Hike the Harkening Hill Loop

Virginia Harkening Hill Trailhead

Added by Zach Hoopes

The third of the Peaks of Otter. Perfect for a half day hike, with views of the surrounding more prominent mountains.

To get to the trailhead, pull into the Peaks of Otter Visitor Center off of the Blue Ridge Parkway and park there. Proceed to the outdoor amphitheater behind the center. At the rear of the amphitheater there is a large sign showing Harkening Hill and other nearby trails, here the trail begins. The loop is 3.3 miles and takes about 1.5-2 hours.

It starts at a medium grade and proceeds with winding switchbacks until it reaches the beginning of the ridge line. In spring or fall, while the trees are still barren you can look behind you and see Flat Top and Sharp Top mountains, the other two Peaks of Otter. After 0.75 miles the trail begins to level out as you walk along the ridge line which is spotted with rock formations. A few of these you can stand on to get a less obstructed view of the surrounding valleys. After 1.8 miles you reach the summit of Harkening Hill, denoted by a sign. Though not as splendid as Sharp Top, the views are still well worth the hike.

On your 1.5 mile decent just follow the well marked trail signs to return to the visitor center.

Pack List

  • Water
  • Boots
  • Walking sticks can be picked up at many of the trail signs left by other hikers.
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Activities:

Hiking

Skill Level:

Beginner

Season:

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:

Loop

Distance:

3.3 Miles

Elev. Gain:

850 Feet

Rating:

Features:

Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Wildlife

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How to Get There

5 months ago

Good Starter

Trail quality: 4/5 Trail was clear and hard to get lost on minus some points for being narrow Scenery: 4/5 Good wooded area and very pretty small creeks/ Rivers on the right side of the trail Summit: 2/5 Reached the summit and there is no view of the surrounding area. Even after climbing on top of some big stable rocks the only thing my gf and I saw were clouds and the tops of trees blocking the view of the area Below us

5 months ago

Added by Zach Hoopes

A Virginia Tech Hokie exploring the Blue Ridge and beyond one weekend at a time.

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