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Beautiful hike, would definitely recommend going after the rain the waterfall is really flowing then!

12 days ago

Lovely hike! I found it to be a bit easier than Flat Top, next door. Trail is in good condition (for now; snow storms this weekend will change that), despite the lapse in appropriations due to the government shutdown. I did, however, pick up a lot of litter. Please remember that even biodegradable items like citrus peels are trash on the trail. Check it out: https://lnt.org/about/faq/can-i-leave-biodegradable-waste-eg-apple-core-or-banana-peel-woods-long-i-hide-or-burry-it. If you have the energy, consider bringing a trash bag to pack out trash during the shutdown to minimize our impact on these great resources. Bathrooms are closed now, but the Blue Ridge Parkway approaching Peaks of Otter from the South is still open. The parkway is closed just North of this area. Be sure to check out Buzzard Roost while you're there; just a quick jaunt to your right once you reach the ridge (you might see this rock outcropping to your right on your ascent and think it's Sharp Top). Sharp Top itself has many "false summits," as you approach, but you'll know you're there when you see the building/signs. Excellent, unobstructed views. Highly recommended!

Stats (all including Buzzard Roost)
3.30 miles RT
1438 ft. elevation gain
1:30 hours RT

Switchback trail zigzags up to the peak. The view is amazing from the peak. Usually rather windy due to nothing being there to break the wind. Pretty much a 360deg view. Simply breathtaking. Will definitely hike again!

15 days ago

Absolutely beautiful hike, one of my favorites because it has an amazing view for me and beautiful waterfalls for my sister. The first half, I thought I was going to die from all the stairs but higher up is less steep. Thanks to all the recent rain and the general humidity around the falls, there were some pretty muddy spots but all were passable. There were a few trees I had to duck around but they weren't bad, I'm assuming they'll be taken care of when the shutdown ends.The bathrooms were closed but everything else is as usual. The fee ($3) is collected in an envelope that the individuals take care of so that is still. It took a little over 2 hours to hike including sitting and enjoying the view for about 10 minutes. Definitely recommend.

15 days ago

Quite muddy today. Still a few trees down on the trail.

It was a really great trail. We started at the visitors center and went up the zig zag trail to Harkening Hill. It was a mild January day so the views were amazing. It got super chilly on top of the mountain with the winds. There were boulders everywhere for the kids to climb on and explore. We finally made it to the summit, close to 2 miles. It was beautiful. Probably not much of a view in the summer time though. The trail back down towards Johnson’s Farm was easy going. We missed out on the farm, when the trail came to a T we went right because the sign said the farm was 1600ft left and we assumed that meant you could walk down to the farm and then walk back up (the trail actually goes down to the farm and circles back to the visitors center) oh well, next we will go to the farm. The trail back down the mountain crossed a couple creeks and the kids loved that. There were fallen trees to climb over the creek. We took 7 kids on the hike and everyone did great.

My husband and I completed this trail on New Year's Day!
Parts of the trail were very muddy due to all of our recent rains, but still passable. The hike was perfect, not to easy, not too hard. The views at the top are well with the hike!
We spent quite a while exploring all of the mountain top possible, taking little trails that allowed various views!
I could spend all day up there!

Great views from the top, not terribly difficult

on Buffalo Mountain Trail

17 days ago

A hidden gem! Views at the top are amazing for such a short hike (maybe 2 miles round trip). The gravel road up to the trailhead is narrow and can be difficult when you meet another car. We met several fellow hikers who brought their dogs and kids (as young as 4ish). The incline going up isn’t difficult and most of the rocks in the path are stable. The drive up from NC was nice too.

17 days ago

Long this trail went by myself took me 132 minutes from start to finish with quick pictures! Highly recommended!

17 days ago

Very nice hike with awesome views on Spy Rock. Reminds me of a mini version of Old Rag, but not as difficult. Views along the trail (AT most of the way) are best during winter months.

18 days ago

Clean trail, not overpopulated, amazing view!!

19 days ago

DO THIS HIKE! Completely agree with all of the other reviews on this hike. It may not sound like much or get the same hype as some of the other hikes in the area but don't be fooled, buffalo mountain is an extraordinary hike. The hike itself is not difficult and I would certainly agree with its moderate rating. The views at the top are insanely beautiful and rival any other hikes in the area. Personally this is my favorite hike with a view in all of the area.

Great views. Took 7yr old daughter & pup on this trail in the rain. We loved it. Good mixture of terrain for kids to experience.

My favorite hike i’ve ever done. A must do if you live in the area. There is a porta potty at the tail head and a pretty spacious parking lot. Hike up was really easy and trail blazes were clearly marked. Awesome hike with a great view

21 days ago

Great, fairly easy hike, and the waterfall provides stunning views. Hiked this on 1/1/19, and there are still trees across the trail, according to the locals, caused by a extremely strong windstorm (the trees on the mountain literally snapped in half, and that went on for miles). The roads to the parking lot are clear (coming from Nellysford). Also, due to the government shutdown, the bathrooms at the base are closed, so make sure you go before getting to the parking lot. The $3 parking fee still applies.

This was my third visit to Sharp Top. 61° at the base parking on New year's day. Legs burnnin a third of the way up. Too many stone steps to count but a great workout! The view is wonderful! Unfortunately it was blowin a Gale on the summit decided not to do Buzzards Roost. Definitely do this one!

23 days ago

Very nice hike! Some notes/tips:
-my GPS logged the "4 mile" loop (according to the signs at the preserve) as 3.65 miles, including a couple of miss-starts and short spur trails.
-if you're looking to do the longer "4 mile" loop (sign indicates this is marked by blue blazes), you actually do have to follow the red blazes for the first .3 miles from the parking lot. At this point, you'll reach the "trailhead" where the blue blazes begin. It's well marked from this point forward, and there are various options for shorter hikes. There are a couple of short spur trails, too, that are short enough to be worth it even on foggy/low-visibility days.
-a previous review mentions a large tree that uprooted. The tree is still there, but a new path has been constructed through the hole in the ground, including stepping stones. There were a couple of smaller pines blown across the trail as well, but they're easy enough to step through.
-counterclockwise (once you get down to the "trailhead") is a good tip. You have the switchbacks working in your favor on the climb back up in this case.
-the coordinates to the parking lot are linked correctly on All Trails (through Google Maps). The road, however, is steep and windy, often only a car length and a half wide. It was very foggy when I went, so drive slowly and carefully. Coming from Salem, the parking lot will be on the right side of the road; descend into the gravel parking area and you'll see the start of the trail.

3.65 miles
1:21 hours
889 ft elevation gain

23 days ago

Beautiful view. Much like hawks bill.

Really nice hike - especially in the winter. Rhododendron are particularly beautiful. Pretty easy - took us maybe 2.5 hours total (and that was taking the long route up and back - which I would highly recommend). Definitely worth coming back in the summer/fall.

27 days ago

Beautiful views in the winter. Going up the blue trail you will see old homesteads, back down the yellow trail keep an eye out for a side trail to your right leading you down to The Kettles. A few trees to cross but nothing impassable.

Short hike, and easy for beginners. Fantastic view at the top!

Great moderate hike. Take it counterclockwise to avoid too much uphill (mostly at the end). There are a couple places to stop to enjoy a view or a water break. When I was there mid-November 2018 a massive tree uprooted next to the trail and wiped it out. IF not yet repaired, we found it best to go into the crater left by the tree and back out again. If coming from Salem, GPS directions are incorrect and will tell you the parking area and trailhead are about 2 miles before you actually get to the parking area.

amazing hike. very steep

worth the climb.

1 month ago

5-18, Beautiful, flat, paved trail. Took us a little over an hour. Amazing Mountain View’s and the lake it circles is teeming with wildlife. We went on a super foggy day- very cool! The restaurant and hotel on the grounds were also very nice

2-18, Such beautiful waterfalls and bridges! This is one of my favorite hikes in VA. You really feel like you are in an enchanted forest. We went on a foggy day which made it look even prettier! Highly recommend

Nice hike. we stuck to the red trail this time but definitely going back!

2 months ago

The hike up will definitely get your heart pumping. The view from the top is fantastic. Worth the hike!

2 months ago

This trail is beautiful, but it needs some TLC. There are lots of downed trees on the path and on the road that leads to the park. I love the bench at the top. Nothing like "sitting on top of the world with your legs hanging free."

2 months ago

LOVED this hike! It was very icy at the top and definitely as hard as the app says, but the view at the top is worth it!! I took my two dogs who both did great. It’s well mapped and everyone I passed was extremely friendly. It got there at 10 am on a Sunday and it wasn’t too crowded, but when I let the parking lot was full.

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