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Out and About: Virginia's Peaks of Otter

Out and About: Virginia's Peaks of Otter


One of my favorite drives – second only to California's Highway 1 – is the meandering trail down the Blue Ridge Parkway. This path totals 469 miles from Shenandoah National Park in northern Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina.

Dogs are welcomed on over 100 of the trails along the way, and the walks can vary from casual strolls over mostly flat ground to demanding hikes up mountain summits. While walking your leashed pup, you'll see a wide variety of wildlife – 54 different mammals and 59 species of birds live along the parkway, more than the entire European continent!

Around the 75-mile point, check out the three mountains – Sharp Top, Flat Top, and Harkening Hill – that make up the Peaks of Otter. You'll find days' worth of hikes for you and your furry friends, ranging from the light 1.6-mile loop of the Fallingwater Cascades National Scenic Trail to the hike up a 4.4-mile trail to the Flat Top Summit (4,004 feet).

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