James River & Otter Creek, MP 60-63.8
Recreational opportunities here include hiking, camping, picnicking and fishing. An accessible fishing pier on Otter Lake provides opportunities for visitors with impaired mobility to fish for warm water species. A pedestrian walkway connects the James River Visitor Center with restored Battery Creek Lock from the Kanawha Canal.
James River is the Parkway’s the lowest elevation (650 feet above sea level) and a historic transportation route through the mountains, represents a major geological (water gap) and cultural component of the Blue Ridge section of Virginia.
The 3.5-mile Otter Creek Trail follows the creek from the Otter Creek Campground down to the James River Visitor Center. The trail can also be accessed from overlooks at MP 61.4, 62.5 and 63.1. At the visitor center, the James River Canal Trail will take you to the restored James River and Kanawha Canal Lock that was built between 1845-51. When completed the canal had 90 locks and went from Richmond to Buchanan, Virginia.
Area hikes include: Trail of Trees, Otter Creek, Otter Lake Loop and James River Canal Trails. View map of James River & Otter Creek Area
What to Do and See
- Hike one of the many nearby trails
- View the restored Battery Creek Lock
- Stop by the James River Visitor Center, MP 63.8
- Enjoy a picnic at the picnic area
- Camp at Otter Creek Campground, MP 60.8
- Go fishing from the pier on Otter Lake, which is handicap-accessible
- Eat at Otter Creek Restaurant (currently closed)
Check the operating hours and seasons for all visitor centers, campgrounds, and concessions when planning your visit.