Another way to follow the Appalachian Trail to the summit is from the Elkwallow Picnic Area. Follow Skyline Drive to about Mile 24, and then make a right turn into the Elkwallow Picnic Area. Park where you see a sign for the Appalachian Trail.
Follow the trail in front of you to the Appalachian Trail, and make a right. Hike on the Appalachian Trail for about 3.3 miles; you will cross Skyline Drive four times. After the fourth crossing, hike on a fire road for 0.2 miles to the summit.
Round trip: About 7 miles with an elevation gain of 1,100 feet.