Ascent of Big Flat Mountain on 2004-08-06

Climber: Scott Surgent

Others in Party:Beth
Date:Friday, August 6, 2004
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Big Flat Mountain
    Elevation:3389 ft / 1032 m

Ascent Trip Report

The highpoint of Albemarle County, Big Flat Mountain, is an easy drive from Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. It is located in the middle of a campground. During the summer, one can simply drive up to the top, which is what we did.

We took the scenic route into the mountains and followed Skyline Drive south until it ended near Waynesboro. Last November, we had driven much of Skyline Drive in the northern part of the park, but rain and fog blocked the views. Today was the opposite, as a cool, dry airmass came down from Canada and kicked out all the humidity, leaving crystal-clear conditions. Beth kept on telling me "this is unusual, this isn't really how it is...". Well, it was lovely, that's what it was.

We entered Skyline Drive from its junction with US-30, and drove south about 16 miles to the Loft Mountain area. This is a campground as well as a place to get gas, groceries and souvenirs. From Skyline Drive, we followed the Loft Mountain Road to the top. Then it was just a matter of finding the little access road to the right area. We parked and walked the final short segment to the summit area, which is topped by two large water tanks and enclosed by a fence.

The highest ground seemed to be inside the fence, but ground on the outside seemed to be just as high. A good-sized rock nearby a picnic table just a few feet from the top seemed to be actually higher than the ground inside the fence. We then drove to a nearby picnic area where we had lunch, and where the views were better. From here, we drove down into the lowlands to Staunton, where we had a meal, a hike and a hotel waiting for us.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:30 ft / 9 m
    Round-Trip Distance:0.2 mi / 0.3 km
    Trailhead:3359 ft / 1023 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike

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