The rocky ridge that extends southwest from the summit. This is where the fun is on Three Top.

Three Top Mountain (12-7-06)

Three Top Mountain caught my attention when I climbed nearby Elk Knob the week before. It looked like a fairly rugged peak from a distance and when I got home and checked out the peak on Topozone I was excited to find a mountain with lots of tightly packed contours. I found out quickly why I had never heard of Three Top Mountain. Try doing a search online for it and see what you come up with. I didn't find squat. I finally ended up contacting an online friend who let me in on the tightly guarded secret directions to the peak (if you want I'll gladly send them to you). It was a great hike that I would highly recommend to anyone. The peak looks like it is rarely visited and there is a lot of fun scrambling to be done on the summit ridge. Weather forced me down early so I'm sure there are a number of places I missed. I'll hopefully be back someday to do more exploring...


Trailhead GPS Coordinates:  36.421857, -81.597780


Route Type:  Out-and-back           Difficulty:  CHALLENGING  (Petzoldt Rating:  6.80 )

Hike Length:  3.5 miles                    Hike Duration:  1:30

Trailhead Temp:  30'F                     Trail Traffic:  NONE!!

Min. Elevation:  3,580'                     Max. Elevation:  5,100'

Total Vertical Gain:  1,650'              Avg. Elevation Gain / Mile:  943' (ascent)


Trails Used (blaze color):  Three Top Mountain Trail (unblazed)


  • Dan Weemhoff (dwhike)

    on July 4, 2017

    Appreciate the comments Kelly! Hope the album can help you with your trip. Just be aware I haven't been there in nearly a decade (it's time I went back!) so some of the info found here could be out-of-date. Good luck and I'd love to hear about your adventures once you go! Best of luck!

  • Kelly Jordan Clewell

    on June 30, 2017

    Thanks for the info! I can't wait to hike this mountain...starting a bucket list with a lot of Ashe's mountains being at the top of the list! I'll be stalking your posts! :D

  • Andora Sidden Collins

    on April 10, 2016

    My son and I hiked three top two years ago and it was a beautiful hike. Weather cut our Tim short as well but wow what awesome views. We may go up again. Thank you for the beautiful shots

  • Dan Weemhoff (dwhike)

    on February 6, 2016

    Hi James, thanks for stopping by the page! Unfortunately I don't have up-to-date info on trail access to Three Top. It's been 10 years since I have been there. At the time the trailhead was located off of Oak Trail, near Creston, at a parking lot marked as 'Game Land Access'. Your best bet I feel is to visit the Nature Conservancy's page on Three Top at: http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/northcarolina/placesweprotect/three-top-mountain-game-land.xml

  • James Robert Smith

    on January 14, 2016

    Hey! How do I get directions to this trail? Let me know.