Sharp Top, along with Flat Top and Harkening Hill, make up the namesake three "Peaks of Otter." There are a couple more overlooks, one called The Pinnacle and one called Cross Rock. Stay on the sidewalk and the trail head is to the left of the Camp Store. Blue Ridge Parkway – Peaks of Otter Trails. The summit offers an impressive 360-degree view of the Peaks of Otter area, The Piedmont to the East, and the Shenandoah Valley with the Allegheny Valley Mountains to the west. Modern visitors can stay the night at historic Peaks of Otter Lodge, explore the visitor center, visit Johnson Farm, or hike a trail. Of the three Peaks of Otter in Bedford, Virginia, Harkening Hill is the smallest (at an elevation of 3,364 feet) and most underrated of the three mountain peaks. DGIF encourages you to be safe while outdoors. 540.463.5375 The Flat Top Peak is the turn-around point of the hike unless you brought 2 cars and left one at the Flat Top Parking area in between BRP MP84 and MP83. These can be done as separate hikes or combined to make a hike of 9.8 miles. Peaks of Otter is formed by three mountains with Abbott Lake in the center valley - Sharp Top Mountain (3,875 feet), Flat Top Mountain (4,001 feet), and Harkening Hill (3,372 feet). The park also conducts various wildlife and outdoor programs throughout the tourist season. This was a hard trail. I took my time, stopped every 30-40 feet and totally enjoyed every moment. The trail is un-blazed but is well worn. lmeriwether@lynchburgchamber.org, Lexington-Rockbridge County Chamber of Comerce Of particular interest to nature enthusiasts may be Warbler Road, known as a great migrant “trap”, as well as breeding habitat for songbirds, or the Peaks of Otter, which is home to the endemic Peaks of Otter salamander. The trail for Sharp Top said strenuous and it was definitely difficult. Astronomy Join NASA JPL Solar System Ambassador Greg Redfern for engaging presentations about outer space! Parking is closer if you park at Sharp Top parking lot rather than Visitors Center. Visitors to Peaks of Otter follow a long-standing tradition of tourism. The third of the Peaks of Otter. Go about 0.1 miles and take a left crossing Route 43 again heading towards the lake. T he Johnson Farm, accessible by trail from the Peaks of Otter Visitor Center, is the one remaining property from the community that existed around this vacation resort prior to the building of the Blue Ridge Parkway.. We ran into a gentleman the day before our adventure up Sharp Top. bccoc@rbnet.com, Greater Lynchburg Convention & Visitors Bureau If you know your WW2 history, Bedford lost 19 young men during the 1st phase of the D-Day landings in Normandy, more than any other city in the U.S.A. of a comparable size. 434.369.6665 MPO01: James River Heritage Trail at Percival’s Island Natural Area, MPO03: Blackwater Creek Natural Area and Hiking Trails, MPO11: Claytor Nature Study Center of Lynchburg College, MPO11A: Johnson’s Orchards-Peaks of Otter Winery, Greater Lynchburg Convention & Visitors Bureau, Lexington-Rockbridge County Chamber of Comerce, Lexington-Rockbridge County Visitor Center, © 2020 Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources. You will cross over a paved bus road soon after beginning the hike. Bedford, Virginia --Five men of the armed forces, four lieutenants and one corporal, met instant death Tuesday night a little before 10 o'clock when a twin-engined army plane crashed into the Peaks of Otter on the southwest slope of … Spectacular views! View Details. The views at the top of Sharp Top and Flat Top are unbelievable. Download the Peaks of Otter trails map. 1-2 water bottle hike. We're both 31 and in reasonable shape. A gain of just under 1000 feet from the parking lot makes it a decent hike still, and it's not for the faint of heart even if it is the smallest! FIVE ARMY MEN DIE IN CRASH OF PLANE. In another 0.6 miles you will come to the spur trail on the right for the Flat Top peak and some great views towards Bedford and the Bedford reservoir. A very little bit of ice along the way with the major challenge simply being exposure at the top. To save time and effort, park at the lower lot (near the road) of the Peaks of Otter Lodge, which is just a half mile north of the Visitor Center. Beautiful. You will use this route later if you decide to do the Flat Top hike. This was definitely different for us. The Peaks of Otter TRACK Trail follows the Abbott Lake Trail for an easy 1-mile loop around the lake, and then the Johnson Farm Trail for a 1.8-mile loop that passes through Johnson Farm - a mountain farmstead that exists today as it did in the 1850's. If a site is still open, maintain CDC social distancing guidelines while enjoying the outdoors. Go early to avoid the weekend crush of college kids. On the banks of the lake lies the Peaks of Otter Lodge, the setting of which is truly spectacular (and exceptionally photogenic). This was a pleasant alternative route to the described out and back. Be sure to wear the proper footwear, ankle support will be a must because the trail is mixed with not so bad areas, and, some somewhat challenging spots to test your agility and stamina. Bear left and go about 0.2 miles to the top (we did not go to Buzzard’s Roost but it is supposed to also have good views). A little confusing if you follow the directions it takes you to the Intense elevation and many, many stairs. The hike up is not too bad but there are some tough sections. My intent was to hike FlatTop but decided to explore Cascade first. We started the sharp top hike around 10:50 and it was quite solitary. This is a loop that is sure to satisfy every wildlife-watching aspiration in the mountain region of Virginia, including views of the James River, stops along the Blue Ridge Parkway, historical sites, and large areas of neotropical breeding grounds. It consists of three mountain peaks centered on man-made Abbott Lake in the small valley between them. You will pass through thickets of Mountain Laurel that will be absolutely beautiful when they bloom in the Spring. Continue on the trail ignoring the next intersection, bear to the right at the next one heading across the earthen dam of Abbot Lake. He showed us a small plastic container behind a tree and under a rock behind the Polly Woods cabin to record our information and leave a message for others. The mountains of Peaks of Otter all have trails ranging from less than a mile to more than four miles, and there is nearby access to the Appalachian Trail. It's a pretty view, but there are better payoffs that aren't as crowded and don't have any stairs. Might be closed more going forward so check Parkway website for info. 434.845.5966 Sharp Top Hike: We parked and began the hike at the Peaks of Otter Visitor Center and crossed the BRP staying on the sidewalk for about 200 yards and then took a right across Route 43 heading to the Sharp Top parking area (you could also park here). Blue Ridge Parkway Peaks of Otter Trails SHARP TOP TRAIL 811/ National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior HILL 70 1.6 (LOOP) JOHNSON 1.6 NATIONAL PARK SERVICE Department of the Interior - 43 00 0 ó0NY CREEK TO 70 0 > 70 It was then I slowly backed away then ran (not smart, I know) faster than I ever had before in my life. The trailhead is located to the right of the building. Once thought to be the highest peak in Virginia, this 2.5 hour hike is one that will leave you speechless at the top. Behind the Peaks of Otter Lodge is Abbott Lake, named for Stanley William Abbott, the Parkway’s first resident landscape architect and planner. There is a parking lot on the eastern side and you will see a brown sign denoting the beginning of the Flat Top trail. From the Spur Trail take a left onto the Flat Top Trail and retrace your steps to return to the Visitor Center. Bedford, VA 24523. Retrace your steps to return to the Visitor Center for lunch/bathroom break or take a right at the Lake Trail to head towards the Flat Top trail head. I was going to hike Flat Top/Falling Water with a "maybe" for Sharp Top, but I got there early (8:15) and figured I could avoid the crowds. View all 32 archived reviews for the Peaks of Otter hike. I live close-by and head over to the Peaks whenever I fancy a quick workout. From the trail-head to the first good overlook is about 1 mile. The next 1.4 miles is a constant up with not many switchbacks until you reach the first overlooks. FAQ Is this trail known by any other names? But is well worth it for the views at the top! Information regarding closures is typically posted on a site's own website. From the Peaks of Otter Campground, Virginia, a visitor can easily explore the iconic mountains of the Blue Ridge Parkway. This is the view from the observation deck onto of Sharp Top...well worth the hike! However, we both really really enjoyed ourselves and the view from Sharp Top is so very worth it. Still, the views and scenic overlooks are well worth it. This route leads to the most modest of the Peaks of Otter. Starting in the 1800s, the surrounding community opened their homes and lodges to guests hoping to relax and rejuvenate in the mountains. Yes, this trail is also known as Appalachian Trail. They drove me back to the trail after we stopped to get coffee at a small country store. The primary activity at Peaks of Otter is hiking. Live Entertainment Enjoy the varied instruments, styles, and sounds of live Blue Ridge Mountain music select weekends! The hike wasn't especially difficult but it was challenging at times. This would be a great place to spend the weekend either at the Lodge or the nearby Campground. Park at the Peaks of Otter Nature Center (which is now closed). So if you are in shape or pace yourself this is a beautiful and fun trail to hike, the summit offers spectacular views. This loop offers venues that are all within sight of the Peaks of Otter, named for the three peaks at the headwaters of the Big Otter River. This is Sharp Top Mountain; picture taken from the Peaks of Otter Lodge. Continuation Route: From the Spur Trail take a right onto the Flat Top Trail, staying on the trail to the Flat Top Parking Area. 540.587.5681 Nice hike, good workout, and less crowded than neighboring Sharp Top. T he Peaks of Otter - Sharp Top, Flat Top, and Harkening Hill - have dominated the view in this region of Virginia for centuries, first attracting the attention of Native Americans who saw the area as a rich hunting ground. Passing the crowded parking lot at the trail head, we were forced to park at the nearby Cascade lot thus extending the hike … In contrast, you will probably run into very few hikers on Flat Top. The view from the top is well worth it and the view from Buzzard Rocks was pretty good as well. There is a stone cottage at the peak. The summit offers an impressive 360-degree view of the Peaks of Otter area, The Piedmont to the East, and the Shenandoah Valley with the Allegheny Valley Mountains to the west. We had lost power during the ear The start of this trail begins around mile marker 83.5 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, north of the Peaks of Otter Lodge. The first half was accomplished using flashlights to avoid the various rocks and roots along the way. Peaks of Otter Visitor Center We had heard of Peaks of Otter for years but had never visited it. Approximately 200 ft into the hike, I encountered what I had surmised to be a gigantic black trash bag in the distance...until it stood up! The 24-acre lake features a one-mile loop trail, and is stocked with smallmouth bass, catfish, golden shiners, sunfish, and blue gill. Sharp Top is the shorter of the two summit hikes and the most popular (and crowded); but even at 3.6 miles the elevation gain is quite steep and the workout is strenuous. The hikes can be done in combination or separately. Once I was done I drove over to the Flat Top parking area and did the hike as described elsewhere on HU. Other than that, the Sharp Top adventure was very exciting to experience. Views are magnificent though and definitely a must do for anyone hiking in the mid-Atlantic. I'm glad I did. Take plenty of water and some light weight snacks. Escape the bustle and experience an amazing hiking and camping trip. Inside the Peaks of Otter lodge. Altavista Area Chamber of Commerce He said that if we go to the Buzzards Roost trail, just a few feet inside the beginning of the spur to the left there was a little deer trail and if you follow it, you will find the plane wreckage from a B-25. Peaks of Otter Hiking Trails Sharp Top Trail (1.5 miles to the summit) This is the most popular trail at the Peaks and originates at the Nature Center across the Parkway from the Visitor Center. This loop offers venues that are all within sight of the Peaks of Otter, named for the three peaks at the headwaters of the Big Otter River. 2-ENGINED BOMBER HITS SIDE OF PEAKS. At the end of the dam take a right going past Polly Wood’s Ordinary. Be advised that some sites, even if still open, may have certain public facilities closed during this time. We are hiking novices, and it was a challenge, but not so much to deter our return to find that plane. info@lynchburgchamber.org, COVID-19 & the VBWT: Be Safe While Outdoors. Sharp Top Trail (1.5 miles) Sharp Top Trail is the most popular trail and originates at the campstore across the Parkway from the Visitor Center. Peaks of Otter - 10.40 Miles - From Don and Angela’s Cabin/Rt.43 @ 1441.1 To Wilson Creek Shelter - Day 142 was a good day after my cabin stop with Donny and Angela. There are multiple trails in the Peaks of Otter Recreation Area for all fitness levels but we decided to tackle the 2 toughest: Sharp Top and Flat Top. The length of the trail is 10.2 miles (16.4 km) or 22,660 steps.. How long does it take to hike the Appalachian Trail (Section 74)?. 540.586.9401 Tough workout but due to its length I would give the Sharp Top Hike 3 stars for difficulty...I would also have to lower Solitude to one star as there were dozens of people and dogs on the Sharp Top Trail today. There was two or three other groups in the distance but otherwise we didn't have any issues at all with crowd. Flat Top Hike: From the Visitor Center cross back across the BRP and then Route 43 taking a left at the intersection with the sign to the Lake Trail. We stayed at the Lodge on our vacation and were very intrigued by the possibilities for adventure. lexingtontourismdirector@rockbridge.net, Lynchburg Regional Chamber What is the length of the Appalachian Trail (Section 74)?. Gorgeous views of the Peaks of Otter and great hike to the top. The place is closed in the winter so there are no bathrooms or privy...at least I could not find one. We eyeballed each other, and he (or she) proceeded to scoop out lunch out of a tree stump. The Peaks of Otter Nature Center is the start point for this hike. Hike Abstract Location: Flat Top Mountain Overlook, Peaks of Otter Recreation Area, VA Distance from Hubs: Raleigh (161 miles – 3 hours and 6 min) Greensboro (125 miles – 2 hours and 23 min) Roanoke (32 miles – 55 min) Trail Access: From Bedford, VA follow VA-43 north for 10.3 mi. Note: Both hikes are out and back with the trails unblazed. I dispise climbing down stairs. Just off the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 85.6, the Harkening Hill trailhead begins (or ends) just behind the Peaks of Otter visitor center. They are short, but sweet, and by sweet I mean tough, about as tough mile for mile as you'll find anywhere in the state. Important! You can hike Flat Top from the Peaks of Otter Park or you can do as we did and access the trail head from a parking lot in the northeastern end of the park. There are three main peaks; Flat Top, Sharp Top, and Harkening Hill in order from highest peak altitude to lowest peak altitude. Neither is as dramatic as the Flat Top peak but they are good. sergei@visitbedford.com, Botetcourt County Chamber of Commerce Sharp Top is very popular and can get quite crowded due to its’ proximity to the Lodge and the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP). Just after crossing Route 43 there is an intersection on the left that leads to the Lake Trail. of Tourism Before heading out, first check with individual sites on the Virginia Bird & Wildlife Trail to find out whether they are still open to the public. 434.936.0990 Proceed to the outdoor amphitheater behind the center. 53 year old, pack a day smoker. Below: The trailhead sign; The Sharp Top bus takes riders close to the summit and is a great option for those not physically able to do the full hike; The trail starts off smooth and gentle – things soon change! Continue on the trail for about .3 of a mile and you will reach the Buzzard’s Roost Trail intersection. There are lots of switch backs on this part of the trail with the final leg being quite straight to the Parking area. This adds an extra .6-mile, round trip, to the hike. Hiking Peaks of Otter has some of the most popular hiking trails in Virginia! Cathy standing by the remains of one of the engines. altococ@att.net, Amherst County Chamber of Commerce For visitors that welcome a rich historical experience to their nature explorations, the Natural Bridge is an imperative must-see. The one linked here begins at the Peaks of Otter Lodge. View Details. Harkening Hill is a less crowded option, especially than the popular Sharp Top. Sharp Top is the most famous hike with its spectacular 360° view at the top. I run a few miles on the treadmill every day and he weightlifts. For such a short trail to the peak, it will give you quite a workout with multiple series of steps throughout the hike. We made our best attempt to follow this trail, only to find nothing. Visit Website > View Details > Falling Creek Park. The Peaks of Otter Park contains numerous other facilities which include restrooms, picnic facilities, hiking trails, campground, motel, and restaurant. 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