Hike the Sharp Top Trail
Virginia › Sharp Top Trailhead
Added by Hailey Carter
Popular among surrounding colleges and universitiesAn hour from Roanoke and LynchburgElevation gain: 1340 feetDuration: 3 miles roundtripSpectacular 360 view at the topExtremely popular trail for groupsDog friendly
Once thought to be the highest peak in Virginia, this 2.5 hour hike is one that will leave you speechless at the top. Park at the Peaks of Otter Nature Center (which is now closed). The trailhead is located to the right of the building. You will cross over a paved bus road soon after beginning the hike. This short hike will get you winded soon, so be sure to pace yourself as you ascend up several series of steps made out of rocks. The trail is steep and strenuous at times. Make sure to pack plenty of water. Keep in mind the popularity of the trail and allow others to pass if need be due to the narrow path. Keep a look out for bears, they are spotted by hikers often.
The first scenic overlook is roughly a mile up the mountain. Another .3 up the trail and you will find yourself at the Buzzard's Roost Trail intersection. Bear left and ascend another .2 to Sharp Top. There is an old, rustic stone cottage built at Sharp Top. Many people use this cottage as a shelter if a thunderstorm comes.
The views at Sharp Top are jaw dropping. There are multiple boulders to climb upon, which allows for some impressive photography. The 360 view, among most of the boulders, allows for groups of people to be at the top. Enjoy a picnic on top of a massive boulder.The Piedmont to the East, and the Shenandoah Valley with the Allegheny Valley Mountains to the west. A sunrise or sunset hike is highly recommend. Watch the sun paint the sky as it rises or sets! Retrace your steps to return to the parking lot.
- Walking sticks
- Light Jacket (it can be windy up top)
- Hiking shoes
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More
Fitness, Hiking, Photography
Spring, Summer, Autumn
Are we missing something?Suggest an edit
ReviewsLeave a Review
Awesome hike with equally awesome views. I would not say that this is short and easy though, there is substantial elevation gain making the moderate distance more difficult. But definitely worth it, some of the best views around by far!
A great, quick hike for such a great, 360 degree view! I've hiked this several times. It was the first "Mountain" I hiked and where I caught the mountain-hiking bug, so it has a special place in my heart. I still haven't recovered from that bug. ;)
Great hike to watch the sunrise
It is a tough hike, but at 3 miles, it isn't a very long one. It is a great hike to watch the sunrise. There is a 360 panoramic view at the top and since it isn't very long, you wont be walking through the woods in the dark for very long if you do decide to try and catch the sunrise here.
Rigorous and gorgeous!
This hike is a tough one. At 3 miles in and out, it is short but the elevation change is dramatic. It is marked as an hour and a half to get to the top, which is a good time for those who don't hike often, but more experienced hikers could do it in under an hour. The summit leaves lots of room to soak in the 360-degree views which are some of the best I have seen in the region.
The trailhead for Sharp Top is actually to the left of the Nature Center-but it is clearly marked. It's a difficult hike for such a short mileage-most of it is very steep and there are 100+ stairs near the top of the mountain. The 360 degree views are great for both sunrises and sunsets. The short spur to Buzzard's Roost is also worth it if you have the time.
More Adventures Nearby
Photograph Great Falls of the Potomac
Virginia / Great Falls of the Potomac
Viewing Great Falls is easy which makes this adventure great for all levels of adventurers. There is a ~$10 entrance fee, there you will receive a map of the park.
Hike Bear Church Rock via the Graves Mill Trail
Virginia / Graves Mill Parking Area
Starting at the Graves Mill Parking area, head up the yellow blazed trail that is marked by a big cement marker. The trail will follow closely beside the gorgeous Rapidan River.