Nelson County High Point Trip Report

Maintop Mtn (4,040+ ft) and two areas on the Priest (4040+ ft and spot elevation 4,063 ft)

Date: March 23, 2002
Authors: Dale Millsap and Ryan Bowles

Maintop Mtn: From Montebello go southeast on SR-56 for 1.3 miles. Turn right onto SR-690 at the sign for the fish hatchery. Follow this dirt road for 0.3 mile to a Y-intersection and bear left. Continue an additional 0.1 mile and park in the AT trail parking area. (There is a locked gate on the gravel road.) Hike the gravel road for 1.1 miles to reach the AT, turn left on the AT (toward Spy Rock) then an additional 0.8 mile on the AT to reach Maintop Mountain. A cairn marks the likely high point. Total elevation gain is about 1300 feet in 1.9 miles. Don't miss the opportunity to visit Spy Rock near the saddle on the AT - the views are wonderful.

The Priest: Go back on SR-690 to SR-56. Turn right and go southeast for 0.3 mile. Turn right on SR-826. Follow this dirt road for 3.6 miles to the parking area for the upper trailhead of the Crabtree Falls Trail. Park here and hike the road an additional 0.3 mile to the AT. (Even with high clearance and 4WD, there is no good parking area beyond Crabtree Falls.) Turn left (north) on the AT, and follow the AT 1.6 miles to The Priest. The far side of The Priest is obvious as the trail descends quite dramatically. Topo maps show two areas on top. We visited as many as six within those two. Even with no leaves on the trees, there is no good line of sight to verify which is the highest. Total elevation gain is about 1000 ft in 1.9 miles.

You can also reach The Priest from route 56 just east of the village of Tyro. It's over 3 miles and 3000 feet of elevation gain on the AT.