Day Trip Idea Near Boone: Grayson Highlands State Park

Adult pony and cattle in Grayson Highland State Park.

Adventure awaits in the 828 AND in many places very close to the 828!

In August, our family finally found the time to head to the Grayson Highlands State Park in Northwest Virginia, only about an hour’s drive from Boone, for a day trip.  The 4,500 Acre state park features hiking, camping, horse trails, waterfalls, wild ponies, access to the Appalachian Trail and more!  The views are unlike any others we have seen on the east coast.  The mountains, also called balds, are rocky in appearance and perfect for the kiddos to climb on.

Children with pony at Grayson Highland State ParkMeet the Wild Ponies

The balds are inhabited by a herd of introduced ponies allowed to run wild inside the park. The ponies are accustomed to humans and rarely stop what they are doing as hikers pass close by. Visitors to the park are discouraged from petting the ponies, but as you can see from the photos, the kids could not help themselves.  We also saw large cattle with horns that looked like bulls! They were a little intimidating, but left us alone.

Explore the Park Trails

There are also trails that you can ride horses on and trails for biking.  Be sure to stay on the trail!  We got lost several times trying to avoid mud on the trail by taking “short cuts”. I would encourage visitors of the park to have a plan mapped out ahead of time as there are many different trails and they are not all marked clearly.  There are everything from a 2 mile hike, up to however far you wish to go.  We did 9 miles and so did our 8 lb puppy!  If she can do it, anyone can. If you prefer to hot the waterway- they even offer canoe trips down the New River in the park.

Have a State Park Vacation!

If you want to make it a longer stay and explore more areas of the park, there is camping and even cabin rentals.  Grayson Highlands really has so much to offer, next time we will make it more than a day trip! Happy Adventuring!

About the Author

I am a native of Knoxville, Tennessee, but I have been in North Carolina since1997 when I moved to Boone to attend Appalachian State University. I earned my degree in Theatre Education and Communications. While at ASU I met my husband, Matt Long, a Boone native and general contractor, and gained a heart for these mountains and my beloved ASU Mountaineers. After graduation, I spent 5 years teaching in Charlotte before being given the opportunity to move back to the High Country. In 2007 I earned my NC Real Estate License and began in full-time brokerage. In 2010 I helped to open a franchise brokerage in the High Country. I gained impactful knowledge and built important relationships during my 8 years there, but began to feel the calling to get back to my roots.

In June of 2018, my dream became a reality when I opened 828 Real Estate. We are a boutique brokerage that is locally focused, community-minded and client-driven. I feel so fortunate to be in a career that I love, have opportunities to serve wonderful clients, and get to work with the best team here at 828 Real Estate.

I am a member of The High Country Association of Realtors, the North Carolina Association of Realtors, the National Association of Realtors. I am a member the Boone Chamber of Commerce and I am on the board for the Downtown Boone Development Association. I have also completed the Realtor  e-Pro certification that specifically focuses on the technology tools needed in the purchase or sale of a property. Additionally, I have earned my CLHMS Designation. (Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist) and a qualified Affiliate. Over the years I have been awarded various Top Producer Awards. I am honored each year to be invited to the Top 50 Brokers in the High Country celebration.

My husband and I reside in downtown Boone and have 2 beautiful children, Sadie Rose and Levi. We attend Alliance Bible Fellowship and stay connected by serving the community and supporting local non-profits like Western Youth Network, The Appalachian Theatre and Valle Crucis Community Park. We love to spend time outside hiking, playing on the river, running with their dog, Emmie Lou, hitting the slopes and making the most of our time in this amazing place we get to call home!