Mount Rogers National Recreation Area
Located in southwest Virginia, the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area (NRA) manages approximately 200,000 acres of National Forest land near Mount Rogers. The area features four Congressionally designated wilderness areas; the Virginia Creeper Trail; the Mount Rogers Scenic Byway which traverses over 50 miles offering views of the National Recreation Area and open rural countryside; the 5000 acre Crest Zone featuring elevations over 4,000 feet, large rock formations, and a mixture of mountain balds and spruce-fir forests; a herd of wild, free-ranging ponies; and the highest elevated road in the state of Virginia leading to the summit of Whitetop Mountain.
Many activities are available in the area including camping, picnicking, sight-seeing, bird watching, trout fishing, hunting, hiking, bicycling, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, and swimming. The U.S. Forest Service has 3 rental cabins and 11 campgrounds in the Mount Rogers NRA, four of which are set up for horseback riders. There are over 500 miles of trails in the area, including 60 miles of the Appalachian Trail, 18 miles of the Virginia Creeper Trail, and 67 miles of the Virginia Highland Horse Trail. Over one million visitors come to Mount Rogers every year.
The Mount Rogers NRA was officially established and designated a National Recreational Area by the Secretary of Agriculture in 1966.
“Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Unites States of America in Congress assembled, That, in order to provide the public outdoor recreation use and enjoyment of the area in the vicinity of Mount Rogers, the highest mountain in the State of Virginia, and to the extent feasible the conservation of scenic, scientific, historic, and other values of the area, the Secretary of Agriculture shall establish the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area in the Jefferson National Forest in the State of Virginia” (Public law 89-438, 89th Congress, H.R. 140366. May 31, 1966).
The Mountain and National Recreation Area are named after William Barton Rogers; the first Virginian state geologist and founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).