Otter Creek Recreation Area-Mileposts 608-636

Monroe, Virginia

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For almost ten miles, Otter Creek memorably parallels the Parkway on a descent from 1,100 feet to the James River at 650 feet. Though this is not a lofty portion of the high road, the mixed forest of hardwoods (oaks, sycamores, and beeches) and evergreens (white pines and hemlocks) is reminiscent of higher elevations. All along the 8.5 miles of Otter Creek’s dance with the Parkway, broad flats and inviting woods lie beside the meandering stream. Luckily, a wonderful series of overlooks—and the lengthy Otter Creek Trail—permit you to revel in the rich streamside forest. This entire area is one of the most recommended places to pause along the northern part of the Parkway. This stroll sticks close to the Parkway for its entire 3.4-mile length, so if you hike it one-way you end up miles from your car. You could enjoyably backtrack for a 6.8-mile round-trip hike—the terrain is so gentle that even that distance would qualify as a moderate hike.
Hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway

by Randy Johnson (Falcon Guides)

For almost ten miles, Otter Creek memorably parallels the Parkway on a descent from 1,100 feet to the James River at 650 feet. Though this is not a lofty portion of the high road, the mixed forest of hardwoods (oaks, sycamores, and beeches) and evergreens (white pines and hemlocks) is reminiscent of higher elevations. All along the 8.5 miles of Otter Creek’s dance with the Parkway, broad flats and inviting woods lie beside the meandering stream. Luckily, a wonderful series of overlooks—and the lengthy Otter Creek Trail—permit you to revel in the rich streamside forest.

This entire area is one of the most recommended places to pause along the northern part of the Parkway. This stroll sticks close to the Parkway for its entire 3.4-mile length, so if you hike it one-way you end up miles from your car. You could enjoyably backtrack for a 6.8-mile round-trip hike—the terrain is so gentle that even that distance would qualify as a moderate hike.

© 2017 Randy Johnson/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Monroe
Distance: 1-6.1 miles
Elevation Gain: 222 feet
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: Varies by option chosen
Local Contacts: The Blue Ridge Parkway 199 Hemphill Knob Road Asheville, NC 28803-8686 (828) 271-4779 (828) 298-0398
Local Maps: USGS Big Island; Parkway handout map combining the Otter Creek Recreation Area and James River Water Gap, available in season at the visitor center and campground and online at nps.gov/blri/planyourvisit/otter-creek-james-river-trails.htm
Driving Directions: Directions to Otter Creek Recreation Area-Mileposts 60.8-63.6

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