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

Hello, my name is Sarah Long. I was born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee. In 1997, I moved to Boone, North Carolina to attend Appalachian State University. I received my degree in Theatre Education and spent 6 years in Charlotte, North Carolina teaching before being given the opportunity to move back to the High Country in 2007. I began practicing Real Estate in 2007 with a small firm in Blowing Rock, before helping to open a Real Estate Franchise in the area in 2010. As the franchise grew, I began to realize my desire to get back to my roots and have more of a local connection. In 2018 I launched 828 Real Estate and fulfilled my decade long dream of owning a real estate firm in Beautiful Downtown Boone!!


I feel so blessed to live in the High Country of North Carolina with my husband Matt, a local General Contractor, and our two children, Sadie Rose and Levi. We attend Alliance Bible Fellowship in Boone. I love spending time outdoors and with my family. Between spending summers on the river or hiking and winters playing on the ski mountains- the High Country doesn’t disappoint with opportunities to enjoy God’s creation~!


I am a member of The High Country Association of Realtors, the North Carolina Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors. I stay involved in the Young Peoples Network through the local board of Realtors. This group allows me to stay up to date on the latest technology and marketing for Realtors. I am also a member of the Boone Chamber of Commerce and High Country Local First.


I am a licensed real estate broker in North Carolina and successfully completed the REALTOR e-PRO course to become one of a select few real estate professionals to earn the prestigious certification offered through the National Association of REALTORS.® The REALTOR e-PRO certification course is an educational program unlike any other professional certification or designation course available, comprehensive and interactive. It is specifically designed to provide real estate professionals with the technology tools needed to assist consumers in the purchase or sale property.