Appalachian Trail (AT)
Section: Pinefield Hut to Hightop Hut
Length: 8.0 miles (one-way)
Blaze Color: White Rectangle
Hiked on: June 28th, 2010
The Appalachian Trail (AT) is a footpath which traverses over 2,100 miles
from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine. The section
described here, which traverses from Pinefield Hut to Hightop Hut, is
located approximately 33 trail miles north of the AT's southern entry point
into Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.
The Pinefield Hut area, where this trail description begins, has a
shelter and a few areas to tent camp above the latrine.
I do not know for certain that there is parking available for the
Pinefield Hut area. It appeared
from aerial imagery that you could park on Skyline Drive at the coordinates
found by clicking on the button in the right-hand pane but you must verify
this on your own before leaving your vehicle at this, or any other, parking
area. In addition, you should
register with the Park Service prior to hiking and camping in the park.
There are special regulations that they need to inform you about such
as length of stay, firewood and fire bans, where you are allowed to camp,
Beginning at the intersection of the Pinefield Hut area side trail and the
Appalachian Trail, the trail travels east and crosses Skyline Drive in
one-tenth of a mile. For the
first mile, the trail climbs approximately 350 feet and then descends almost
600 feet where it crosses Skyline Drive again at mile point two.
From here, the trail is particularly demanding and it climbs 700 feet
over the next 1.5 miles. Near
the top, the trail makes a northerly turn and begins to descend again.
At mile point 4.7, the trail reaches one of the few good views along
this section of the AT. Here,
you will find a nice rock outcrop where you can take a few pictures, relax,
and grab a snack. Another 0.5
miles of hiking beyond the nice view and an additional 300 feet of descent
will lead you to Powell Gap and another crossing of Skyline Drive.
Powell Gap is at mile point 5.2.
The trail makes a rather uneventful climb over the next 1.6 miles
where it reaches Smith Roach Gap and another crossing of Skyline Drive.
From Smith Roach Gap, there is a climb of approximately 600 feet over
1.2 miles. It is here that you
will reach the turn to the Hightop Hut Shelter and camping area.
On your way to shelter, you will see a side trail that leads downhill
to a spring. Do not forget to
boil or filter the water that you collect, regardless of how clean it looks.
Smith Roach Gap seems to be the closest parking area to the Hightop Hut
Shelter and camping area (1.2 miles).
There is another crossing of Skyline Drive approximately 2.1 miles
beyond the Hightop Hut Shelter and camping area, however.
Smith Roach Gap is much closer so I
have included directions to this parking area.
You can find these directions by clicking on the button on the right
side of this page.
Many of the maps on this website use a "Geolocation" feature. This feature attempts to find your current geographic position and pinpoint that location on the map. This feature may be useful if you are accessing the map via smart phone and you want to determine your location in relation to the mapped trails. The information obtained from the "Geolocate" feature should not be a replacement for common sense and you should not rely on its accuracy because the information obtained can be in error and beyond control of this website. If you do not wish for the maps to find your current location on the map, do not press the "Geolocate" button at the top-right corner of the maps.
The information contained in these maps were believed to be accurate at the time of publishing. However, trails can be rerouted and the information contained in the map should be no substitute for the trail information found at trailheads or on the trail itself (trail blazes). In many instances, you will find that water sources have been marked on the trails. These water sources were believed to be accurate at the time of publishing but all of the water sources may not be reliable due to current weather conditions (drought). The information contained in the maps should not be a replacement for common sense and you should not rely on their accuracy because the information obtained can be in error and beyond control of this website.
The directions to most trails are given with the aid
of Google Maps. The information obtained from these directions are
not guaranteed to be accurate. In addition, the map directions may
list the quickest way to the destination but they could possibly send
you on a route that may be impassable with your vehicle.
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