Peaks of Otter 3 Trail Hike – Flat Top, Harkening Hill & Johnson Farm
*Please keep your RSVP current, update them as needed if your plans change*
This hike will be an 8 to 9 mile shuttle hike and should be considered as strenuous with about 2800 foot of total elevation gain. A $4 carpool fee is suggested and there are no fees to access these trails.
We will meet initially in the back of the parking lot of the Bonsack Lowes near the Applebees at 9:30am, get coordinated and drive to the Peaks of Otter Visitors Center and drop some vehicles and then shuttle to the Flat Top parking area 3 miles up the Parkway. This hike is mapped up and across Flat Top Mountain and back to the Visitors Center, then up Harkening Hill and towards the exit of the Harkening Hill trail we can consider the option to take the side trail to catch a glimpse of the old Johnson Farm.
Flat Top Trail rises to an elevation of 4,001 feet with many scattered rock outcrops. The Pinnacle and Cross Rock are a couple of those outcrops. This strenuous, 4.4 mile National Recreational Trail travels from the Flat Top Parking Area located at milepost 83.5 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, over the summit of Flat Top to the Peaks of Otter Picnic Area. Compared to Sharp Top and other trails in the Peaks of Otter Recreational Area, this trail gets much less traffic. You could be the only person on Flat Top, except on weekends.
Harkening Hill Trail is 3.3 miles long. It begins behind the visitor center and across from the amphitheater. This woodland trail climbs to a ridge where distant views are possible. A spur path near the summit leads to Balance Rock, an immense boulder balanced on a small rock. The trail ends at the junction of the Johnson Farm Trail.
Johnson Farm Trail is a loop trail, the Johnson Farm which was started in 1852, has living history demonstrations presented on a seasonal basis.