Hike Apple Orchard Mountain

Buchanan, Virginia

3.8/5
based on 5 reviews

Details

Distance

4 miles

Elevation Gain

400 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Description

Added by Elyse Clark

The summit of Apple Orchard Mountain is an open bald with great views to the south and west. There is also a large FAA antenna on top-making the mountain easily recognizable from a distance.

The top of Apple Orchard Mountain is easily accessible via the Appalachian Trail. Access the trail at the Sunset Field Overlook at MP 78.4 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The concrete path will end shortly and turn into a blue blazed trail. Follow this for 0.25 miles until it intersects the Appalachian Trail. Turn right on the AT, and cross over the forest road. From here it is only a few switchbacks and 1.7 miles to the summit.

Once finished at the summit, simply retrace your steps on the AT and turn left onto the blue-blazed trail to return to the parking area. To make this hike into an 8 mile hike, turn right at the intersection and combine it with the hike to Apple Orchard Falls (https://www.theoutbound.com/virginia/backpacking/hike-to-apple-orchard-falls).

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Features

Backpacking
Hiking
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Scenic
Wildflowers

Reviews

I understand why previous comments have mentioned other surrounding hikes as potential alternatives to this hike, but I was pleasantly surprised. It’s a nice gradual climb with a wide trail and lots of flowers and butterflies along the way. The radio tower on the top was a bit of an eyesore, but there are rock formations that allow you to get a good view of some of the neighboring mountains. Even without exploring the rock formations, you are afforded good views of both sides of the mountain. From the summit, you are able to see Big House Mountain, the Priest, and Flat Top Mountain just to name a few.

Tried to make this a run, but it was a bit too steep for me and I turned it into a hike. It was still nice! Lots of views and would love to come back with a camera around sunset.

First things first, the elevation change is more like 750’ than 400’, and there are a couple moderately challenging climbs. It’s the AT, so the trail is easy to follow. There are some sections with very loose stone, and it’s easy to lose your footing. The summit of apple orchard mountain is pretty and unique, but there are no real viewpoints. Do this hike if you’re in the area, but don’t make a trip for it.

This is a great little hike. At just under 4 miles round trip it is easily done in a half a day and a great choice if you have already tried Sharp Top and Flat Top, or on a crowded day. This peak is actually higher than the others surrounding it, but while the views are a nice payoff, if you are after a breathtaking vista, try the two mentioned above first. But if you are looking for something else this hike is a great time. Also, the elevation change is closer to about 750 feet.

The view from the top is oddly satisfying. The meadow and the huge radar are a great combo. I took my dad (he is the most inactive person, quite sedentary) and although it was a nice little climb he didn't die. So that was very nice.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Nearby

Hike to Apple Orchard Falls

Hike Devil's Marbleyard

Swim at Arnold Valley Pool

Hike to Fallingwater Cascades

Hike Flat Top Mountain

Hike the Harkening Hill Loop