The West Virginia. Cyclopedia

Flat Top Mountain

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Lookout tower above Winterplace near Flat Top, WV
Flat Top Mountain Panorama
Ski slopes descend the north face at Ghent, WV

Several Appalachian mountains named "Flat Top" are located in West Virginia, including Flat Top Mountain in western Monroe County and "Great Flat Top Mountain," which forms a common county borders of Raleigh County, Mercer County, Summers County, Wyoming County.

Great Flat Top Mountain

Among the highest mountains in southern West Virginia, Great Flat Top rises to 3,570 feet above sea level at Huff's Knob, near Ghent, WV. Because of its relatively high elevation, the mountain is a winter-recreation destination and the home of Winterplace Ski Resort. Interstate Highway 64 (I-64) crosses the mountain near Winterplace, ascending to its highest elevation near the ski area.

The mountain's summits extend more than 30 miles across southern West Virginia, following the general trend of the Appalachian Mountains from the Virginia border in the southwest to the New River Gorge in the northeast. The mountain is geologically considered a southern outlier of the Allegheny Mountains of the Appalachian Mountains. Many heights along the mountain are known as mountains themselves, including Bluff Mountain (3,480 ft.), Indian Grave Mountain (3,440 ft.), White Oak Mountain (3,280 ft.), Freezeland Mountain (3,480 ft.), and Swell Mountain (3,290 ft.). As a whole, these mountains are sometimes known collectively as the "Flat Top Mountains."

The origin of the mountain's name is unverified, though two common histories claim it refers to either the level character of the highlands north of the mountain or the level character the mountain's summit in comparison with East River Mountain, to the south.

To the south, the land drops swiftly more than 2,000 feet into the gorges of the Bluestone River and its tributaries. The mountain is also variously known according to peaks along its crest -- Pilot Knob, Bluff Mountain (3,480 ft.), Rich Knob (3,360 ft.), Indian Grave Mountain (3,440 ft.), Bald Knob (3,400 ft.), Huff Knob (3,570 ft.), White Oak (3,280 ft.), Freezeland Mountain (3,480 ft.), and Swell Mountain (3,290 ft.).

Flat Top forms the common border between Summers and Mercer counties, to the southeast, and Raleigh and Wyoming counties, to the northeast. Precipitation on the southern face of the mountain drains into the Bluestone River; precipitation to the north drains into the Guyandotte River and by way of Glade Creek and Beaver Creek into New River.

As a result of its elevation, the highland around Flat Top Mountain enjoys locally heavy snows in winter and pleasantly cool temperatures in summer. Skiing is a popular sport on the mountain, and many vacation homes are have been located amid its woodland and farmland. Flat Top Lake, a gated community of vacation properties, is located just off the Interstate 77 junction with U.S. 19 near the mountain's summit. Also on the mountain, Winterplace Ski Resort, less than two miles from the interstate exit, is among the most accessible skiing areas in the southeastern U.S.

See also:
Winterplace Ski Resort
Flat Top, WV, Real Estate

Topo Map showing summit of Flat Top Mountain

Map showing Great Flat Top Mountain in Raleigh County
Map showing Flat Top Mountain in Monroe County