Hike to Hightop Mountain, Shenandoah NP

Virginia Hightop Mountain Parking Area

Added by Sarah Giek

This hike is conveniently located just south of the Swift Run Gap entrance to Shenandoah National Park. As the highest peak in the South District, Hightop Mountain offers expansive 180 degree views to the south and west.

The parking area for the Hightop Mountain hike is one mile south of the Swift Run Gap entrance on Skyline Drive. If you’re looking to add extra mileage to your hike, you can also park at the entrance and pick up the Appalachian Trail just south of the overpass (doing so will add 1.2 miles each way).

The easy-to-navigate hike follows the white-blazed Appalachian Trail for the entire route. The trail climbs slowly and steadily with several switchbacks along the way. The trail offers little in scenery or views until you reach the summit. The first overlook provides a limited view. Continue on a few hundred feet to the second overlook with open and unobstructed views to the south and west. After taking time to enjoy the view, retrace your steps back to the parking lot.

Keep in mind that although Shenandoah National Park is open year-round, Skyline Drive may close in the winter due to weather conditions. Check for road closures before you head out!

Pack List

  • Shenandoah National Park pass (or pay the entrance fee)
  • Camera
  • Water
  • Comfortable Shoes
  • Lunch or a snack to enjoy at the summit
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Activities:

Hiking

Skill Level:

Beginner

Season:

Year Round

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

3.2 Miles

Elev. Gain:

900 Feet

Rating:

Features:

Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Scenic

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How to Get There

about 1 month ago

On the top of my list to revisit

I did this hike during the early spring when there still wasn't leaves on the trees and I've been itching to get back. The overlook is gorgeous and the whole time we were hiking we only saw one other couple (very rare for SNP). Great hike all around!

about 1 month ago

9 months ago

Really nice quick hike

Quick up and back along the AT with plenty to see. Great view from the top as well as a hut and 2 springs along the way. We ran directly into a black bear on our descent - fortunately, we were making enough noise and the bear moved away - exciting stuff though!

9 months ago

Added by Sarah Giek

Teacher by day. Explorer by weekend.

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