Nature Trails #2: Sharp’s Top

Summit on Sharp's Mountain

This picture was taken at the summit of the mountain, in the mi-afternoon Summer sun. Virginia is humid and scorching in the Summer, and the original photo was quite bright, and hazy. I wanted everyone to take in the immense beauty of the Blue Ridges, and not focus on the mountain’s greenery, or the brightness of the sun. The couple enjoying the view adds a depth and a sense of awe into it as well-a plus you can add.

Using my trusty Canon Rebel T5i DSLR on the manual setting, I was actually well over 1oo feet away from these subjects. I know this because the place they are sitting on is not part of the summit, but an outcropping around 0.2 miles below the summit. So, knowing this, I changed to my Canon 55-200 mm telezoom lens. I mounted my camera on its tripod for satiability, and snapped a series of photos.  I made sure to use my UVA/UVB polarizing filter lens due to the mid-afternoon sun just blazing away on top of the mountain.

This trail is part of a three-tier mountain range called the Peaks of Otter in Bedford and Botetourt counties. The mountain ranges have been visited by natives since B.C. 8,000.  Europeans had been settling the areas since the mid-1700’s or a little earlier. There are no confirmed reports on where the name came from, but there is oral tradition that the name originated from brothers Charles and Robert Ewing. The brothers were natives of Argyll and Bute in Scotland. Other versions have the name coming from the areas river, the Otter. Another version has it coming from a local Cherokee translation for “high places”. I believe that the name came from the brothers since there’s documentation of their arrival to the local area.

The peaks are divided up into three main hiking trails: Sharps, Flat, and Harkening Hill. I have spent a few weekends there and hiked up all three of them. Sharp’s top is a long one, a total of 3.4 miles in-and-out with an elevation totaling 1,300 feet gradient. The trail is quite steep and is rated as ‘hard’ on All Trails. I concur that the trail is quite difficult, and with gear, you must take your time. Sharp’s Top is known as a training ground for competitive trail runners. The trail is a very popular location for tourists, students, and hikers.

The location is ran by the National Parks Service and even on their own website I can’t find any information about the trail’s construction and history. So, unfortunately I can’t give you any cool information. However, I would recommend this trail to anyone, and it’s views of the Roanoke Valley are stunning for those who take the effort, and inspire adventure!  Happy trials my friends.

God bless,


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