Blue Ridge Parkway | PEAKS OF OTTER VISITOR CENTER (MP 85.9)

Peaks of Otter Visitor Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Peaks of Otter Visitor Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway

OPERATING HOURS

The Peaks of Otter Visitor Center is typically open from May through October from 10 AM to 5 PM. For current operating hours, visit the National Park Service’s official Blue Ridge Parkway Operating Hours and Seasons web page.

AMENITIES

  • Ranger-staffed information desk
  • Book / Souvenir store
  • Exhibit Area
  • Restrooms
  • Hub for hiking trails

If the Peaks of Otter Visitor Center is the first visitor center you stop at on your drive down the Blue Ridge Parkway, be sure to pick up a copy of the Blue Ridge Parkway Outdoor Guide. This tabloid-size newspaper has information on hiking trails—including trail maps for select areas—biking, fishing, facility opening hours, and other activities along the Parkway. The guide is a standard at all of the Parkway visitor centers. You can also get a Parkway brochure that includes a folding road map. Brochures on other topics such as waterfall locations and bird identification can be purchased for a couple of dollars each.

Information desk and gift shop at the Peaks of Otter Visitor Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Information desk and gift shop at the Peaks of Otter Visitor Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway

EXHIBIT AREA

Like all visitor centers on the Blue Ridge Parkway, large and small, the Peaks of Otter Visitor Center has a small exhibit area. The focus here is on the natural and human history of the Blue Ridge Mountains, especially at Peaks of Otter. Topics include the seasonal changes in the Blue Ridge Mountains, prehistoric to modern human history of the area, the resorts that once operated at Peaks of Otter, and Julia and Helen Smith, two women who took over 11,500 photos of the flowering plants found along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Not a small task in the days of film.

Exhibits at the Peaks of Otter Visitor Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Exhibits at the Peaks of Otter Visitor Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Exhibits at the Peaks of Otter Visitor Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Exhibits at the Peaks of Otter Visitor Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway

OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES

There are also a number of hiking trails that start from the Visitor Center. For information, see the Peaks of Otter Hiking Trails web page.

COUNTRY STORE

The small building next to the Visitor Center is the Country Store, a gift shop run by the same concessionaire that runs the Peaks of Otter Lodge. It is typically open from Memorial Day through the end of October. The Country Store differs from the Sharp Top Store across the street in that it is just gifts and souvenirs, whereas the Sharp Top Store has food and camping supplies.

Country Store at Peaks of Otter Recreation Area

Country Store at Peaks of Otter Recreation Area


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Last updated on November 30, 2023
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