Blue Ridge Sampler: Peaks of Otter Area

Basics — Length: 17 miles; Difficulty: Very Strenuous — fit hikers only; Carpool: 28.1 miles, so let’s round to $3.00 per rider; What to Bring: Standard hiking gear (10 essentials), Lunch, Money or Car for carpool; Highlights: Mountaintop vistas, waterfalls, and all sorts of terrain.

Detailed Description — This is an extraordinary hike, both in its beauty and difficulty. The hike starts with a steady, long climb up Chestnut Mountain, drops to Fallingwater Creek to follow an old logging road, and then drops farther to Fallingwater Cascades. From the gorge, it is a long, tiring climb all the way to the summit of Flat Top, our high point for the day at 4,001 feet and best views. We then descend to Abbott Lake and the Peaks of Otter Lodge, head over to Johnsons Farm, then climb moderately to the summit of Harkening Hill. We then leave the trail, descend down the nose of the ridge off-trail, and then follow a forestry road to the Glenwood Horse Trail. We will warm-down with a long, steady descent along the road to our vehicles.

This is an exceptionally hard hike by club standards, so hikers need to be in good shape. Depending on timing, we may stop for refreshments on the way back to the park and ride.