Hightop Mountain

Ruckersville, Virginia 22968

Hightop Mountain

Hightop Mountain Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"Stretch your legs on this steady uphill hike to the top of Hightop Mountain and a scenic spot for a good, long break. Hightop Mountain may not be one of the better-known hikes in Shenandoah National Park, but its lovely stretch on the Appalachian Trail (AT) is a perfect introduction to the trails in the southern part of the Shenandoah, which tend to be less crowded and a little wilder.

Starting the hike from the Smith Roach Gap parking lot rather than the Hightop parking area makes for a longer hike, but this approach gives a more gradual climb to the top. With an easy path that isn’t too rocky, this is a perfect route for a leisurely stroll."

More Hightop Mountain Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Hiking Shenandoah National Park (Falcon Guides)
Bert & Jane Gildart
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"This is a moderately easy climb to the summit of the highest point in the park’s South District. It includes magnificent westerly views. Hightop Mountain is the highest peak in the park’s South District. It is possible that John Lederer, the noted German explorer, reached the area in 1669.The hike begins at the Smith Roach Gap parking lot (2,620 feet). Because the trail ascends so gradually, the entire trip should take about three hours. The lot can accommodate only a small number of vehicles, so if it is full (unlikely), choose an alternative hike. Begin your hike at the fire road and follow it for about 10 yards, at which point it intersects the Appalachian Trail."
Top Trails Shenandoah National Park (Wilderness Press)
Johnny Molloy
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"This is one peak that almost everyone can bag. Just at the point where novice hikers get tired of climbing, the path tops out and presents a very rewarding view. Get a taste of the Appalachian Trail (AT) while climbing one of the park’s higher mountains. Start the trek by crossing Skyline Drive from the Hightop Mountain Parking Area. P1 Pick up the AT, southbound. Hike through a bramble-and briar-covered area on a moderate uphill grade. This area is transitioning from field to forest. Enter woods and pass two large gray boulders acting as sentinels for the mountaintop ahead."

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Trail Information

Nearby City
999 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
2-3 hours
Park facilities are generally open from March through late November; a facilities schedule is online.
Views, Wildflowers
Shenandoah National Park (nps.gov/shen, 540-999-3500, 800-732-0911 [for emergencies]
Local Contacts
Map 11: Appalachian Trail and Other Trails in Shenandoah National Park South District (PATC)
Local Maps

Trail Log