Peaks of Otter Visitor Center, Lodging, and Restaurant Blue Ridge Parkway VA

Peaks of Otter

Peaks of Otter Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 86

Peaks of Otter is located at milepost 86 on the Blue Ridge Parkway and has attracted visitors for centuries; making it a natural landmark in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Visitors are attracted to the wildlife, high peaks and mountains, and cool summer temperatures. The Peaks of Otter are three mountain peaks in the Blue Ridge Mountains, overlooking the town of Bedford, Virginia. These peaks are named Sharp Top, Flat Top, and Harkening Hill. Abbott Lake behind the Peaks at Otter Lodge and Restaurant is between the three peaks. The National Park Service preserves the peaks and lake as part of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Visitors can stay the night or dine at the Peaks of Otter Lodge, explore the visitor center, visit the Johnson Farm, or hike one of the many trails.

Native Americans have been visiting the Peaks of Otter for at least 8,000 years for hunting, travel, and rest. European settlers started establishing the area in the mid-1700s.  In 1766 Thomas Word settled in the community of Peaks of Otter.  In 1834 the first local inn was created by Polly Wood, a widower who opened a guest room in her log cabin where settlers could stay the night and get a warm meal. Polly’s Ordinary sits on the northeast part of the lake. By the 1870’s, Benjamin Wilkes had opened the famous Mons Hotel, and the Peaks of Otter was home to over 20 families, a school, a church, and the hotel. One of the families included the Johnson family, which lived for 3 generations until the 1930’s on the now-preserve Johnson farmstead. By the early 1900’s the Peaks of Otter became a popular local tourist spot and became especially noticed by the National Park Service. Abbott Lake, the lake at the base of the peaks, was man made and created in 1964 along with the official Peaks of Otter Lodge.

Famous naturalists and notable historic figures such as Thomas Jefferson and Robert E. Lee wrote about or visited the Peaks of Otter during their lives.

Peaks of Otter Hiking Trails

Hiking Trails

  • Sharp Top Trail
  • Flat Top Trail
  • Johnson Farm Trail
  • Harkening Hill Trail
  • Elk Run Trail
  • Abbott Lake Trail

Sharp Top is the most famous hike with its spectacular 360 degree view at the top. There is also a separate cliff formation on the other side of Sharp Top called Buzzard’s Roost, which also has great mountain views. For those who cannot hike the steep elevation of Sharp Top Trail (1.5 mile and 1,300 ft elevation gain), use the shuttle service that puts travelers within a 15 minute walk from the top.

There is a very easy hike near the Peaks of Otter Lodge a one-mile paved trail around Abbott Lake along and a 1.6-mile-loop trail to a waterfall. The Johnson family farm is a historically restored site along one of the side trails towards Harkening Hill. The historic house and outbuildings are preserved in their 1930’s form along with gardens and a small orchard. Visitors can take free tours of the farmhouse from June-September.

Lodging includes the Peaks of Otter Lodge and the Peaks of Otter campground. There is also a large picnic area with outdoor grills.

At the summit of Sharp Top, there is a famed crash site of a World War II B-25 bomber that crashed into the side of the mountain during a training exercise. The wreckage was never removed, as it is too heavy and the side of the mountain it crashed on is too steep to work on. There is a small memorial on a rock at the top of the site for the crew that died, it is a hike off trail, but the majority of the plane can still be found along the mountain with bigger parts further down as you go.

You can also visit the orchards and vineyards of the descendants of the historic Peaks of Otter Johnson and Gross families. These families had apple orchards on the Peaks of Otter back in the 1800’s and early 1900’s and now have Gross Orchard and Peaks of Otter Winery locate near Bedford.

Peaks of Otter Visitor Center Blue Ridge Parkway

Visitor Center

The Peaks of Otter visitor center offers a Ranger information desk, a gift shop, public restrooms, and exhibit area.The exhibit is about the natural and human history of the Blue Ridge Mountains a history of the area and the Peaks of Otter. One exhibit talks about Julia and Helen Smith, who took over 11,500 photos of the flowering plants found along the Parkway. the visitor center is located across the street from the Peaks of Otter lodge and restaurant. The visitor center is open from May to October.


Stay in one of the campground’s 132 sites to accommodate tents or self contained vehicles at the Peaks of Otter campground. Campsites are shaded under thick trees, and offers campers with tables, campfire rings and grills. The campground has flushing toilets, drinking water and a dump station. Electricity or RV hookups are not available at the Peaks of Otter Campground. There are no showers. Six visitors are allowed per campsite. Tent pads are 11×12 feet. Abundant wildlife like deer and wild turkey are spotted daily at the Peaks of Otter Campground, and many rare species of birds reside or migrate along the mountain ranges.

86 tent sites, 59 trailer sites, $16 per night/per site
Call for a camping reservation: (540)586-7321

85919 Blue Ridge Parkway
Bedford, VA 24523


Picnic Areas

The picnic area offers tables, charcoal grills, and comfort stations. Open seasonally May to October.


Abbott Lake is open to fishing for anyone with a valid North Carolina or Virginia fishing license. Please view the special regulations posted lakeside. Abbot Lake is 24 acres in size and is well stocked with small mouth bass and bluegill.

Peaks of Otter Lodge

Peaks of Otter Lodge

This historic lodge offers 63 rooms, a full-service restaurant, and lounge. The lodge is typically open from spring to late fall, as well as weekends in the winter. Visit the Peaks of Otter Lodge website to see available dates and book reservations online (you can also call 866-387-9905).


  • 2 Double Beds (limited rooms with 1 King)
  • Flat Screen TV
  • Free WiFi (limited in-room access)
  • In-room Coffee Maker
  • Patio or Balcony Overlooking Abbott Lake
  • All rooms and public areas, plus 25 feet from buildings, are smoke free environments.

At Peaks of Otter Lodge you’re surrounded by inspiring beauty and quiet serenity.

The perfect Blue Ridge Mountain getaway is different for everyone. Some are looking for family reunion locations. Some for romantic getaways. Traveling with a pet? We have pet-friendly accommodations making Peaks of Otter Lodge the ideal place for you and your four-legged travel companion. And if it’s a view of Abbott Lake and Sharp Top Mountain that you want, every room has that!

We offer easy access to miles of hiking trails, nearby wineries, historic sites and museums. We have full-service dining and a lounge, all with scenic views. And while we don’t have cell reception or offer great WiFi access, we’re proud to give you so many more ways to connect with your travel companions and with nature.

Peaks of Otter Lodge
85554 Blue Ridge Pkwy
Bedford, VA 24523

Peaks of Otter Lodge and Restaurant

Peaks of Otter Restaurant

Peaks of Otter’s Lake View Restaurant is a renowned destination for dining on the Blue Ridge Parkway. With a menu featuring fresh and organic local ingredients and regional specialties, the restaurant serves full-service breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.

Fresh local ingredients, spectacular regional specialties, and views of Abbott Lake make dining at Peaks of Otter Lake View Restaurant a feast for the senses! Whether you’re in the mood for a simple tasty lunch or a bountiful buffet, we have what you crave. With the exception of select holiday and special events, reservations are not taken and service is provided on a first come, first served basis. Groups of 6 or more, please call 540-586-1081.

Dining Room

Breakfast: Sat/Sun, 7:30 – 10:30 AM
Lunch: Sat, 11:30 AM – 3:30 PM
Dinner: Fri/Sat, 4:30 – 8:00 PM
Brunch: Sun, 11:30 AM – 2:30 PM

Lounge – Fri/Sat,  4:00 – 9:00 PM

Relax, unwind and enjoy our seasonal buffets prepared by the Peaks of Otter Culinary team featuring locally sourced ingredients. They may not always be available year round, but they’re always worth the wait! Join us Sundays for our Brunch Buffet featuring made to order omelets and more! Join us Friday nights for our popular Surf & Turf Buffet, available seasonally!

Special occasions call for special meals and the Peaks of Otter culinary team poll their talents to create delectable annual menus just for you. Let us handle the holiday cooking, so you’ll have more time to focus on family and building memories to last a lifetime! From New Year’s Eve to Christmas Eve, and plenty of holidays in between, check back seasonally to see what our culinary team is featuring for some of your favorite holidays!