Thomas Jefferson once wrote that "the mountains of the Blue Ridge, and of these the Peaks of Otter, are thought to be of a greater height, measured from their base, than any others in our country, and perhaps in North America." All three hikes are moderate and wow with sweeping views from the summit. When you enter Peaks of Otter Recreation Area turn right on the Blue Ridge Parkway heading north for 2.5 mi. So, begin the hike at the Johnson Farm Loop Trail. Live Entertainment Continue on past Harkening Hill. [8] You can also visit orchards and vineyards of the descendants of the Johnson and Gross families, who have been living in the area since the late 1800s. peaks of otter - johnson farm trail. Built in 1854, the farm was occupied by members of the Johnson family until the early-1940’s. Honestly, I was very confused when I reached these two trail signs. Here you will see a trail sign on the left for the Harkening Hill Loop Trail. 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. Trail Access: From Bedford, VA follow VA-43 north for 10.3 mi. At the 1-mile mark, you’ll see a fork in the trail and a trail sign. The National Park Service preserves the peaks and lake as part of the Blue Ridge Parkway. These peaks are Sharp Top, Flat Top, and Harkening Hill. Erin Virginia Mountains 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. Peaks of Otter is one of only two places along the Parkway where you can stay without driving to a nearby community. At the .7-mile mark, you’ll see a trail sign. Nestled between these mountains is Abbott Lake. Near Buchanan, Virginia. There are three ways to reach Harkening Hill in Jefferson National Forest. Turn right for Harkening Hill. This next step is critical. #1: Harkening Hill Hike. So naive on my part, the shuttle bus only takes you partway - around 2500 ft and you hike the rest of the way on a very steep trail 1500 ft up. It’s a large boulder balanced on a small rock. At the 1.3-mile mark, you’ll see a trail sign to turn left onto a spur trail for Balance Rock. When you enter Peaks of Otter Recreation Area turn right on the Blue Ridge Parkway heading north for 2.5 mi. By the 1920’s, the resort complex grew to include two main buildings, several cottages and various other outbuildings. Phone: 540-586-7682; View Map > … The resort closed in the late-1930’s, but received reservation requests for years to come. Harkening Hill comes into view on the right at the 2.2-mile mark. Peaks of Otter Lodge 85554 Blue Ridge Pkwy, Bedford, VA 24523 . In another 300 feet, you will reach Balance Rock. 37920. The Peaks of Otter is formed by the triangulation of three mountains: Sharp Top Mountain, with a summit of 3875 feet; Flat Top Mountain, whose peak is at 4001 feet; and Harkening Hill, whose apex reaches 3372 feet. From the trailhead, it’s a gradual ascent through the leafy forest to Harkening Hill. From the east end of the parking area for the Peaks of Otter visitor center, follow the easy .3-mile walking path until you reach the directional trail sign for Harkening Hill. Drinking water should be carried as none is available at the top. A Leisurely Hike Across Tidal Marshes at Windsor Castle Park in Smithfield, Sand Cave: Hike to a Geological Wonder in Southwest Virginia, Dragon’s Tooth: Slay This Bucket List Hike in Southwest Virginia, A Scenic Hike to the Top of Woodstock Tower. Post-hike, it’s an easy walk to the Peaks of Otter Lodge across the street. http://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/blri/johnson_farm_hrs.pdf, "Thor Ewing's Scottish Clans: Clan Ewing", "Blue Ridge Parkway Lodging | Peaks of Otter Lodge", "Peaks of Otter - Virginia Is For Lovers", "B-25 Crash Site, Sharp Top Mountain, Virginia", "Facility Details - PEAKS OF OTTER CAMPGROUND, VA", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Peaks_of_Otter&oldid=970234193, Protected areas of Bedford County, Virginia, Protected areas of Botetourt County, Virginia, Wikipedia articles with WorldCat-VIAF identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 30 July 2020, at 02:38. By the 1870s, Benjamin Wilkes had opened the famous Mons Hotel, and the Peaks of Otter was home to over 20 families, a school, a church, and the hotel. This 2.8-mile out-and-back hike begins and ends at the trailhead behind the visitor center. "[2] This view may be given credence by similarly Otter-themed place names in Scotland, and the resemblance of Flat Top to Beinn Dorain in the ancestral Ewing area of Argyll and Bute. Peaks of Otter hiking trails Virginia is located on milepost 86 on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. There is a small memorial on a rock at the top of the site, but the majority of the plane can still be found along the mountain. At the 1.4-mile mark, you’ll see Harkening Hill on the left. The view is indescribable still. Enjoy the panoramic views from the rock outcropping and snap a photo of the summit sign. Find the perfect otter valley stock photo. Before you re-trace your steps to the visitor center, walk past Harkening Hill along the trail. European settlers started establishing the area in the mid-1700s. Turn right for the Balance Rock. In fact, it’s a slightly shorter hike if you tackle this one as an out-and-back hike. Here are the options. At this point, turn left to continue on to Johnson Farm. On this site once stood the Hotel Mons, a popular mountain resort. Being so close to both Roanoke and Bedford, VA, one can also combine activities like View Map > Visit Website > View Details > Elk Run Loop Trail. 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). I just followed the matted grass and was able to find my way to the resumption of the trail. You’ll reach a clearing at the 1.4-mile mark. Be sure to savor the views of Sharp Top from Abbott Lake, just behind the lodge. North Lime Donut Dash 3K VIRTUAL. Enjoy the panoramic views from the rock outcropping and snap a photo of the summit sign. In 700 feet, you’ll reach a spur trail. There are three main peaks; Flat Top, Sharp Top, and Harkening Hill in order from highest peak altitude to lowest peak altitude. There is a second trail sign a few steps further for the Johnson Farm Loop Trail. Directions: Peaks of Otter is located about ten miles northwest of Bedford. This 3.2-mile loop hike begins just east of the visitor center – across from Peaks of Otter Lodge – and ends behind the visitor center. This was my second peak of the three hikes here at Peaks of Otter and I still recommend it. From the east end of the parking area for the Peaks of Otter visitor center, follow an easy .3-mile walking path until you reach the directional trail sign for Harkening Hill. The summit offers an impressive 360-degree view of the Peaks … Johnson Farm trail includes the living history museum of the 1930s Johnson family farm. I was awed by the wide-reaching views from Harkening Hill, and thankful for the quiet and serenity of this lightly-trafficked, leafy trail. From the Peaks of Otter visitor center, walk behind the building, just past the outdoor amphitheater. 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. Peaks of Otter Christmas Classic 5k. Lynn Gartner Dunne, LLP Rob's Run 5K. Very rocky trail with similar view to Sharp Top Mountain but very different hikes. There is a beautiful rock outcropping to sit on and enjoy the sweeping northwest views. 85554 Blue Ridge Parkway. View Details. On the summit of the far side of Sharp Top is the site where a B-25 bomber crashed into the mountain during a training exercise during World War II. In a few steps you will reach a clearing. You’ll encounter some modest switchbacks along the way, but nothing terrible. There was not a huge elevation change and it was a two-fer in that I was able to explore both the restored farmhouse and the foliage-filled rocky summit. For those who cannot hike 1.5 mile and 1,300 ft elevation gain trail up to the top of Sharp Top, there is a shuttle service that people up to within … It consists of three mountain peaks centered on man-made Abbott Lake in the small valley between them. They include Sharp Top (altitude 3,875 feet); Flat Top (4,004 feet) and Harkening Hill (3,375 feet). 24523. At the visitor center you can get trail advice and maps and also join ranger led activities. They are actually a series on mountains overlooking the town of Bedford. You can stay in the nearby Peaks of Otter Lodge or campground, or in Bedford (20 min drive away). No need to register, buy now! But in the running as one of the prettiest, easiest hikes in the state, the Abbott Lake Trail at the Peaks Of Otter along the Blue Ridge Parkway is a peaceful yet spectacular destination! The Peaks of Otter are three mountain peaks in the Blue Ridge Mountains, overlooking the town of Bedford, Virginia, which lies nine miles (14 km) to the southeast along State Route 43. The Peaks of Otter are beautiful mountains in the Blue Ridge and I’ll post a photo or two of them. Sharp Top is the most famous hike with its spectacular 360° view at the top. I hiked all three Peaks of Otter in the same weekend (including Flat Top, which shares a parking lot with the refreshing Fallingwater Cascades Trail). Near the .5-mile mark, you will reach a fork in the trail. Walk past this first sign that indicates a left turn to Johnson Farm. 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 . At the sign, turn left to begin the modest ascent up the trail. The trail descends and you’ll encounter some mild switchbacks before exiting the trail at the 3.6-mile mark at the back of the visitor center’s outdoor amphitheater. One of the families included the Johnson family, which lived for 3 generations until the 1930s on the now-preserve Johnson farmstead. Lodging includes the Peaks of Otter Lodge and the Peaks of Otter campground. From the trail-head to the first good overlook is about 1 mile. #2: Harkening Hill Loop Hike. But is well worth it for the views at the top! There’s a tunnel under the Blue Ridge Parkway steps from the Johnson Farm Loop trailhead. I ended up ascending the first trail and doing the Johnson Farm Loop, without Harkening Hill. From atop the peaks, the nearbytown of Bedford can be seen. The wreckage was never removed, as it was too heavy and the side of the mountain was too steep to retrieve it. Admittedly, there are so many beautiful trails in Virginia that it’s hard to pick just one. Abbott Lake, the lake at the base of the peaks, was man made and created in 1964 along with the official Peaks of Otter Lodge, which still stands today.[3][4]. View Details. It was a cool day, starting around freezing and getting up to the low 40’s. Turn left for Harkening Hill and Balance Rock. Modern visitors can stay the night at historic Peaks of Otter Lodge, explore the visitor center, visit Johnson Farm, or hike a trail. I want you to avoid this situation. [5] There is a flat, one-mile paved trail around Abbott Lake along with a 1.6-mile-loop trail to a waterfall roughly 2 miles north on the Blue Ridge Parkway. In 1834 the first local inn was created by Polly Wood, a widower who opened an "Ordinary" in her log cabin where settlers could stay the night and get a warm meal. Continue on past Harkening Hill. There are several options for hiking- Sharp Top Trail and Flat Top Trail allow visitors the challenge to summit the peaks while the Abbott Lake Trail offers views of the beautiful lake. Enjoy all three or just have a leisurely walk around the lake. The 24-acre lake features a one-mile loop trail, and is stocked with smallmouth bass, catfish, golden shiners, sunfish, and blue gill. RESERVATIONS 866-387-9905 While you can hike to the farm from the Peaks of Otter Visitor Center, it is a.3-mile walk (.6-mile round trip) just to get to the start of the trail. Starting in the 1800s, the surrounding community opened their homes and lodges to guests hoping to relax and rejuvenate in the mountains. Visitors can take free tours of the farmhouse from June–September. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are also available at the lodge (and in Bedford) and there is a bar in the lodge. You’ll see some cool boulders along the way, then the second balance rock appears on the left at the 2.1-mile mark. Gorgeous views of the Peaks of Otter … Sun 12/6/20 Knoxville, TN US. The restored farm includes a farmhouse, weaving shed and apple house. Do all you can to pretend this sign does not exist. Visit Website >. It’s all downhill for 300 feet until you reach the engaging rock formation. Unless you are a glutton for exercise, there is a closer trailhead near the front parking lot of the Peaks of Otter Lodge, which is a half mile farther north. For those who cannot hike 1.5 mile and 1,300 ft elevation gain trail up to the top of Sharp Top, there is a shuttle service that people up to within a 15-minute walk from the top. 85554 Blue Ridge Parkway. Southeast Topo Map: Peaks of Otter, VA KML Custom Maps AT074T.kmz is a free KML custom map of the Appalachian Trail (Section 74) that you can download and view in Google Maps®, Google Earth® and Garmin® handheld GPS devices including the eTrex®, Colorado and Montana series. Once you’ve snapped photos at Balance Rock, re-trace your steps on the spur trail, then turn left to hike back to the visitor center. There are three main peaks; Flat Top, Sharp Top, and Harkening Hill in order from highest peak altitude to lowest peak altitude. They drove me back to the trail after we stopped to get coffee at a small country store. The Hotel Mons opened in 1857. What exactly are the Peaks of Otter? #3: Harkening Hill + Johnson Farm Loop Hike. There are no trail markers. Johnson Farm is a historically restored site along one of the side trails towards Harkening Hill. You’ll reach a clearing at the .9-mile mark. The Peaks of Otter. For such a short trail to the peak, it will give you quite a workout with multiple series of steps throughout the hike. Peaks of Otter Lodge. [6][7] A bigger, more recent D-Day Memorial is located in Bedford. Peaks of Otter Visitor Center: Updated trails - See 155 traveller reviews, 179 candid photos, and great deals for Virginia, at Tripadvisor. The house and surrounding structures and elements were interesting to visit and, like most living history museums, only staffed seasonally. There is also a small visitor center run by the National Park Service. Trail gets to be more of a scramble towards the ascent and the trailheads are harder to find but you can still make it through. Note that the trailhead for options #2 and #3 is an easy 0.3-mile walk from the visitor center. Blue Ridge Parkway – Peaks of Otter Trails. Other theories for the naming off the Peaks of Otter include the anglicizing of the Cherokee word "Otari" meaning "high places" or the naming of the mountains after the Otter River, which starts nearby and presumably got named for otters downstream. From the Peaks of Otter Visitor Center, travel north up the Blue Ridge Parkway for about 3 miles, where you will come to small parking area. The 24-acre lake features a one-mile loop trail, and is stocked with smallmouth bass, catfish, golden shiners, sunfish, and blue gill. You don’t need to do this as a loop. In a few more steps, you will reach Johnson Farm, a settlement that at one time included 22 families, a church and a school, as well as the Hotel Mons. At the 1.2-mile mark, you’ll see a trail sign. At milepost marker 86 of the Blue Ridge Parkway stands the Peaks of Otter. Huge collection, amazing choice, 100+ million high quality, affordable RF and RM images. There’s a short spur trail that begins at the east end of the parking lot. This is where to begin if you want to add on Harkening Hill without re-tracing your steps. Just behind the visitor center and ends at the summit sign the modest ascent up trail! 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