Peaks of Otter

Map of TRACK Trail at Peaks of Otter

Peaks of Otter is formed by three mountains with Abbott Lake in the center valley - Sharp Top Mountain (3,875 feet), Flat Top Mountain (4,001 feet), and Harkening Hill (3,372 feet).

There are several options for hiking- Sharp Top Trail and Flat Top Trail allow visitors the challenge to summit the peaks while the Abbott Lake Trail offers views of the beautiful lake. In 2015, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation provided funding to pave the Abbott Lake Loop Trail, making it the first complete accessible trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Johnson Farm, a mountain farmstead established in 1767 by Thomas Wood and then purchased by John T. Johnson in 1852, exists today much as it did in the 1930’s.  Peaks of Otter, operated by the National Park Service, is located at Milepost 85 on the Blue Ridge Parkway between the Piedmont to the east, and the Shenandoah Valley with the Allegheny Mountains to the west. 

Track an adventure here
Collectible Sticker for Peaks of Otter

Location Details

Recreational Features: Canoe / Kayak, Picnic Tables, Fishing, Interpretive Programs, Birding
Amenities: Restrooms, Visitor Center, Gift Shop, Pet Area
ADA Compliant:
Seasonality:
Scarecrows in the Johnson Farmstead garden
Apples in a tree
Boardwalk by the water
Historic apple orchard
Historic Johnson Farmhouse
Kids in Parks trail head kiosk
Kids in Parks trail head kiosk and interpretive sign
Lodge by Abbott Lake
Historic Johnson Farmhouse
Dock on Abbott Lake and the Lodge in the background

Adventures for Peaks of Otter

Animal Athletes brochure
Hiking

Peaks of Otter: Animal Athletes

Difficulty:
Easy
Trail length:
1.50
The Animal Athletes adventure challenges kids to exercise with the animals. This brochure gives kids eight different animal exercises they can do along the trail. From hummingbird hand-swings to lizard pushups, kids are sure to have fun getting in shape with the animals during their outdoor adventures.
Birds of the Blue Ridge Mountains brochure
Hiking

Peaks of Otter: Birds

Difficulty:
Easy
Trail length:
1.50
The Birds of the Blue Ridge Mountains brochure shows kids how to identify birds along the trail. The brochure contains illustrations of some of the more common woodland birds and information on how to identify them through various clues.
Johnson Farm Hide and Seek brochure
Hiking

Peaks of Otter: Johnson Farm Hide n' Seek

Difficulty:
Easy
Trail length:
1.50
The Johnson Farm Hide and Seek brochure was developed as to give kids and families a scavenger hunt adventure at a historic farm on the Parkway. The brochure is designed so that kids of all ages can walk along the trail and discover “farm-type” things that are can be found at the Johnson Farm.
Living in Appalachia brochure
Hiking

Peaks of Otter: Living in Appalachia

Difficulty:
Easy
Trail length:
1.50
The Living in Appalachia brochure was designed to help kids and families learn about life in the Appalachians then and now. This brochure gives examples of what the requirements for life was like in the 1930’s at Johnson Farm and what they are like today.
Nature's Hide and Seek brochure
Hiking

Peaks of Otter: Natures Hide n' Seek

Difficulty:
Easy
Trail length:
1.50
The Nature's Hide & Seek brochure is designed so that kids of all ages can walk along the trail and discover common things that are often overlooked in nature. Some of them are hard to find, others are easy. Best of all, the adventure never ends because every time you walk the trail you will discover new things hiding in nature.
The Need for Trees brochure
Hiking

Peaks of Otter: Need for Trees

Difficulty:
Easy
Trail length:
1.50
By following the picture and textual clues found in "The Need for Trees" brochure, kids will discover six of the more common trees found along the trail. During their adventure, kids will learn about the need that people and other animals have for trees and about the roles trees play in the forest.

Directions

85919 Blue Ridge Parkway
Bedford, VA 24523
Latitude: 37.445526000000
Longitude: -79.608892300000

 For hours of operation and seasonal closure information, click here.

For the official Peaks of Otter map, click here.

Directions from I-81 South
I-81 South to Exit 167 -Buchanan Exit or Exit 168 - Arcadia Exit. Follow route 11 south into the Town of Buchanan. Pick up Route 43 South to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Turn left (North) on the Parkway. The Visitor Center is located at Milepost 86 on the right.

Directions from I-81 North
I-81 North to Exit 162 (Buchanan Exit). Follow Route 11 North into the town of Buchanan. Pick up Route 43 South to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Turn left (North) on the Parkway. The Visitor Center is located at Milepost 86 on the right.

Directions from 460 West
460 West to the first Bedford Exit (460 Business). Pick up Route 43 North (Peaks Street) to the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Visitor Center is located 500 yards on the right.

Directions from 460 East
460 East to the first Bedford Exit (460 Business). Pick up Route 43 North (Peaks Street) to the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Visitor Center is located 500 yards on the right.

 

Partners

The TRACK Trail program is sponsored by the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation.

The Peaks of Otter TRACK Trail was made possible through a partnership formed between the Kids in Parks program and the National Park Service.

There are several other activities for kids available on the Blue Ridge Parkway! To find out more, visit the NPS website at http://www.nps.gov/blri/forkids/index.htm