▶ BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY
WHAT TO SEE ON THE PARKWAY
The Blue Ridge Parkway runs for 469 miles from the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina. Along the way, visitor centers, campgrounds, overlooks, craft shops, trailheads, waterfalls, picnic areas and comfort stations exist every few miles off of America’s favorite highway. With so much happening, the number of activities to do and places to see along the meandering road can be overwhelming. Fortunately, all of its attractions are delineated with mileposts every step of the way. Check out those that are in the vicinity of – and slightly beyond – the High Country below.
MP 213 Blue Ridge Music Center Outdoor stage and amphitheater features regularly scheduled seasonal performances (June-September) of old-time and bluegrass music. (276) 236-5309. Visitor center open daily Summer-October. Visit www.blueridgemusiccenter.net for concert schedule.
MP 215 VA 89 Crossover 7 miles north to Galax.
MP 216.9 NC-VA State Line Alt. 2,547.
MP 217.5 Cumberland Knob 1,000 acres, picnic area, comfort stations, drinking water. 15-minute loop trail to Cumberland Knob. (Elev. 2,855). Loop trail into Gully Creek Gorge. 2 hours.
MP 217.5 Gully Creek Trail This 2 mile trail is a strenuous but rewarding hike and meanders along a stream.
MP 218.6 Fox Hunters Paradise Overlook and parking area. A ten-minute walk on a paved trail takes you to a rock pedestrian overlook near the spot where old-time hunters listened to their hounds. Alt. 2,805.
MP 229 US 21 Crossover West 7 miles to Sparta, NC. 17 miles to Independence, VA. East 4 miles to Roaring Gap, NC.
MP 230.1 Little Glade Millpond Take an easy stroll around the pond on this 0.4 mile loop.
MP 238.5 Doughton Park 7,000 acres- picnic area (Milepost 241), campground (Milepost 239), trailer sites, comfort stations, drinking water, 30 miles of trail. At Milepost 238.5 is the picturesque Brinegar Cabin. Be sure to visit Wildcat Rocks (Milepost 241.1), to view the Caudill house, a survivor from a community largely destroyed by an early 20th century flood.
MP 238.5 Cedar Ridge Trail Great views and beautiful forests make this 4.2 mile trail perfect for a day hike. MODERATE.
MP 238.5 Bluff Mountain Trail 7.5 mile trail. MODERATE.
MP 241 Fodder Stack Trail A one-mile hike decorated with a variety of plant life. MODERATE.
MP 241 Bluff Ridge Trail 2.8 mile primitive trail with some steep slopes. MODERATE.
MP 243.7 Grassy Gap Fire Road 6.5 mile trail wide enough to hike side by side. MODERATE.
MP 243.7 Basin Creek Trail 3.3 mile hike accessible from back-country campground. MODERATE.
MP 244.7 Flat Rock Ridge Trail 5 miles on a forest path with beautiful vistas. MODERATE
MP 248.1 NC 18 Crossover 2 miles west of Laurel Springs. 24 miles east to North Wilkesboro, NC.
MP 259 Northwest Trading Post offers crafts and packaged food gifts from North Carolina’s northwestern counties. 336-982-2543
MP 260.3 Jumping off Rocks Trail One-mile forest path leading to overlook. EASY.
MP 261 NC 16 Crossover West 12 miles to Jefferson, 14 miles to West Jefferson, 26 miles to Grassy Creek. East 20 miles to North Wilkesboro.
MP 264.4 The Lump Trail 0.3 mile hike leading to a hilltop view. EASY.
MP 268 Benge Gap
MP 271.9 Cascades Trail The Cascades Trail is named for the waterfall to which it leads, but the trail itself is worth the visit. Part of the E.B. Jeffress Park, the Cascades Trail is a self-guided interpretive trail with twenty interpretive plaques labeling tree species of the Blue Ridge. From the parking lot, the trail turns from paved to gravel and then follows the crest of a cliff. The trail is a 1.2 mile loop, and Cascade Falls can be viewed from observation platforms located both above and below the falls. MODERATE.
MP 272 E.B. Jeffress Park Picnic area, comfort station, trail to Cascades.
MP 272.5 Tompkins Knob Trail This easy 0.6 mile hike takes you to Jesse Brown Cabin.
MP 276.4 Deep Gap US 421 Crossover. West 11 miles to Boone. East 26 miles to North Wilkesboro.
MP 291.9 US 221/321 Crossover 7 miles north to Boone, 2 miles south to Blowing Rock.
MP 294 Moses H. Cone Memorial Park 3,600 acres. Many miles of horse and carriage trails, hiking, and fishing.
MP 294 Moses Cone Manor House Parkway Craft Center, comfort station, visitor information, Park Store.
MP 294 Rich Mountain Carriage, Horse, & Hiking Trail 4.3 miles of moderate trail.
MP 294 Flat Top Mountain Carriage, Horse & Hiking Trail 3 miles of moderate trail.
MP 294 Watkins Carriage, Horse, & Hiking Trail 3.3 miles of easy/moderate trail.
MP 294 Black Bottom Carriage, Horse, & Hiking Trail 0.5 miles of easy trail.
MP 294 Bass Lake Carriage, Horse, & Hiking Trail 1.7 miles easy trail.
MP 294 Deer Park Carriage, Horse, & Hiking Trail 0.8 miles of moderate trail.
MP 294 Maze Carriage, Horse, & Hiking Trail 2.3 miles of moderate trail.
MP 294 Duncan Carriage, Horse, & Hiking Trail 2.5 miles of moderate trail.
MP 294 Rock Creek Bridge Carriage, Horse, & Hiking Trail 1 mile of easy trail.
MP 294.1 Figure 8 Trail 0.7 miles of nature trial on a self-guiding loop. EASY.
MP 294.6 Trout Lake Hiking & Horse Trail 1 mile loop. EASY.
MP 295.9 Green Knob Trail 2.3 mile trail to Green Knob. MODERATE/STRENUOUS.
MP 296.4 Boone Fork Trail The Boone Fork Trail differs from most Parkway hikes in two ways. The first is that the majority of the trail is in the woods, where tumbling streams and rock outcroppings replace typically grand vistas. The second is its length. At 4.9 miles, the Boone Fork Trail is longer than most, and slightly arduous. But given adequate time to complete and a picnic lunch, it is one of the most beautiful hikes in the area, with several stream crossings, rhododendron tunnels and open grasslands. STRENUOUS
MP 297 Julian Price Memorial Park 4,344 acres. Campground, picnic area, lake, boating, fishing. 2.7 mile loop around Price Lake. Alt. 3,400. Reservations for camping www.recreation.gov
MP 302 Wilson Creek Overlook If you’re looking for grandiose, long-range views directly from the parkway, then this is the overlook. High above the waters of Wilson Creek, which originates on Grandfather Mountain, this overlook is perfect opportunity to witness firsthand why they call it The High Country. Look out beyond the surrounding mountains, where the lowlands unfold themselves into the piedmont of North Carolina. On perfectly clear days, visitors have reported sighting the Charlotte skyline.
MP 302.8 Tanawha Trail to Rough Ridge is one of the most easily accessed vistas along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Tanawha Trail is actually more than 13 miles long, spanning from Price Park to Beacon Heights, but the section from the parkway to Rough Ridge is a short 1.5 miles, with great views as close as 0.6 miles from the Parkway. The trail follows a ridge crest and leads to boardwalks where 360-degree views give visitors a birds-eye view of The High Country. MODERATE TO STRENUOUS.
MP 304.4 Linn Cove Viaduct Access Trail 0.16 miles of easy trail.
MP 304.4 Linn Cove Viaduct Information Center Visitor information, comfort station, publications. Trail access viaduct. Alt. 4,000.
MP 305.1 Grandfather Trail to Calloway Peek At 5,964 feet, Calloway Peak is the highest point in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It is part of Grandfather Mountain, which has several other high altitude peaks, including MacRae Peak (5,939 ft.). Calloway can be accessed via multiple trails, but the Grandfather Mountain Trail, for its boulder formations and beautiful evergreen forests, remains a favorite. Additionally, the Grandfather Trail is only a short distance from the Parkway. Travel south on the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Highway 221 intersection at milepost 305, then take 221 South for 1 mile to the entrance of Grandfather Mountain. The Grandfather Trail begins at the highest parking lot, opposite the Linville Peak Visitor Center. STRENUOUS.
MP 305.2 Beacon Heights via Tanawha Trail Beacon Heights is a popular Parkway destination for its spectacular views of Grandfather Mountain and minimal distance. A mere 0.7 miles roundtrip, this leg-stretcher leads to a south-facing exfoliated dome, from which Mt. Mitchell and the Linville Gorge are visible. From the parking lot, walk across SR 1513, which parallels the Blue Ridge Parkway. Enter the woods where the sign says “Tanawha Trail Beacon Heights 0.2.” The path climbs to a junction point for the Tanawha and Mountains-to-Sea trails; from there, follow signs marked “Beacon Heights Trail” to the right. By adding in sections of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, hikers can easily avoid the large crowds often found at Beacon Heights, and still gain gorgeous views. MODERATE.
MP 305.2 Junction Parkway and US 221. 3 miles west to Linville.
MP 305.5 Tanawha Trail A diverse 13.5 mile trail. MODERATE/STRENUOUS
MP 308.2 Flat Rock Parking Area Self-guiding nature trail to superb view of Linville Valley and Grandfather Mountain.
MP 308.3 Flatrock Self-Guiding Loop Trail Like the Cascades Trail, the Flatrock Trail is a self-guided tour of local tree species and rock names. Twenty interpretive signs point out specific examples of natural occurrences, like a yellow birch that grew around a fallen log and now appears to be standing on its roots. There is also a virgin remnant of a northern red oak, a sign that we were once similar to northern New England states. The trail is only a short distance to Flatrock, where views on a clear day are extensive. MODERATE.
MP 312 NC 181 Crossover 32 miles southeast to Morganton, 2 mi. north to Pineola.
MP 315.5 Camp Creek Trail Stretch your legs on this quick 0.1 mile trail through laurel and rhododendron. EASY.
MP 316.3 Linville Falls Visitor Center, picnic area and campground. For camping reservations www.recreation.gov
MP 316.4 Linville River Parking Area One of the Parkway’s largest stone arch bridges. Three spans of 80 feet each. Fishing in Linville River, picnic area, and comfort station. Alt. 3,250. Take Spur Rd. to Linville Falls campground and visitor center.
MP 316.4 Linville Falls Trail Check out the view of the upper falls on this 0.8 mile trail. MODERATE.
MP 316.4 Linville Gorge Check out the view of the lower falls on this 0.5 mile trail. STRENUOUS.
MP 316.4 Duggers Creek Trail 0.25 mile loop leading to a view of Dugger Falls. EASY.
MP 316.5 Linville River Bridge Trail This easy 0.1 mile trail leads to a view of one of the Parkway's largest stone arch bridges.
MP 317.4 US 221 Crossover South 1 miles to Linville Falls community. 24 mi. to Marion.
MP 320.7 Chestoa View offers an unusually fine view from one of the many vertical cliffs on Humpback Mountain.
MP 331 NC 226 Crossover 6 mi. north to Spruce Pine. 14 mi. south to Marion.
MP 331 Museum of North Carolina Minerals Junction of Parkway & NC 226. Features minerals found in North Carolina and regional geology. County Chamber of Commerce Office. restrooms. Open daily year around.
MP 331 Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail commemorates the campaign leading up to the American victory at Kings Mountain in 1780. Route crosses the Blue Ridge Parkway at Gillespie Gap, near the Mineral Museum. Administered by the National Park Service www.nps.gov/ovvi.
MP 317.4 US 221 Crossover South 2 mi. to Linville Falls community. 24 mi. to Marion.
MP 334 NC 226A Crossover to Little Switzerland.
MP 339.5 Crabtree Falls 250 acres. Hiking, camping, comfort station, drinking water, information, Wi-Fi. 40-minute walk to Crabtree Falls.
MP 340.4 Crabtree Falls Picnic Area
MP 344 Buck Creep Gap NC 80 Crossover. North 16 mi. to Burnsville, south 16 miles to Marion.
MP 344.1 Woods Mountain Trail 2 mile trail. MODERATE.
MP 350.4 Lost Cove Ridge Trail 0.6 mile trail. MODERATE.
MP 351.9 Deep Gap Trail 0.2 mile trail. EASY.
MP 355 Bald Knob Ridge Trail 0.1 mile trail. EASY.
MP 355.4 NC 128 To Mount Mitchell State Park. Highest peak in Eastern U.S.A., observation tower, tent camping area, trails, nature study, picnic area, Natural History Museum, restaurant. (May-October).
MP 359.8 Big Butt Trail 0.2 mile trail. STRENUOUS.
MP 361.2 Glassmine Falls 0.05 mile trail leads to a view of the falls. MODERATE.
MP 364.2 Craggy Pinnacle Trail 0.7 mile trail offers panoramic overlook. MODERATE.
MP 364.4 Craggy Gardens Visitor Center Information, exhibits, publications. (May-October) trails.
MP 367.6 Spur to Craggy Gardens Picnic Area, comfort station, trails.
MP 374.4 Rattlesnake Lodge Trail A 0.5 mile woodland walk. MODERATE.
MP 376.6 NC 694 Ox Creek Road Scenic Elk Mountain Highway. 8 miles to Weaverville. 7 miles to Asheville.
MP 377.4 NC 694 Town Mountain Road. 7 miles to Asheville.
MP 382 Folk Art Center Parkway information station, publications, headquarters of Southern Highland Craft Guild, craft sales, demonstrations and exhibits, interpretive talks and other programs, conferences, craft library, auditorium and Guild offices. Hours: Daily 9-5. Hours extended in summer. (Handicapped friendly).
MP 382 Mountain-to-Sea Trail Spring wildflowers and breathtaking views decorate this long distance trail. MODERATE/STRENUOUS.
MP 382.6 Junction Parkway and US 70 West 1 mile to Oteen, 5 mi. to Asheville. East 10 mi. to Black Mountain.
MP 384 Blue Ridge Parkway Headquarters is located just off the Parkway at Milepost 383. Information may be obtained by writing to this address: 199 Hemphill Knob Rd., Asheville, NC 28803 or calling (828) 298-0398. Detailed information may be found on the National Park Service’s Parkway Website at www.nps.gov/blri. Brochures also available in French, German, and Spanish.
MP 384 Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center Information desk, museum quality exhibits, a 22-foot interactive map and a dramatic 24-minute Parkway movie. Open daily 9-5. www.blueridgeheritage.com (828) 298-5330.
MP 384.7 US 74A Crossover West 3 miles to Asheville. East to Chimney Rock, Bat Cave, Gerton, and Lake Lure.