Flat Top

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Flat Top and Sharp Top are two of the most popular hikes at the Peaks of Otter along the Blue Ridge Parkway. While Sharp Top attracts the most foot-traffic, Flat Top is little more secluded and will likely have fewer hikers. Flat Top’s summit also offers a variety of rock formations, which can offer some fun climbing and exploring. Caution: Rocks can be slippery when wet. Both hikes can be done separately or successional for a 9.8-mile adventure or incredible 360-degree views at the two summits.

Flat Top features a classic Virginia 5.2-mile round trip (out and back) hike at the Peaks of Otter. Flat Top is a lovely trail full of wonderful views, large rock formations, and flora that changes with each turn, including huge oak, poplar, hickory, and beech trees, mountain laurel, rhododendron, and an assortment of wildflowers.

Distance

  • 5.2 miles, out-and-back

Hike It

  • Beginning at the Peaks of Otter Visitor Center, cross the Blue Ridge Parkway and Route 43. Take a left at the intersection with a Lake Trail sign. Drive 1/10 of a mile and take another left crossing back over Route 43. Follow the trail to the dam of Abbot Lake, and at the end of the dam go right. Passing Polly Wood’s Ordinary, the asphalt path takes you to the trailhead of Flat Top in about 0.3 miles. Parking is available here as well.
  • The ascent begins right away as the next 1.4 miles are uphill. A few overlooks can be viewed along this portion.
  • At 2 miles, the primary trial leading to Flat Top peak is on the right. Continue on this spur trail to reach the summit. Retrace your steps down the trail to return to the parking area.

Directions/Parking

From Roanoke – Take the Blue Ridge Parkway and use the exit at milepost 86 to arrive at the Peaks of Otter Visitor Center Parking Lot.

Add-On Adventures

  • Bedford lost 19 men in the first phase of the D-Day landings on the beaches of Normandy in World War II – more than any U.S.A city per capita. Visit the D-Day Memorial in Bedford for a walk through the heroic invasion of D-Day.
  • Grab a cold craft beer at Beale’s Brewery in Bedford.

Nearby Wineries

  • Peaks of Otter Winery Expand Collapse

    Located in Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia at the foot of the Peaks of Otter, the winery of the same name features fruit of the farm wines.

    Although Peaks of Otter grows many fruits for the wine, apples are the main crop. Apples, peaches, nectarines, plums, and pears are used to make wine, cider, and butters. These “grandma’s style” wines are excellent with snacks, as an after dinner wine or just sipping.

    The winery is open daily from April through December and on weekends January through March.

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