Blue Ridge Parkway
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Home > Highlights > 2. James River & Otter Creek, MP 60-63.8
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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. 

Natural Bridge

This page is sponsored by the Natural Bridge Hotel.

Calendar

<< May 2016 >>
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
1 2 3 4 5

How the West Was Won

Thursday, May 5, 2016, 2:00 pm

Marion Mountain Music

Thursday, May 5, 2016, 7:00 pm
6

36th Annual Strawberry Festival

Friday, May 6, 2016, 10:00 am

How the West Was Won

Friday, May 6, 2016, 2:00 pm

Woody's Original Mountain Music

Friday, May 6, 2016, 7:00 pm
7

Garden Day

Saturday, May 7, 2016, 9:00 am

Art in the Park

Saturday, May 7, 2016, 10:00 am

36th Annual Strawberry Festival

Saturday, May 7, 2016, 10:00 am

Architectural Restoration Talk & Tour

Saturday, May 7, 2016, 11:00 am

Raffaldini Winery Grilling Luncheon

Saturday, May 7, 2016, 1:00 pm

How the West Was Won

Saturday, May 7, 2016, 2:00 pm

Architectural Restoration Talk & Tour

Saturday, May 7, 2016, 2:00 pm
<W
8

Mother's Day at Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest

Sunday, May 8, 2016, 11:00 am

Informal Jam on the Porch

Sunday, May 8, 2016, 2:00 pm
9 10

Monthly Old Time Music Jam

Tuesday, May 10, 2016, 6:00 pm
11 12

How the West Was Won

Thursday, May 12, 2016, 2:00 pm

Marion Mountain Music

Thursday, May 12, 2016, 7:00 pm
13

How the West Was Won

Friday, May 13, 2016, 2:00 pm

Woody's Original Mountain Music

Friday, May 13, 2016, 7:00 pm
14

4th Annual Cradle to Grave 30K & 10K Race

Saturday, May 14, 2016, 8:00 am

Lexington Rockbridge Studio Tour

Saturday, May 14, 2016, 10:00 am

How the West Was Won

Saturday, May 14, 2016, 2:00 pm
<W
15

Informal Jam on the Porch

Sunday, May 15, 2016, 2:00 pm
16 17 18 19

How the West Was Won

Thursday, May 19, 2016, 2:00 pm

Marion Mountain Music

Thursday, May 19, 2016, 7:00 pm
20

Fish and Pick Bluegrass Festival

Friday, May 20, 2016, 10:00 am

How the West Was Won

Friday, May 20, 2016, 2:00 pm

Woody's Original Mountain Music

Friday, May 20, 2016, 7:00 pm
21

Gettysburg Outdoor Antique Show

Saturday, May 21, 2016, 7:00 am

Fish and Pick Bluegrass Festival

Saturday, May 21, 2016, 10:00 am

Vinton Wine and Food Festival

Saturday, May 21, 2016, 1:00 pm

How the West Was Won

Saturday, May 21, 2016, 2:00 pm
<W
22

Fish and Pick Bluegrass Festival

Sunday, May 22, 2016, 10:00 am

Informal Jam on the Porch

Sunday, May 22, 2016, 2:00 pm
23 24 25 26

How the West Was Won

Thursday, May 26, 2016, 2:00 pm

Marion Mountain Music

Thursday, May 26, 2016, 7:00 pm
27

How the West Was Won

Friday, May 27, 2016, 2:00 pm

Woody's Original Mountain Music

Friday, May 27, 2016, 7:00 pm
28

MineFest at Emerald Village

Saturday, May 28, 2016, 9:00 am

Garden Jubilee

Saturday, May 28, 2016, 9:00 am

Bogs, Bugs and Beavers

Saturday, May 28, 2016, 9:00 am

How the West Was Won

Saturday, May 28, 2016, 2:00 pm
<W
29

MineFest at Emerald Village

Sunday, May 29, 2016, 9:00 am

Garden Jubilee

Sunday, May 29, 2016, 9:00 am

Informal Jam on the Porch

Sunday, May 29, 2016, 2:00 pm

The Winemaker’s Dinner at Chateau Morrisette

Sunday, May 29, 2016, 5:00 pm
30

149th Memorial Day Parade and Ceremonies

Monday, May 30, 2016, 2:00 pm
31        

Highlights & Happenings

  • Cumberland Knob, MP 217.5
  • Located near the Virginia state line, Cumberland Knob is the site where construction of the Blue Ridge Parkway began in 1935. It was the first recreation area opened to the public and remains a favorite destination for both locals and visitors. The m
  • Julian Price Memorial Park, MP 297
  • A majestic 4,200 acres at the foot of Grandfather Mountain, named in honor of Julian Price, comprises this popular park and lies directly adjacent to the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park. Together these parks make up the largest developed area set as
  • Blue Ridge Music Center
  • The Blue Ridge Music Center is a state-of-the-art performing arts facility built to preserve and promote the historic music of Virginia and the Blue Ridge. The Blue Ridge region has produced more old-time and bluegrass musicians per capita than any o
  • Moses H. Cone Park, MP 294
  • A majestic 4,200 acres at the foot of Grandfather Mountain, named in honor of Julian Price, lies directly adjacent to the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park. Together these parks comprise the largest developed area set aside for public recreati
  • Folk Art Center, Milepost 382
  • Open year round, the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway showcases the finest in traditional and contemporary craft of the Southern Appalachians.
  • James River & Otter Creek, MP 60-63.8
  • At the lowest elevation along the Parkway, visitors can hike, camp, fish, have a picnic, and see restored Battery Creek Lock from the Kanawha Canal.
  • Doughton Park, MP 240
  • Renew your senses amid this landscape of open meadows. Doughton Park is one of the best places along the Blue Ridge Parkway to view white-tailed deer, raccoons, red and grey foxes, and bobcats.  Flowers burst on the scene in late spring and crea
  • Parkway Road Conditions
  • An open Parkway is a safe Parkway. Be sure to check road conditions online or by phone before you travel and during your visit.
  • Camping
  • Camping is one way visitors traveling through the Blue Ridge Parkway can spend the night under the stars in one of America’s most beautiful natural settings.
  • Blue Ridge Parkway Directory & Travel Planner
  • The 67th edition of the Blue Ridge Parkway Directory & Travel Planner is your ultimate source for planning a trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains.
  • Hiking Trails
  • A journey on the Blue Ridge Parkway offers motorists spectacular views of Southern Appalachia’s diverse beauty for 469.1 uninterrupted miles.
  • Blooms & Wildlife Watching
  • Don't forget your cameras and binoculars when visiting the Blue Ridge Parkway! Learn when and where to see blooms along your journey.
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