The Peaks of Otter - Sharp Top, Flat Top, and Harkening Hill - are three distinct mountains in the vicinity of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Several centuries ago, it was believed by Thomas Jefferson that the Peaks of Otter - along with the Blue Ridge Mountains in general - are the tallest peaks in the United States, but of course, this was later proved wrong, although not before stones were sampled from the Peaks of Otter and sent to be part of the Washington Monument. Hiking trails lead to each of the three peaks, and two of the three peaks provide excellent views. In fact, the rocky pinnacle at the summit of Sharp Top Mountain provides a 360-degree panorama that overlooks the Virginia Piedmont and the Blue Ridge Mountains that are scattered through the area. This hike occurred on Friday, November 25th, 2016. My plan was to hike the Sharp Top Mountain Trail out and back from Abbot Lake. I would make the short side trip to Buzzards Roost - a separate rock formation and viewpoint - along the way. This hike was the fourth of seven hikes that I did during a four-day Thanksgiving trip to the mountains of western Virginia.
Virginia is known for its mountain vistas much more than for its streams and waterfalls. Interestingly, much of the terrain in the mountains of Virginia is not very supportive for large waterfalls, so when your Virginia hike takes you to a waterfall that is around two hundred feet high, it can be considered something special for sure. This hike visits Apple Orchard Falls. At 200 feet high, this waterfall is one of the highest in Virginia. Furthermore, the popular loop along North Creek, Apple Orchard Branch, and Cornelius Creek is one of the most beautiful stream hikes in George Washington and Jefferson National Forest and perhaps in all of Virginia. This hike occurred on Friday, November 25th, 2016. My plan was to hike the Apple Orchard Falls/Cornelius Creek Loop clockwise, by first following the Apple Orchard Falls Trail to and past Apple Orchard Falls. Then, I would hike the Cornelius Creek Spur Trail to the Cornelius Creek Trail, finishing the loop by taking the Cornelius Creek Trail back to the trailhead. This hike was the third of seven hikes that I did during a four-day Thanksgiving trip to the mountains of western Virginia.
Year 1: 540.0 Miles
Year 2: 552.3 Miles
Year 3: 518.4 Miles
Year 4: 434.5 Miles