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Hightop Mountain - SNP, Virginia


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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
5.6 mls N/A N/A
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:
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3.0 hours plus a half hour for lunch
1,480 ft
Shenandoah National Park
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Park on Skyline Drive on the south site of the bridge over VA33 where the Appalachian Trail continues south. 38.35612, -78.54493

The Hightop Mountain summit out/back hike has a beautiful panoramic vista, and is also one of the lesser known summit hikes in the Shenandoah National Park. The Swift Run Gap hike start area was was crossed by Virginia Lieutenant Governor Alexander Spotswood leading the Knights of the Golden Horseshoe expedition on September 5, 1716 as they passed into the Shenandoah Valley for the first time. Monuments to this crossing are erected on the southern side of VA33 at Swift Run Gap.

The main out and back hike from Swift Run Gap is 5.6 miles and 1,480ft of elevation gain. You can also shorten the hike by starting at the Hightop Mountain parking area on Skyline drive. This reduces the hike to 2.3 miles and 940ft of elevation gain.

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Hiker Reviews For The Hightop Mountain Hike (5 Most Recent)
Review the Hightop Mountain hike here!   Average Rating:   Share Hike: 

By: Jamey Rating: Date of Hike: Sunday, November 12, 2017
This is a great little hike. The ascent is a steady but moderate climb, with several interesting rock formations. The view from the summit is one of the best in the park.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, June 03, 2017
Nice hike. We did as described. Wonderful view @ the summit. My main reason for writing is that we had wonderful coincidental interactions with so many individual (or in pairs) Northbound (NOBO) AT thru-hikers from all over the country.. We started @ the trailhead @ 7:55 AM, and began meeting them since most had broken camp earlier that morning at Hightop Hut. They were about 900 miles into their trek.

By: Kate Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, May 20, 2017
Spring foliage was beautiful. Great camping area if you take the trail to the left @ summit marker.

By: Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, January 28, 2017
We had beautiful sunny weather for this Saturday hike. Did the 5.6 mile version. Our overall assessment is that this is a great short-to-moderate length day hike with a TON of visual payoff at the top (especially during winter when leaves are off trees) for very little work. If you’re looking to introduce friends to hiking, this would be a great starter trail! Read more about our hike & see lots of photos here: https://fergusandhenri.com/2017/01/30/hightop-mountain/

By: Dan Rating: Date of Hike: Wednesday, January 04, 2017
I did the longer (5.6 mile) hike, and really enjoyed it. The view at the 2nd overlook is fantastic. Navigation on this hike is straightforward, although a sturdy pair of hiking boots is advisable. Once you cross Skyline Drive (mile 1.3), it's a steady climb until you reach the top, but not too difficult.

    View all 10 reviews for the Hightop Mountain hike
Late December
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