Mount Rogers 04Mount Rogers is the highest natural point in the Commonwealth of Virginia, USA, with a summit elevation of 5,729 feet (1,746 m) above mean sea level. It lies in Grayson and Smyth Counties, Virginia, about 6.45 miles (10.38 km) WSW of Troutdale, Virginia, within the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area and Jefferson National Forest.

The mountain is named for William Barton Rogers, a Virginian educated at the College of William & Mary, who taught at William & Mary and the University of Virginia, became Virginia’s first State Geologist and went on to found the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Mount Rogers 27The summit is most easily accessed from Grayson Highlands State Park by following the Appalachian Trail southbound for 3.5 miles (5.6 km) to a blue-blazed trail leading to the summit, which is covered by trees and marked with four National Geodetic Survey triangulation station disks; a standard station disk marked with an equilateral triangle and three standard reference disks marked with arrows pointing towards the station disk. One reference disk has been obscured by dense overgrowth. Because the Appalachian Trail passes within a half mile of the summit, the area is especially popular with hikers.

Mount Rogers is the northernmost habitat of the high-altitude Southern Appalachian spruce-fir forests, which are found in only five other locations in the United States: the Great Smoky Mountains, the Black Mountains, the Great Balsam Mountains, Grandfather Mountain, and Roan Mountain. Mount Rogers 30This forest type is one of the few remaining habitats of the Fraser fir, which is only found at high elevations, typically above 5,500 feet (1,700 m), in the southern Appalachian Mountains.

These forests have suffered recent declines due to infestations by the balsam woolly adelgid (Adelges piceae), a non-native insect that originated in Europe. It first infested Mount Rogers in 1962 and the entire U.S. population of Fraser firs suffered a 67% mortality rate since, although Mount Rogers was not affected as severely as other locations.

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