past or adventures in Virginia’s woods - or both, you’ll find it when you go RV camping in Mount Rogers National Recreation Area.