Grayson Highlands Wild Ponies
We headed back to a favorite spot of ours where you can see wild ponies called Grayson Highlands State Park. It is a two and half hour drive from the Charlotte, NC area, and it is definitely worth the drive to see the ponies and some majestic mountain views.
Near Mount Rogers and Whitetop Mountain, Virginia's two highest mountains, Grayson Highlands State Park offers scenic views of alpine-like peaks more than 5,000 feet high. Facilities include a visitor center, campgrounds, and hiking trails leading to waterfalls and overlooks. Scenic horse trails, camping areas, and access to the Appalachian Trail.
We usually find the ponies three quarters of a mile in on the Rhododendron Trail that goes straight up the hill. There is a more gradual trail slightly to the right as you face the hill. We generally see them in open grassy areas. We see them every visit, but if you are having trouble finding them, ask some of the other hikers that come down the trail. These Grayson Highland ponies are wild so bear that in mind when you approach them. Some will be friendly. Some will not. Some will be a little aggressive if they smell you have food on you. You are not supposed to touch them or feed them.
On this trip, the foals were very friendly. They voluntarily approached me, licked my hands and snuggled up against me. The full grown horses were more distant. There is a group designated that cares for these ponies to make sure stay they healthy.
While you are visiting, be sure to check out the rock outcroppings which are especially fun for those who love to climb. It is a good idea to pack snacks and a lunch as there isn't many places to eat nearby. There is a fee to enter the park. Be sure to check out this beautiful place.
On the way home we dined at the Riverhouse Inn and Restaurant in Grassy Creek, NC. They offer fine dining in elegant unpretensious fashion and musical entertainment from time to time. It was one fine trip especially for a day trip.