Monroe County High Point Trip Report

Peters Mtn (4,073 ft)

Date: July 25, 2001
Author: Fred Lobdell

General: This is a more interesting hike, and less difficult, than it would appear from a casual inspection of the topographic map. The ridge line forms the VA-WV state line, and also the boundary of Jefferson National Forest. The Virginia side is part of the NF, while the West Virginia side is largely privately owned. This is a total round trip hike of about 8 miles with a total elevation gain (one way) of about 1,200 feet, most of which is gained in the first mile and a half.

Access: From the intersection of US 460 with Business 460 on the east side of Pearisburg, go east to the next exit, which is county 635. Go generally northeast on 635 for perhaps 16 to 18 miles, to its intersection with county 613. [This is the same 613 mentioned in my trip report for Craig County VA, and in Ron Tagliapietra's report for Giles Co., VA. This intersection may be reached by continuing north on 613 past the Appalachian Trail parking area for another 2 miles or so, passing the entrance to White Rocks campground en route.] The intersection on 635 will be signed for the campground to the right. Route 613 also goes left a couple of hundred feet further on, and leads to the trailhead for this part of Peters Mountain.

Turn left on 613 and take it for perhaps 3 miles or so and staying on the main road at intersections. There is a stream to be forded, but if the water is not high, this should be no problem for a passenger car; the stream bottom is flat and firm. A half mile past the stream the road straight ahead is gated, and the road that forks right becomes very rough and fairly steep. Passenger cars must be parked here, but a 4-wheel drive, high clearance vehicle might be driven all the way to the ridge crest, and maybe considerably further. This fork is shown on the topographic map, and is at 3,100 feet elevation.

Directions to Summit: Hike (or drive) up the rocky road for more than a mile to a 4-way intersection, shown on the topo. Here the Allegheny Trail, marked by frequent yellow blazes, uses the cross road. Turn right and ascend to the ridge, then continue uphill on the road. Part way to the crest of the first knob the trail goes off to the right, but rejoins the road a bit further on. It then leaves the road on the right again. I found the Allegheny Trail generally in need of maintenance, except that it has been re-blazed at frequent intervals this year. But travel is better on the road, and besides, you'll miss some of the flavor of this hike if you don't take the road.

Just before reaching the first knob I was met by a jeep driven by a guy named David, who was accompanied by his small and friendly dog. David was drinking something that he referred to as "mountain mix" out of a Schweppes can, and he offered me some. But I declined with thanks, preferring not to try something like that at 10 in the morning. David offered me a ride as far as the road went, and this offer I accepted. After he got the jeep turned around, we passed over the first knob and after a very brief downhill stretch, passed around the north side of the second knob. We descended maybe 50 feet and then rose to the third knob, marked by a 4,000-foot contour on the map. On the ground it is marked by a house and golf course! David said that was his nephew's house and, as it was a weekday, no one was home. The vehicle tracks passed faintly through the golf course and past the house, then the road descended about 150 feet to the next saddle. From this point it rose to knob 4036, where David's son had a house. The house was on the north side of the knob with superb views down into West Virginia. David pointed out his own house and several others in the valley. This is where the road ends.

From in front of the house, it is quite clear how the rest of the hike goes. The smaller, nearby knob that tops out at 3,940+ is to your left front, and the ultimate goal is beyond that to your right front. Climb up onto the knob behind the house and pick up the yellow-blazed Allegheny Trail. The trail goes northeast, passing to the right side of the 3,940+ knob, then gradually bends around to the east, crossing the saddle between the two knobs. The trail passes to the left (north) side of knob 4,073, and at the height of land you'll need to bushwhack south to the summit. The top is marked by some boulders, and I think the highest is marked by a cairn. Return the same way, or follow the Allegheny Trail all the way if you prefer.