hemlock, peaks & ponies
Start at the Massie Gap Trailhead and head clockwise on the Appalachian Trail up to Wilburn Ridge. Wilburn Ridge Trail joins the AT up to Mount Rogers Spur Trail #4590. There is a shelter along the Spur Trail, with a loft. Several Privy stations along the trail too. Bag the summit. The first large rock on the summit has the USGS medallion and just across from it another identical medallion.
Back down the Spur Trail to the Crest Trail. Take the Crest Trail to loop. Cross over the Scales Trail and rejoin up with the AT. Trails divide and wind around through this area with undulating terrain. Ponies are everywhere in small groups as well as Long Horn Cattle. There are many camping areas and campers.
Other loop variations are possible with Pine Mountain Trail, Scales Trail, Virginia Highlands Horse Trail and Bearpen Trail.
Check out the Official Route and Triplog.
This is a moderately difficult hike.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.