Chimney Top

  • Highlights: Views, rock formations
  • Distance: 5.4 miles out and back
  • Elevation Change 1,965 feet
  • Trail Surface: Dirt with numerous rocky sections
  • Difficulty Level: Strenuous
  • Trailhead Parking: North Fork Mountain Trailhead, Smoke Hole Road near cabins WV, the small parking area holds 5-6 vehicles
  • Trail Markings: blue diamonds
  • Website: AllTrails
  • Beer Pairings: Hermitage Inn & Taphouse—Weapons Free IPA & Cold Trail Blonde Ale

Trail Map:

The Hike:

This challenging hike is a steep cardio workout. However, the views and rock formations are well worth the effort. The North Fork Mountain Trail (NFMT) spans nearly 25 miles from US 33 north to WV route 28. This hike begins at the northern terminus of NFMT. The trail is well marked and well maintained. 

From the parking area near the trailhead kiosk, begin the climb on the blue-blazed NFMT. The trail is steep and rocky in places. Switchbacks make the climb a bit easier but the trail is still steep.  The trail passes through hardwood and pine forests with several rhododendron thickets. Blueberries were abundant in late July; however we didn’t see any bears.

The first views appear as you reach the ridge-line at 1.8 miles. A short unmarked spur trail on the right leads to some nice mountain and valley views. To the north, New Creek Mountain dominates the landscape. Several large talus slopes are visible near the summit. The rock wall leading up to Chimney Top is visible to the south.

Continue climbing along the ridge. The trail passes over several very rocky sections before reaching an unmarked spur trail on the right at 2.6 miles. Follow this steep rocky trail to Chimney Top. There are multiple viewpoints of the rocks and valley below. The views and the rocks are truly stunning—some of the best in the mid-Atlantic. Retrace your route back down to the trailhead parking area.

Hike Photos:

Click on an image below for an enlarged view.

Beer Pairing: 

Hermitage Inn & Taphouse in Petersburg WV is located about 10 minutes from the trailhead. They offer six taps of craft beer, a variety of craft beer in cans, and a full bar. They have indoor and outdoor seating and a decent menu with a variety of food options. 

Kathy enjoyed Weapons Free (9% ABV • 30 IBU), a double IPA from High Ground Brewing in WV. This hazy New England-style IPA is brewed with Galaxy, Nelson Sauvin, and Citra hops. Pete wanted something cold and refreshing in a glass. Cold Trail Blond Ale (5.5% ABV) from Mountain State Brewing is a wheat beer with a crisp, clean finish.

Hike and drink responsibly. Never drink and drive. Stay safe, be responsible, and leave no trace.