The Peaks of Otter Campground is nestled between the bases of two dominating mountains in the rolling hills of Virginia.
The 24-acre Abbott Lake is one of the biggest attractions the Peaks of Otter Park has to offer. The lake is well-stocked with small mouth bass and bluegill. A crystal-clear mountain stream winds through the nearby picnic area.
Numerous hiking opportunities range from demanding, scaling the area's high mountain peaks, to the moderate short, flat trail around Abbott Lake. Hikers are likely to stumble upon one of the mountain meadows, filled with wildflowers and migrating butterflies in the spring and a fantastic assortment of colors in the fall.
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. Summer interpretive programs are provided for visitors to learn about the wildlife as well as the history of the area.
Campsites are shaded under an umbrella of thick trees, and provide campers with picnic tables, lantern poles, and campfire rings/grills. The campground also offers modern conveniences like flush toilets, drinking water and a dump station. Peaks of Otter Campground almost always has campsites available. In addition to the 63 sites available for advanced reservation, there are 79 first-come, first-served campsites available.
Three mountain peaks sit atop a thick blanket of forest along the famous Blue Ridge Parkway, making up the Peaks of Otter-- a recreational oasis spanning acre upon acre of rolling landscape. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a scenic byway that follows the high crests of the central and southern Appalachians for 469 miles from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina.
The Peaks of Otter Lodge and Restaurant are located within walking distance of the campground, as is the Sharp Top Country Store. Restaurant dining, grab-and-go meals, snacks, souvenir items, camping supplies, firewood, and ice are all readily available to campground patrons. The Johnson Farm, an old mountain farmstead restored and preserved to look as it did in the mid-1800s, is just a short walk away. Another restored historic structure, Aunt Polly's Ordinary, sits on the northeastern shore of Abbott Lake.
ADA Access: N
This is a huge campground it has 137 sites that is right in between two mountains. Each site has picnic tables, lantern poles, tent pads, food storage lockers, and campfire rings. 63 of their sites are available for advanced reservation and then 79 first come-first serve basis. The bath house has flush toilets, water spigots, but no showers. There is also no electric, water, or sewer hook-ups.
Lots of hiking trails, but make sure you look at the map because we unfortunately did not look at it well enough and thought that the trail was a loop when it led to the opposite side of the mountain and we had to hitch hike back to the campsite. The trails are well marked and lead to awesome views. Rate is $20 a night.
Cute little Mountain Campground. Tucked into the hillside, and only about 4 other campers while we were there, so it really felt like we had backpacked to the backcountry, when really we just drove up and set up the tent! Bathrooms were running water, but no showers and could use some updating (broken tiles, latches on doors, etc.) but all cosmetic. Definitely not the worst we saw on our 3 week trip, and the quiet greenness of the sites made up for it!
We stayed in site #7, in the trailer loop. It was a pull-through site with an additional area containing a picnic table and fire ring, accessible via a small set of steps up the hill. The whole campground is kind of “carved” out of the mountain, and is therefore quite terraced in appearance, so a lot of sites had a similar setup to ours (as in, a lower pull-through space for trailer and TV plus an upper “walk-up” area). I hadn’t seen anything like it before, and I thought it was really neat. The setting was heavily wooded, so the shade combined with the higher elevation made for a very cool, pleasant retreat from the July heat.
Facilities/Overall Park: Bath house was decent. On the ladies’ side, there were three flush toilets, two sinks with cold water only, and no soap. Was pretty old, but reasonably clean and adequate for our needs, since we were just passing through for one night. The CG as a whole looked kind of overgrown and neglected, but for some reason that added to its charm for me. The overgrowth made everything look extra green and lush, and I really like the heavily forested, secluded feel.
Surrounding Area/Attractions: The Peaks of Otter area seems to be a pretty popular destination on the Blue Ridge Parkway. There is a nice-looking lodge and restaurant on the (gorgeous) lake right around the corner from the campground, as well as an NPS visitor center, hiking trails, and a shuttle bus service that takes you to the top of one of the three peaks for which the area is named. We didn’t partake in any of these activities, since we were just passing through on our way down to the Smokies, but it would have been nice to explore a bit more.
Overall, I felt this was a very pretty, peaceful, and perfectly serviceable campground for an overnight stop, and would make a nice weekend destination. Not sure there is enough going on in the area to keep one occupied for more than a few days, and I know I personally would need at least electric hookups and showers for any type of extended stay. However, I wouldn’t hesitate to return for a night or two!
It was such a nice area and a great hike. The hike was long and steep at times but it was so beautiful and nice. Loved this area
Very territorial deer, will stalk you on way to dumpster!
I was pleased with my campsite and the campground as a whole. Most of the area is in full shade which is great for the hot summer months. The host was very friendly and helpful, and he made regular rounds, probably every 2 hours, to make sure everything was fine. It was quiet and uncrowded.
As much as I enjoyed my stay, I have to give POO (yes, they really do use that abbreviation 😂) 4 stars because 1) there are no showers and that’s a big deal if you’re staying more than a night or two; 2) the sites and tent pads were pretty small, a 4p tent is about all you can fit; 3) food lockers are shared between several sites; and 4) it’s not a good campground for hammocks.
We enjoyed our Peaks of Otter Campground stay. This was the first Campground that my wife saw so many bear boxes which freaked her out, but we had a good time. We enjoyed the walking trails around the water.
We didn't take advantage of hiking Sharp Top because we had a little person with us who was a bit high maintenance. We would come back again, but only if it were just the two of us, no kiddo. They can't ride bikes or scooters in the campground. Campground definitely more for adults only.
Be sure to bring supplies that you need with you, it is a bit of a drive to anything else.