Second Peak is located in Grayson County in southwest Virginia. It is relatively close to Mount Rogers (the highest peak in Virginia) and is on a trail circuit which crosses both First Peak and Third Peak. All of the the above referenced mountains are in the Pine Mountains in Mount Rogers National Recreation Area.
These peaks are relatively obscure and seem to be rarely used as most people tend to climb Mount Rogers which is just to the southwest of these three peaks. The hike into Second Peak is a simple hike although the trails are poorly marked.
From Interstate 81, take the Route 16 exit (exit #45 in Marion) south. Approximately (10) miles south and on the right hand side of the road is the headquarters for the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. You can purchase maps or books about the area, and they can give you additional information on things such as camping or current conditions. Continue south from here on Route 16 until you reach Troutdale. Once you reach Route 603, make a right hand turn and follow Route 603 for several miles. At the juncture with Route 739, make a left hand turn and follow this for a short distance where you will see a small parking area where free parking is available. The trailhead begins at this parking lot.
From here, go thru the gate and follow the trail (known as the Jackie Street Trail) up the mountain. You will encounter several closed gates which can be opened or climbed with little problem. Continue up the mountain through some beautiful open woods to the ridge line of Pine Mountain. At the crest of the ridge, you will see signs at a trail intersection. Turn right and follow the trail (known as the First Peak Trail) further up the mountain to the summit of Second Peak. This peak gives the best views of the surrounding peaks and valleys.
If you use the route which I described here, there are no fees for accessing the mountain or for parking. Second Peak can also be reached through Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. There is a small fee of several dollars to enter the park. The park gate is open from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily (summer).
Permits are not required.
When To Climb
Second peak can be climbed year-round.
As I found the trail markings to be limited, I would encourage you to purchase the Mount Rogers topographic map from the National Geographic Trails Series. It was much better than the TopoZone map. It can be purchased at the Information Center on Route 16 which I previously mentioned.
There are numerous campsites along the backroads throughout the area. These are no fee sites with no amenities.
In addition, there are campsites available within Grayson Highlands State Park. This is fee camping with amenities.
Reservations for campsites can be made by calling at 1-800-933-PARK.
Current conditions and questions can be directed to:
Grayson Highlands State Park
829 Grayson highland Lane
Mouth of Wilson, Virginia 24363