Peaks of Otter Recreation Area, 25 mi northeast of Roanoke, offers a close-up view of cone-shaped Sharp Top Mountain, which Thomas Jefferson once called America's tallest peak. At 3,875 feet it's not even the tallest in the park—nearby Flat Top is 4,004 feet. You can hike to both peaks and to little brother Harkening Hill, as well as to Fallingwater Cascades, a thrilling multitier waterfall. For those not up to the climb, a bus heads most of the way up Sharp Top hourly throughout the day in season. The peaks rise about the shores of Abbott Lake, a bucolic picnic spot. A pleasant lakeside lodge and campground along the placid lake below are an ideal base for local trekking.
Blue Ridge Pkwy., milepost 86, unknown, Virginia, 24523, United States