Featured Spots, Views, and Overlooks of the Blue Ridge Parkway
Here are some of the featured spots on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Western North Carolina, with their milepost numbers. They are listed from north to south.
Linville Falls 316.3
Located just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, Linville Falls is a spectacular, multi-tiered waterfall that plunges into the rugged and wild Linville Gorge. The upper and lower falls can be viewed from overlooks along several scenic trails. Choose from the easy, moderate, or strenuous hikes that begin at the Linville Falls Visitor Center, which is open April 15 to November 1 from 9 am to 5 pm. The area around the falls is rich in a wide variety of plant and animal life, including Rosebay, Catawba and Carolina Rhododendron and several species of rare plants. Sometimes called the "Grand Canyon of the East," Linville Gorge is the deepest gorge in the Eastern United States, and is surrounded by the 12,000-acre Linville Gorge Wilderness Area, which features some of the few remaining virgin forests in its deep, remote coves. Recreational opportunities include hiking, backpacking and rock climbing. Hunting, fishing and camping are allowed with required permits. A large picnic area is located nearby. There is no admission fee.
Chestoa View 320.7
This spot on Humpback Mountain offers fantastic scenery and an exceptional view of vertical cliffs and Table Rock Mountain.
Museum of North Carolina Minerals 331
Nearly a million dollars went into the 2002 renovation and expansion of the Museum of North Carolina Minerals. With new exhibits that both educate and entertain and a broader purpose, the museum introduces many area students as well as visitors of all ages to the abundance of cultural and natural resources of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Crabtree Meadows 339.5
Crabtree Meadows is a popular Parkway destination that offers a hiking trail to Crabtree Falls as well as a campground, picnic area, restaurant and gift shop. In addition to the campground's 71 tent and 22 RV sites, there are several motels and inns in the vicinity. In spring and early summer visitors will be treated to an impressive array of wildflowers. The 2.5-mile loop trail to the 70-foot falls includes a steep descent, so be ready for a strenuous return trip. For information call 828-675-4236.
Mount Mitchell 355.4
From milepost 355.4 on the Blue Ridge Parkway take NC Highway 128 to Mt. Mitchell. At 6,684 feet, Mt. Mitchell is the tallest mountain east of the Mississippi. On a clear day, the 85-mile view of the Blue Ridge Mountains from the observation tower is breathtaking. Allow time to hike in the tranquil 1,855-acre Mount Mitchell State Park, or enjoy lunch at the picnic area. With temperatures generally 10-15 degrees cooler than downtown Asheville, it's an ideal place to find relief from the summer heat. In other seasons, bring a jacket. There is no admission fee.
November - February
March and October
April and September
May - August
Closed Christmas Day
8 am to 6 pm
8 am to 7
8 am to 8 pm
8 am to 9 pm
Craggy Gardens 364.4 - 369.6
This high-altitude retreat offers easy to moderate hiking trails, a large picnic area, visitor center, and in June, an incredible display of Catawba Rhododendron. The Craggy Pinnacle Trail, which rewards hikers with a panoramic view at the top, is a favorite.
Folk Art Center 382
The most popular destination on the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Folk Art Center showcases the work of many of the finest craftspeople of the Southern Appalachians. Its three galleries, daily crafts demonstrations (March through December), bookstore and Parkway Information Center attract 250,000 visitors each year. Admission is free. Open daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.
January - March
April - December
9 am - 5 pm
9 am - 6 pm
Destination Center 384
The Blue Ridge Parkway Destination Center, located at Mile marker 384, is devoted to educating the public about the 469 miles of America’s most visited national park (The Blue Ridge Parkway). The center utilizes progressive energy saving technologies, featuring a native flora green roof, radiant floor heating, and passive solar heating among other conserving features. The Destination Center endeavors to highlight the cultural heritage and traditions of the Blue Ridge Mountains. From artistic traditions to recreational highlights, the new Center demonstrates this with its cutting edge 70 seat theatre, its interactive map called the "I-wall" and with other educational exhibits. The 12,000 sq ft building is located a little over 2 miles from the Folk Art Center and is very accessible from downtown Asheville. The Destination Center also has an information counter, orientation services, and a gift shop.
Hours: 9 am – 5 pm daily year round.
The Center is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.
For more information, call 828-298-5330 or visit www.blueridgeheritage.com
Mt. Pisgah 407.6 - 408.8
Once part of the Biltmore Estate, Mount Pisgah attracts Nature enthusiasts from far and wide.
- Milepost 407.6 - 407.8: Features hiking trails and a picnic area. The trail to the summit is rather strenuous but well worth the effort.
- Milepost 408.6 - 408.8: Mount Pisgah Inn, Restaurant, Gift Shop, Camp Store, Gas Station, Laundromat, and Campground - At 5,000 feel above sea level, the Mount Pisgah Inn and restaurant is a wonderful retreat with exceptional views of the Pisgah National Forest. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Inn and all its facilities are open from sometime in April through October. For more information call 828-235-8228. Mount Pisgah Campground (408.8) has 70 tent and 70 RV sites.
Graveyard Fields Overlook 418.8
The barren scenery here is very different from that found on any other section of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Interesting vistas and easy to moderate hikes to some waterfalls make this a popular stop.
Devil's Courthouse 422.4
Devil's Courthouse is featured in Cherokee lore. This rugged mountaintop is home to a variety of rare and exotic plants, such as Spreading Avens and Rock Gnome Lichen. To help protect these delicate plants always stay on the trail when hiking the steep half-mile route to the bare rock summit. The view from the top is spectacular. It's a great place to watch the sunset.
Richland Balsam 431
The highest point on the Blue Ridge Parkway is found here at about 6,050 feet. Self-guiding trails take you through the remains of a spruce-fir forest to an overlook with views of several Southern Appalachian mountain ranges, including the Cowees, Nantahalas, and Plott Balsams.
Waterrock Knob 451.2
Not up for a hike? You can enjoy stunning panoramic views of the Great Smokies right from the parking lot, which sits at nearly 6,000 feet elevation. While you're here, stop in the Visitors Center and view exhibits and peruse the bookstore. If you have the time and energy, take the half-mile hike to the top of Waterrock Knob. The trail spirals around the peak and offers one astounding view after another of lush green valleys and mountains beyond mountains as far as the eye can see.
Heintooga Overlook 458.2
Heintooga Overlook Spur Road will take you 1.3 miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway to a mile-high scenic overlook.
Southern End 469
The southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway brings you to US 441 in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Qualla Boundary (Eastern Cherokee Reservation).