It was once believed that Sharp Top Mountain was the highest peak in the state of Virginia. The stone that was included in the Washington Monument was taken from the summit of Sharp Top and is so inscribed at the monument. In fact, not only is Sharp Top far from the highest peak in the state of Virginia (that honor goes to Mount Rogers), it is not even the highest peak in the vicinity, with Flat Top Mountain being close to 200 feet higher.
However, Sharp Top is quite an imposing southern Applachian mountain. We here in the South don't have a true treeline (our highest summits are about 3,000 feet too short for that). But there are some rocky peaks in this part of the nation that rise dramatically above the other highlands and which, bare of all but unyielding stone, offfer 360 degree views of the waves of ridges flowing out toward the east and west. Sharp Top Mountain is such a peak, and it is easy to understand how men once thought it to be the highest mountain in the state of Virginia.
Icy Sharp Top
Sharp Top Mountain is located in the Peaks of Otter Recreation Area at milepost 86 of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Red TapeThere is no red tape of which I'm aware.
Alpenglow in the Appalachians? Sometimes it sure seems like it.
When To ClimbAll year. Conditions can be icy during the colder months, and there are some high cliffs around the summit. Care should be taken under icy conditions.
CampingThere is a Park Service administered campground just off the parkway on Route 43. However, it is only opened from April 1 through October 31. I am aware of no prohibition for camping along the trails in either the Jefferson National Forest or in the Peaks of Otter region.
Mountain ConditionsCheck the weather for Bedford, Virginia. Subtract five to ten degrees for the higher ridges. Check the road conditions at the Blue Ridge Parkway site here.
- Peaks of Otter Lodge.
Nice website run by the conessionaire who runs the Peaks of Otter Lodge, with some good information.