Trip of the Month
Peaks of Otter
The Underrated Adventure
Whether you have lived in Lynchburg long or not, you no doubt have noticed the majestic peaks west of campus or maybe have heard people mention them in casual conversation. These peaks are known as the Peaks of Otter. Just 45 minutes from Lynchburg off the Blue Ridge Parkway, this mountain range is truly an iconic local treasure.
The twin peaks are aptly named Sharptop and Flattop. Sharptop’s classic triangular shape offers a short yet steep grade, concluding with a spectacular 360-degree view of the Lynchburg Valley to the east as well as the beginnings of the Shenandoah Valley to the west. No matter how many times you do this hike, it still challenges and impresses. Summit elevation reaches 3,875 feet!
The bigger brother, Flattop, packs a punch as well with challenging grades and switchbacks while offering more solitude and trail mileage. It concludes with a summit boasting eastern and western views as well as a side view of Sharptop. Summit elevation reaches 4,001 feet!
If steep mountains are not on the docket, try a shorter hike around beautiful Abbott Lake by the lodge or the two more gradual hikes: the historic Harkening Hill/Johnson Farm and the tranquil waterfall hike of Fallingwater Trail.
Be sure to plan your hike beforehand, bring a friend as well as tell a friend where you’re going, and pack enough food, water, and layers to remain comfortable in changing conditions. Start your adventure today:
Local Trip Thoughts
- Flat Top Mountain, the lesser-known twin to Sharp Top Mountain, forms the popular Peaks of Otter.
- Cascade Falls is a Virginia Tech classic but is well worth the drive for LU students as well.
- Mt. Pleasant and Cole/Cold Mountain are two great hikes for those looking to go somewhere new but still within an hour from campus.
- National Geographic’s Trails Illustrated Maps are essential for finding your next hiking adventure!
- George Washington National Forest offers primitive camping opportunities for adventurers throughout Virginia’s wilderness areas!
- Peaks of Otter Campground offers a beautiful mountain camping experience between the Flat Top and Sharp Top peaks.
- Montebello Camping and Fishing Resort offers many lodging opportunities near Crabtree Falls, the Priest, and Spy Rock.
- (VA Blue Line Map) For the fly fishermen craving native trout and beautiful rural and wilderness settings. Remember to adhere to private property and fishing regulation laws!
- The South River is a popular spot for large rainbow and brown trout in Waynesboro, VA.
- Try your luck on the James River for large muskie and smallmouth bass.
- The James River offers many adventure opportunities. Enjoy a tubing trip down the many routes near Lynchburg with Twin River Outfitters or James River Reeling & Rafting.
- The New River and New River Valley offer unlimited outdoor recreation opportunities. Looking for a relaxing float with easy water? Try Independence to Baywood (Map) For the seasoned paddler try Bridle Creek to Independence (Map)
- Read our blog, it is full of great ideas for trips and includes our 4 E’s of Decision Making for planning safe trips!
- Lynchburg Parks and Rec has a beautiful park/trail system. Be sure to enjoy them while you live in Lynchburg!