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Mt. Rogers Recreation Area offers backpackers just about everything

If you need an Eastern version of the Absaroka’s vast, post-tree line ruggedness, I give you the Mt. Rogers National Recreation Area in Southwest Virginia. A unique “U” section of the AT drops through the region and is wrapped up in a twisting, loop-hiker’s paradise of perpetual weekend to week-long options for connecting to and from it, highlighted by dirty gray fins and craggy formations hanging on after eons of erosion to a section of the world’s oldest mountains. In few places can one gain access to such seemingly isolated backcountry from a multitude of easy access highways, major and secondary, providing those in the know with a number of ways around the more populated regions.

I spent my weekend on an AT/Crest Trail/Scales Trail loop that started from Massie Gap. We experienced consistent winds that were bold enough to push us into the tent before the fire got hot enough to stand its ground but also took in a night sky perforated with enough stars to rival its western desert counterparts, Milky Way and all.

For what one looks for in a weekend backpack, the Mt. Rogers National Recreation Area is damn hard to beat.

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