Turn right for the Balance Rock. In a few steps you will reach a clearing. 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. 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. The recreation area includes several miles of hiking trails to the peaks, a developed campground, and a lodge and restaurant. Visit Website >. From atop the peaks, the nearbytown of Bedford can be seen. Johnson Farm Trail. Near the .5-mile mark, you will reach a fork in the trail. Being so close to both Roanoke and Bedford, VA, one can also combine activities like It consists of three mountain peaks centered on man-made Abbott Lake in the small valley between them. At the .7-mile mark, you’ll see a trail sign. Peaks of Otter Lodge. The primary activity at Peaks of Otter is hiking. We decided to participate in a special program w/ Thomas Jefferson aka Bill Barker through Peaks of Otter, Poplar Forest, and the National Park Service. At milepost marker 86 of the Blue Ridge Parkway stands the Peaks of Otter. 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. Peaks of Otter hiking trails Virginia is located on milepost 86 on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. Very rocky trail with similar view to Sharp Top Mountain but very different hikes. In 1766 Thomas Wood and his family from Pennsylvania settled a homestead on the area; National Park Service documents[1] indicate other early residents included brothers Charles and Robert Ewing, who are asserted by some to have named the Peaks after the Ewing surname as it is pronounced in Scottish Gaelic – Clann Eóghain na h-Oitrich, or "Clan Ewing of Otter. In a few more steps, a fire road veers off to the left, but just continue straight along this trail. 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. Walk past this first sign that indicates a left turn to Johnson Farm. View Map > Visit Website > View Details > Elk Run Loop Trail. There are no trail markers. I was awed by the wide-reaching views from Harkening Hill, and thankful for the quiet and serenity of this lightly-trafficked, leafy trail. 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. The view is indescribable still. Blue Ridge Parkway – Peaks of Otter Trails. One of the families included the Johnson family, which lived for 3 generations until the 1930s on the now-preserve Johnson farmstead. 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. 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. There is a second trail sign a few steps further for the Johnson Farm Loop Trail. 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." 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. Harkening Hill comes into view at the 1.6-mile mark. At this point, turn left to continue on to Johnson Farm. Turn right for Harkening Hill. Phone: 540-586-7682; View Map > … There is also a separate cliff formation on the other side of Sharp Top called Buzzard's Roost, which also has good views. Lynn Gartner Dunne, LLP Rob's Run 5K. There are no trail markers. Peaks of Otter Lodge 85554 Blue Ridge Pkwy, Bedford, VA 24523 . You’ll reach a clearing at the .9-mile mark. The 3.3 mile loop trail that includes the summit of Harkening Hill starts immediately behind the visitor center and is well signed. Do all you can to pretend this sign does not exist. Bedford, VA 24523. In a few more steps, a fire road veers off to the left, but just continue straight along this trail. Trail parking is at the Flat Top Mountain Overlook, an alternative start point is 0.3 mi further on … #2: Harkening Hill Loop Hike. 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. View Details. This 3.6-mile hike begins at the Johnson Farm Loop sign east of the visitor center and ends behind 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. The lowliest of the three Peaks of Otter, Harkening Hill is the only one with a loop trail that swings by the top. Sun 11/29/20 - … Sun 12/6/20 Knoxville, TN US. 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. 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. 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.. 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.. Peaks of Otter is one of only two places along the Parkway where you can stay without driving to a nearby community. 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 … Trail Access: From Bedford, VA follow VA-43 north for 10.3 mi. 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. Sharp Top is the most famous hike with its spectacular 360° view at the top. In 700 feet, you’ll reach a spur trail. 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.These peaks are Sharp Top, Flat Top, and Harkening Hill.. Manmade Abbott Lake lies in the valley between the three peaks, behind the Peaks of Otter Lodge and restaurant. 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. From the Peaks of Otter visitor center, walk behind the building, just past the outdoor amphitheater. The restored farm includes a farmhouse, weaving shed and apple house. So, two separate hikes, instead of one that included both Johnson Farm and Harkening Hill. Combined within the three peaks is a little over 12 miles of hiking and extra attractions along the way. Title: Peaks of Otter Trails Map Author: National Park Service Keywords: 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. So, begin the hike at the Johnson Farm Loop Trail. I hiked on a damp Friday afternoon, so I was the only person at the summit. There is also a small visitor center run by the National Park Service. Trail parking is at the Flat Top Mountain Overlook, an alternative start point is 0.3 … 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. 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. 85554 Blue Ridge Parkway. These peaks are Sharp Top, Flat Top, and Harkening Hill. At the sign, turn left to begin the modest ascent up the trail. 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 Peaks of Otter. Peaks of Otter Visitor Center. Gorgeous views of the Peaks of Otter … 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). This is a steep and strenuous route and should be attempted only by those in good health. Behind the Peaks of Otter Lodge is Abbott Lake, named for Stanley William Abbott, the Parkway’s first resident landscape architect and planner. The primary activity at Peaks of Otter is hiking. 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. Visitors can take free tours of the farmhouse from June–September. When you enter Peaks of Otter Recreation Area turn right on the Blue Ridge Parkway heading north for 2.5 mi. But is well worth it for the views at the top! The 24-acre lake features a one-mile loop trail, and is stocked with smallmouth bass, catfish, golden shiners, sunfish, and blue gill. From the trail-head to the first good overlook is about 1 mile. European settlers started establishing the area in the mid-1700s. 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. Sharp Top had been previously believed by early settlers to be the highest mountain in North America by Thomas Jefferson (of course, later disproven, as even the tallest mountain of Virginia is Mount Rogers). At the 1.3-mile mark, you’ll see a trail sign to turn left onto a spur trail for Balance Rock. There’s a tunnel under the Blue Ridge Parkway steps from the Johnson Farm Loop trailhead. Johnson Farm is a historically restored site along one of the side trails towards Harkening Hill. At the 1.2-mile mark, you’ll see a trail sign. At the lodge, there’s a sit-down restaurant, as well as a snack-filled gift shop. [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. Directions: Peaks of Otter is located about ten miles northwest of Bedford. I want you to avoid this situation. Elk Run Loop Trail (0.8 miles) Johnson Farm Trail (2..0 miles) Flat Top Trail (5.4 miles) Fallingwater Cascades Trail (2.0 miles) Abbott Lake Trail (1.0 mile) In the 1900s, the Peaks of Otter was selected by the National Park Service to be developed as a … 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]. Peaks of Otter has some of the most popular hiking trails in Virginia! I then hiked the Harkening Hill Loop. This was my second peak of the three hikes here at Peaks of Otter and I still recommend it. 1257 County Farm Rd. peaks of otter - johnson farm trail. [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. Near the 1.1-mile mark, keep your eyes open for a cool balance rock on the left. This is where to begin if you want to add on Harkening Hill without re-tracing your steps. Drinking water should be carried as none is available at the top. Bedford, VA US. 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. Thu 12/3/20 - Sun 12/6/20. It’s a large boulder balanced on a small rock. 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. Sharp Top is the most famous hike with its spectacular 360° view at the top. There is a beautiful rock outcropping to sit on and enjoy the sweeping northwest views. When you enter Peaks of Otter Recreation Area turn right on the Blue Ridge Parkway heading north for 2.5 mi. Post-hike, it’s an easy walk to the Peaks of Otter Lodge across the street. The resort closed in the late-1930’s, but received reservation requests for years to come. Bedford, VA 24523. Be sure to savor the views of Sharp Top from Abbott Lake, just behind the lodge. 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. You’ll see some cool boulders along the way, then the second balance rock appears on the right at the 2.6-mile mark. The Peaks of Otter Visitor Center is right here at the intersection. Visitors to Peaks of Otter follow a long-standing tradition of tourism. Sharp Top, Flat Top, Harkening Hill - Johnson Farm loop, Cascades, Abbott Lake Trail and Trail from Lodge to Picnic area are all excellent hikes within a few minutes drive of the visitor center. The Johnson Farm Trail is a loop that takes visitors past a restored mid-1800s farm. You’ll encounter some modest switchbacks along the way, but nothing terrible. Turn left here. Archaeological evidence under Abbott Lake indicates that Native Americans have been visiting the Peaks of Otter for at least 8,000 years for hunting, travel, and rest. 37920. 85554 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. The Hotel Mons opened in 1857. They are actually a series on mountains overlooking the town of Bedford. The elevation gain over 1.4 miles is less than 800 feet, so it’s very manageable. This is not the balance rock, though I believe it also deserves acclaim and its own trail sign just like the Balance Rock (in caps). I was intrigued, and hopeful that Balance Rock lived up to being worthy of mention on a trail sign. 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. 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. Bedford, VA 24523. "[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. North Lime Donut Dash 3K VIRTUAL. Johnson Farm trail includes the living history museum of the 1930s Johnson family farm. The trailhead for this hike is at the same parking area for the Flat Top Trail. The trail descends and you’ll encounter some mild switchbacks before exiting the trail at the 3.2-mile mark at the back of the visitor center’s outdoor amphitheater. Download the Peaks of Otter trails map. Of course there are many trails to choose from ranging from an accessible loop trail around Abbott Lake to hikes to the tops of the three peaks. Peaks of Otter Christmas Classic 5k. Harkening Hill comes into view on the right at the 2.2-mile mark. By the early 1900s the Peaks of Otter became a popular local tourist spot and became especially noticed by the National Park Service. This 2.8-mile out-and-back hike begins and ends at the trailhead behind the visitor center. From Bedford, take VA-43 north for about ten miles to the Blue Ridge Parkway. On this site once stood the Hotel Mons, a popular mountain resort. The National Park Service preserves the peaks and lake as part of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Nestled between these mountains is Abbott Lake. The Peaks of Otter are beautiful mountains in the Blue Ridge and I’ll post a photo or two of them. 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 - … This next step is critical. You can stay in the nearby Peaks of Otter Lodge or campground, or in Bedford (20 min drive away). Modern visitors can stay the night at historic Peaks of Otter Lodge, explore the visitor center, visit Johnson Farm, or hike a trail. Turn left here. There is also a separate cliff formation on the other side of Sharp Top called Buzzard's Roost, which also has good views. From June–October the National Park Service provides various Ranger programs. Behind the Peaks of Otter Lodge is Abbott Lake, named for Stanley William Abbott, the Parkway’s first resident landscape architect and planner. Honestly, I was very confused when I reached these two trail signs. I just followed the matted grass and was able to find my way to the resumption of the trail. 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 . Visit Website > View Details > Falling Creek Park. On the banks of the lake lies the Peaks of Otter Lodge, the setting of which is truly spectacular (and exceptionally photogenic). 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. Huge collection, amazing choice, 100+ million high quality, affordable RF and RM images. Continue on past Harkening Hill. Peaks of Otter Visitor Center: Updated trails - See 155 traveller reviews, 179 candid photos, and great deals for Virginia, at Tripadvisor. It’s all downhill for 300 feet until you reach the engaging rock formation. No need to register, buy now! There are three main peaks; Flat Top, Sharp Top, and Harkening Hill in order from highest peak altitude to lowest peak altitude. View Details >. 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. Turn left for Harkening Hill and Balance Rock. You don’t need to do this as a loop. #1: Harkening Hill Hike. 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. 24523. In fact, it’s a slightly shorter hike if you tackle this one as an out-and-back hike. It was a cool day, starting around freezing and getting up to the low 40’s. There is also a large picnic area with outdoor grills. The house and surrounding structures and elements were interesting to visit and, like most living history museums, only staffed seasonally. What exactly are the Peaks of Otter? Lodging includes the Peaks of Otter Lodge and the Peaks of Otter campground. Starting in the 1800s, the surrounding community opened their homes and lodges to guests hoping to relax and rejuvenate in the mountains. Harkening Hill is also in the shadow of Sharp Top, the tallest (at an elevation of 3,862 feet) and most popular of the three mountain peaks, which stands tall just across the parkway. Not all spur trails are worth the detour, but I’d say this one was. They include Sharp Top (altitude 3,875 feet); Flat Top (4,004 feet) and Harkening Hill (3,375 feet). 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. Live Entertainment 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. The Peaks of Otter, located in Bedford County, Virginia, is a highlight of the Blue Ridge Parkway (milepost 86) consisting of three peaks: Sharp Top, Flat Top, and Harkening Hill. RESERVATIONS 866-387-9905 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! View Map >. Find the perfect otter valley stock photo. 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. 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. Near Buchanan, Virginia. Before you re-trace your steps to the visitor center, walk past Harkening Hill along the trail. It’s a mild descent for 300 feet until you reach the curious rock formation. The trail for Sharp Top said strenuous and it was definitely difficult. [6][7] A bigger, more recent D-Day Memorial is located in Bedford. More on that in a few more paragraphs. 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. Manmade Abbott Lake lies in the valley between the three peaks, behind the Peaks of Otter Lodge and restaurant. Once you exit the clearing where the hotel was stood, you will enter the forest and continue on for .6-mile. Continue on the trail that picks up just past the Johnson Farm. The summit offers an impressive 360-degree view of the Peaks … Here are the options. We had lost power during the ear All three hikes are moderate and wow with sweeping views from the summit. There’s a short spur trail that begins at the east end of the parking lot. They drove me back to the trail after we stopped to get coffee at a small country store. Re-trace your steps to the main trail, then turn left. It was completely awe-inspiring. #3: Harkening Hill + Johnson Farm Loop Hike. Honestly, this was the first time I’d even heard of Balance Rock. At the 1-mile mark, you’ll see a fork in the trail and a trail sign. At the 1.4-mile mark, you’ll see Harkening Hill on the left. Admittedly, there are so many beautiful trails in Virginia that it’s hard to pick just one. The wreckage was never removed, as it was too heavy and the side of the mountain was too steep to retrieve it. Trail Access: From Bedford, VA follow VA-43 north for 10.3 mi. View Details. From the trailhead, it’s a gradual ascent through the leafy forest to Harkening Hill. Here you will see a trail sign on the left for the Harkening Hill Loop Trail. Of course this later turned out not to be the case, but not before Virginia had sent stones from the peaks to be its part of the Washington Monument. Continue on past Harkening Hill. Note that the trailhead for options #2 and #3 is an easy 0.3-mile walk from the visitor center. Enjoy the panoramic views from the rock outcropping and snap a photo of the summit sign. Astronomy Join NASA JPL Solar System Ambassador Greg Redfern for engaging presentations about outer space! There is … A placard at this site displays various photos of the complex circa 1930. I ended up ascending the first trail and doing the Johnson Farm Loop, without Harkening Hill. There are three ways to reach Harkening Hill in Jefferson National Forest. Nestled between these mountains is Abbott Lake. Of the three options, I most enjoyed the 3.6-mile Harkening Hill + Johnson Farm Loop Hike. Dirty South Trail Half Marathon, 10k, and Kids Trail Mile. 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. Enjoy the panoramic views from the rock outcropping and snap a photo of the summit sign. By the 1920’s, the resort complex grew to include two main buildings, several cottages and various other outbuildings. 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. 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. In another 300 feet, you will reach Balance Rock. The house and outbuildings are preserved in their 1930's form along with gardens and a small orchard. Blue Ridge Parkway – Peaks of Otter Trails. 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). At the 1.9-mile mark, you’ll see a trail sign to turn left onto a spur trail for Balance Rock. 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). At the visitor center you can get trail advice and maps and also join ranger led activities. Built in 1854, the farm was occupied by members of the Johnson family until the early-1940’s. For such a short trail to the peak, it will give you quite a workout with multiple series of steps throughout the hike.