Primitive Camping off the beaten path near a historic picnic area built by the CCC. A short hike will give you amazing 360 degree views of the Mt. Rogers district of Jefferson National Forest. Hale Lake is a short drive way - perfect for swimming, fishing or canoeing.

I didn't have any issues putting "Comers Rock Recreation Area" into my phone's GPS (Waze) and arriving exactly where I was supposed to. When you turn off US 21 (aka the Grayson Turnpike/Elk Creek Parkway) to Jefferson National Forest Road 57, you'll see a sign a parking lot that says "road not suitable for passenger cars". Drive at your own risk from here. Though the road is extremely rocky and muddy, my brother and I drove through without any problems (in a Pontiac Vibe and a Chevy Malibu). You'll drive down this road for 3.6 miles and end up in the Comers Rock Campground & Picnic area. You then have 6 first-come, first-served campsites to choose from. The campground has potable water available Mid April - the end of October.

Once you have camp setup, there are plenty of options for recreation fun!

  • You can hike some of the surrounding trails that disperse from the trailhead near the pit toilets. The hike I'd recommend is the short hike to the overlook (one-mile out-and-back). The 360 panoramic views from the former fire tower are not to be missed. You can also hike north into the Little Dry Run wilderness.
  • Driving another mile and a half west down JNFR 57 to Hale Lake where you can swim, fish, canoe, or kayak.
  • Cook up a feast at the historic picnic area! Be aware that the picnic area can be reserved online , otherwise the area is first-come, first-served. It will 
  • Bonus points for stargazers who hike to Comers Rock overlook! This area is technically closed at dusk (no camping), so hike at your own risk. The fire tower will yield thousands of stars above the silhouetted Ridge and Valley Appalachian mountains. Check a lunar calendar to see when the moon rises and sets for a chance to see the Milky Way (usually best seen to the south in the summer).

Resources:

Comers Rock Recreation Area page on the National Forest site

Map of Mt. Rogers District of Jefferson National Forest

Pack List

  • Fee to camp - $5/night
  • Your best travel companion (dogs welcome!)
  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag & pad
  • Camera & tripod
  • Food (s'mores are priority, right?)
  • Lantern/light
  • Sunblock
  • Fishing pole & bait
  • Canoe
  • Windbreaker/raincoat for windy overlook
Show More
RT Distance 1 Miles
Activities Stand Up Paddle, Canoeing, Chillin, Camping, Fishing, Photography, Mountain Biking, Kayaking, Backpacking, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Lake
Picnic Area
Scenic
Wildlife
Swimming Hole

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