The Peaks of Otter, located in Bedford County, Virginia, is a highlight of the Blue Ridge Parkway (milepost 86) consisting of three peaks: Sharp Top, Flat Top, and Harkening Hill. Sharp Top had been previously believed by early settlers to be the highest mountain in North America by Thomas Jefferson (of course, later disproven, as even the tallest mountain of Virginia is Mount Rogers). The area is rich in history, with Native Americans leaving archaeological evidence as old as 8,000 years at the bottom of Abbott Lake, and early settlers by the mid-1700s. With the spectacular 360° views atop the summit of Sharp Top, it's obvious why so many people, from past to present, flock to the area.
This route was created as a challenge to summit all three peaks as fast as possible by foot, as there are several paths to take for most efficiency. The only true out-and-back trail is that of Sharp Top, and the road leading up to Sharp Top should not be used (as also stated by the park services, no pedestrian traffic allowed on the bus route). Also keep in mind the Blue Ridge Parkway closes their gates during the winter. There is no set route or order to take to summit each, it is up to the individual how they plan their path between each, which is part of the fun!
Check trail and parkway status here: https://www.nps.gov/blri/planyourvisit/peaks-otter-trails.htm
I will be attempting a route tomorrow (October 27, 2020) parking at the Sharp top lot. I plan on doing this unsupported. I am very interested in seeing if the order of peaks I have in mind will be the most efficient and hope to set a baseline for others to go by and improve on.
I am planning on attempting this route tomorrow (April 13, 2021). I will be doing it unsupported and I'm just going to go give it my best and see what I can do!
I'm going to give this a try today (5/8/2021).