Greene County Highpoint Trip Report

tri-county corner south of Hazeltop (3,640+ ft)

Date: August 22, 2003
Author: Gene Daniell

To start by answering Dale Millsap's implied query about the reason for the strange location of this high point: the county line between Page County on the west and Madison and Greene Counties on the east is formed by the Shenandoah ridge crest. This is quite logical, as travel across the ridge has historically been more or less difficult, making this location of the dividing line between jurisdictions well-suited to administrative purposes. The Greene-Madison line follows the Conway River and, where the stream ceases to exist as the ridge crest is approached, the line follows the bottom of a ravine and then continues in this line to the ridgecrest. In effect it runs where the stream presumably would if there were enough water to make a stream. The consequence of these facts for anyone interested in visiting the Greene County high point is that this point must lie either on the ridge crest or (because the county line is probably "smoothed" rather than zigzagging over every little prominence) very close to it in the wedge of land defined by the county boundary. Therefore, while it would be very difficult to identify the exact high point, it is fairly easy to be certain that one has passed over it. A GPS can be used (I did) but it is hardly necessary.

Start in Bootens Gap at the small parking area on the east side of Skyline Drive - there is no sign for the parking area but it is almost directly opposite the sign for the gap. The USGS map is somewhat inaccurate for this trail section. It runs much more on the east side of the ridge than the map indicates but fortunately the map is correct for the immediate vicinity of the high point. Follow the AT south until the Laurel Prong Trail enters on the right, then start paying attention. Soon the trail makes a double-blazed sharp turn, then runs to the west side of the ridge and soon passes Dale Millsap's cairn, which is visible from the trail. It then swings back to the east side of the ridge and almost immediately encounters a double-blazed sharp left turn.

Leave the trail here and descend through very open woods along the ridge crest (which is unfortunately rather broad and flat in this area, less well-defined than other nearby sections), taking care to touch every local high spot, particularly on the east side of the crest. Dale's cairn is located on an outcrop which is a logical but by no means certain candidate for the high point. Below here take care not to drift off to the left (east) as the ridge line falsely trends a bit in this direction but only below where the high point must lie. When you return to the AT in the area where it crosses the ridge at the bottom of this section, you will have surely passed over the Greene County high point if you have been reasonably conscientious.

It is a bit easier to find the spot for leaving the trail if you are descending from Hazeltop rather than ascending from Bootens Gap. From the summit, descend about a quarter-mile to a zigzag where the trail turns first sharp left then sharp right in a short distance - both turns are double-blazed. The leaving point is a few steps below the lower (right) turn.