Hike to Hightop Mountain, Shenandoah NP

Hightop Mountain Parking Area, Elkton, Virginia, United States

  • Activities:

    Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    3.2 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    900 Feet

Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Scenic

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
Read More

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

Community Photos

+ Add Photos

Reviews

Overall rating: 

Leave a Review

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 year ago
about 1 year ago

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!

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Sarah Giek Explorer

Teacher by day. Explorer by weekend.

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

Nearby Adventures

Hike the Sugar Bowl Loop in Kings Canyon NP

Tulare County, California

First and foremost, to get to this trailhead you need to drive down a 2-mile, one lane dirt road that is quite steep.

7 Saves

Hike to Ehukai Pillbox

59178 Ke Nui Road, Hawaii

This hike starts directly across from Banzai Pipeline, the famous barreling wave at Ehukai Beach.

7 Saves

Winter Hike to Calypso Cascades

1046 County Highway 115, Colorado

While most people go snowshoeing near the Bear Lake or Glacier Gorge area in RMNP, Wild Basin is a much less trafficked option.

5 Saves