Peaks of Otter has been a popular location to see spectacular views and sunrises since the days of Thomas Jefferson. Today, it is still a major developed area on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The motor road follows the crest of the ridge into the Peaks area, where Highway 43 joins the Parkway from Bedford. In the valley formed by Sharp Top, Flat Top, and Harkening Hill, the area has a lodge and restaurant, visitor center, campground, picnic area, and historic farm. The mountains all have trails ranging from less than a mile to more than four miles, and there is nearby access to the Appalachian Trail. In addition, the area is almost totally surrounded by the Jefferson National Forest, which only adds to its appeal as a destination for Parkway visitors.

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Review of Peaks of Otter

Active and Adventure Review of Peaks of Otter

Away Travel Editor: Alistair Wearmouth
editor favorite Editor Favorite
Editor Rating 5.0 out of 5 Recommended for:
Camping,Day Hiking,Road Biking,Trekking and Backpacking
Editor Tips & Helpful Hints
  • Try the 63-mile Peaks of Otter Challenge, which starts easily enough through rolling Allegheny farmland before rising sharply to ascend the Blue Ridge at Bearwallow Gap. You can camp or stay at the lodge here—the spectacular sunsets and sunrises come free.
  • The pick of the trails are the easy 1.6-mile Fallingwater Cascades Trail and the more strenuous hikes to the summits of Sharp Top and Flat Top mountains. There is a shuttle-bus service to the peak of Sharp Top, but skip that for the more enjoyable trail, which also takes in the overlook at Buzzard's Roost.

Blue Ridge Parkway (milepost 84-87)
West of Bedford, Virginia

Visitor Information

Telephone Number: (828) 298-0398
The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

Review by Away Copyright © 2010 all rights reserved.