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45+ Stunning Blue Ridge Parkway Stops in North Carolina

Published by Christina Riley. Last Updated on May 7, 2024.

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With 252 miles of scenic road to travel, we’ve found so many Blue Ridge Parkway stops in North Carolina. From the north, it enters our state from Virginia around Cumberland Knob and continues through the High Country, near Boone and Blowing Rock—don’t forget Banner Elk!

Keep following the road and you’ll reach Asheville before ascending toward the southern terminus just outside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park entrance.

So many of the best stops on Blue Ridge Parkway – North Carolina side – with all due respect to our friends in Virginia.

Through this article, we will note mileposts of significance and highlights, including overlooks, hikes worth stopping for, waterfalls, and even more.

Here is how we’ve organized this guide:

  • Leave No Trace Reminder
  • Where is the Blue Ridge Parkway?
  • History of the Blue Ridge Parkway NC
  • Blue Ridge Parkway North Carolina Highlights (overlooks, tunnels, and more!)
  • Waterfalls on the Parkway (and Nearby)
  • Blue Ridge Parkway Stops from North to South
    • High Country Stops Along the Blue Ridge Parkway (Milepost 217 to 364)
    • Blue Ridge Parkway Stops near Asheville (Milepost 364 to 469)

Whether you’re a new resident, a frequent visitor, or a local, we’re leaving no detail behind. If you live near the Blue Ridge Parkway and are wondering, “What are the best things to do near me?” we think this NC travel guide will help you out!

Read More: Western North Carolina (and 100+ Wonderful Places to Visit)

Leave No Trace Reminder

Before continuing, we want to remind you that it’s important to leave all Blue Ridge Parkway stops as you found them. Pack out what you pack in and leave no trace.

In fact, if you see some trash, give our amazing scenic road and its surroundings a hug by taking it with you.

What is the Blue Ridge Parkway?

We’ll get to our favorite Blue Ridge Parkway stops shortly, but just want to share its background and history. The road runs for 469 miles from Skyline Drive and Rockfish Gap, Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Bryson City and Cherokee.

From the north, the Blue Ridge Parkway enters North Carolina in Alleghany County, near Cumberland Knob.

While officially designated as a National Park, it’s still managed by the National Parks Service. Hence, the Blue Ridge Parkway is America’s longest National Parks Service unit.

Read More: National Parks Sites in North Carolina

Blue Ridge Parkway Facts and History

Cumberland Knob Stops along the Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Construction for the Blue Ridge Parkway began on September 11, 1935, near Cumberland Knob.
  • Federal contracts initiated by Franklin D Roosevelt started the building, which was both a job creator but also controversial among locals.
  • Many new restrictions were placed on residents and impeded business and commercial transportation. In fact, from 1935 to 1940, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians resisted construction through the Qualla Boundary.
  • Construction was completed in 1966, with the exception of the 7.7-mile stretch in the High Country. That portion of the Parkway included Linn Cove Viaduct and Grandfather Mountain and took 52 years to complete.
  • Overall construction was completed in 1987, unveiling the Blue Ridge Parkway as we know it today.
  • Though there were plenty of issues during the Parkway’s development, this route is a huge economic driver, bringing thousands of people each year.

Read More: Museum of the Cherokee People (13,000 Years of History in One Important Space)

Blue Ridge Parkway Highlights (at a Glance)

Before we get into stops, these Blue Ridge Parkway highlights are a great summary, if you’re looking at this wonderful road from a glance.

  • Diverse and protected ecosystems culminate each spring through summer and fall with beautiful flowers and foliage.
  • Stops along the Blue Ridge Parkway include some of the world’s oldest mountains, including Mount Mitchell, the highest mountain in the Eastern United States.
  • Linville Gorge is the deepest gorge east of the Grand Canyon and is home to old-growth forests rarely seen in the southeastern US.
  • Many of the best hiking trails in North Carolina and waterfalls, too.
  • Tunnels galore, including 25 on the North Carolina side. Virginia only has ONE, if you want to keep score.
  • Roadside Blue Ridge Parkway scenic stops include apple picking opportunities, peaceful picnic spots, conveniently placed restaurants, and places to stay (Switzerland Inn and Pisgah Inn).
  • Easiest of all to access is the gorgeous overlooks, some of which we’ll mention in our section dedicated to stops along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Read More: Colorful Fall Hikes in North Carolina (+ 20 Beautiful Places to Explore!)

Waterfalls On the Blue Ridge Parkway (or Nearby)

This is a list of waterfalls either accessible from the Parkway or nearby. We share each of these falls in order along with the other Blue Ridge Parkway stops but just wanted to highlight them here.

Read More: 10 Beautiful Roadside Waterfalls in North Carolina for Everyone!

Blue Ridge Parkway Stops (from North to South)

For this guide, we’ll move North to South, and mileposts (MPs) will count up from MP 217 just before Cumberland Knob to MP 469 where the Parkway ends, just around the corner from the Oconaluftee Visitors Center.

We’ve divided these stops into two sections, starting in the north with the High Country and leading into the Southern End of the Parkway.

The number of things to do on Blue Ridge Parkway differs from the number of headings because we include multiple stops and alternative side trips in between major stops.

List of High Country NC Stops along the Blue Ridge Parkway

The area of the Blue Ridge Parkway from the Virginia-North Carolina border to Asheville is known as North Carolina’s High Country. From Cumberland Knob to Glassmine Falls, you’ll pass some of the best Blue Ridge Parkway stops along this section.

  • Cumberland Knob (Milepost 217.5)
  • Little Glade Mill Pond (MP 230)
  • Stone Mountain Overlook (MP 232.5)
  • Doughton Park (MP 238 to 241)
  • Sally Mae’s on the Parkway (MP 258.8)
  • Jumpinoff Rocks (MP 260.3)
  • The Lump (MP 264.4)
  • EB Jeffress Park (MP 272.5)
  • Side Trip on US-321 to Boone and Blowing Rock
  • Moses Cone Memorial Park (MP 294.1)
  • Bonus Road Trip: The Little Parkway (MP 294.6)
  • Julian Price Memorial Park (MP 297.1)
  • Rough Ridge (MP 302.8)
  • Linn Cove Viaduct (MP 304.4)
  • Beacon Heights (MP 305.2)
  • Grandfather Mountain Overlook (MP 306.6)
  • Linville Falls (MP 316.4)
  • Bear Den Mountain Resort & Campground (MP 317)
  • Chestoa View (MP 320.8)
  • The Orchard at Altapass (MP 328.3)
  • Little Switzerland (MP 334)
  • Crabtree Falls (MP 339.5)
  • Mount Mitchell State Park (MP 355.3)
  • Glassmine Falls (MP 362)

Read More: Day Trips from Boone and Day Trips from Greensboro

Cumberland Knob (Milepost 217.5)

Cumberland Knob NC Blue Ridge Parkway Stops

Cumberland Knob is a relic of Blue Ridge Parkway history, as the road’s first day of construction of the parkway began here on September 11, 1935. Today, hikers can find 1,000 acres of recreation, including the easy Cumberland Knob Trail.

High Piney Spur Overlook NC Blue Ridge Parkway Stops

About a mile south of Cumberland Knob is the High Piney Spur Overlook (MP 218), also known as Fox Hunter’s Paradise.

Read More: Blue Ridge Parkway Hikes

Little Glade Mill Pond (MP 230)

Little Glade Mill Pond NC Blue Ridge Parkway Stops

You can walk around the Little Glade Mill Pond (0.4 miles) or just hang out here and have a picnic. Regardless, this is one of our favorite Blue Ridge Parkway scenic stops.

It’s also nice for a bit of peace before getting into some of the more popular spots.

Read More: 30+ Amazing Things to Do in Mount Airy and Nearby

Stone Mountain Overlook (MP 232.5)

Innumerable overlooks await on the Blue Ridge Parkway and the first that we’ll mention is Stone Mountain. You can see the granite dome from a distance and there’s even a picnic table here to enjoy lunch with a view.

Stone Mountain State Park sits in both Allegheny and Wilkes counties and is one of our favorite parks to visit in Western NC.

Another reason we mention Stone Mountain Overlook is that 20 to 30 minutes south of the Blue Ridge Parkway, is Stone Mountain State Park. Technically not a stop along the Blue Ridge Parkway, it’s the first of a few state parks within a short drive from the BRP, and one of our favorites to visit!

Stone Mountain State Park offers waterfalls (including Stone Mountain Falls and Widow’s Creek Falls), hikes ranging in difficulty, and the 600-foot granite dome that gives the park its name.

Read More: 25+ of the Best Things to Do in Elkin

Doughton Park (MP 238 to 241)

Brinegar Cabin NC Blue Ridge Parkway Stops

7,000 acres of open fields that are reminiscent of mountain balds and uninhabited land await at Doughton Park. This is where you’ll find a few great Blue Ridge Parkway scenic stops, with Brinegar Cabin (MP 239) the first of them from the north.

Here, you’ll find interpretive displays of life in the Blue Ridge Mountains during the early 1900s and cabins, which were once part of a 125-acre farm. Some pretty long hikes start here, too, including Bluff Mountain Trail (7.5 miles).

Keep moving south on the Parkway and you’ll find a campground (MP 239) and picnic area (MP 241) that are also part of Doughton Park. There are more hikes in Doughton Park, including the easier Fodder Stacks Trail (2 miles roundtrip).

Read More: 14 Delicious Restaurants in Elkin (+1 Great Cocktail Bar)

Sally Mae’s on the Parkway (MP 258.8)

Formally known as the Northwest Trading Post, Sally Mae’s on the Parkway has been a good old-fashioned general store since 1958. This place sells regional crafts and arts from over 500 artisans in 11 northwest NC counties.

If you see it and have a chance to stop, Sally Mae’s is a great opportunity to stretch your legs.

Jumpinoff Rocks (MP 260.3)

Another perfect spot for a Blue Ridge Parkway picnic is Jumpinoff Rocks (MP 260.3). This often-overlooked stop hosts an easy half-mile trail. It’ll lead you to an observation deck, which offers long-range views of the Parkway.

The Lump (MP 264.4)

While the name may not seem so, The Lump is a beautiful patch of wide-open land in the middle of the mountains. It’s popular for remote control gliders.

You can access a grassy knoll via a short trail, where incredible views of the Yadkin Valley and the Blue Ridge Mountains await.

Read More: The Best Yadkin Valley Wineries

EB Jeffress Park (MP 272.5)

Cascades EB Jeffress NC Blue Ridge Parkway Stops

EB Jeffress Park is named after one of the men responsible for the Blue Ridge Parkway being a toll-free road. Aside from a pretty awesome picnic spot, this Wilkes County Blue Ridge Parkway stop has one of the best hiking trails near Boone.

Cascades Trail is a short one-mile loop that leads you to the side view of a beautiful waterfall.

Read More: 25+ Beautiful Waterfalls near Boone (within 2 Hours)

Side Trip on US-321 to Boone and Blowing Rock

At about MP 292, you’ll see an intersection between the Blue Ridge Parkway and US-321. The latter will leads you to a couple of our favorite High Country towns, Boone and Blowing Rock.

You may already be staying in one of the two (maybe Chetola?), but in case you’re not, we think you should know about them, and Banner Elk, too.

Read More: Winter in Boone (20 Great Activities, Snow Tubing, and More!)

Moses Cone Memorial Park (MP 294.1)

3,500 acres of developed recreation makes Moses H Cone Memorial Park the largest dedicated space for hiking and horseback riding. Home to Flat Top Manor, the 1901 house was once home to the namesake North Carolina textile mogul and philanthropist.

We highly recommend strolling around Bass Lake, one of the most beautiful places in the High Country.

The Flat Top Tower Trail is another great hike and starts from the manor. You’ll walk nearly 3 miles up to a fire tower that provides 360-degree views of the surrounding mountains.

All of this puts Moses H Memorial Park high on our list of the best Blue Ridge Parkway stops.

Read More: 14 Delicious Blowing Rock Restaurants for High Country Travelers

Bonus Road Trip: The Little Parkway (MP 294.6)

Green Mountain Creek Falls near Blue Ridge Parkway NC

Snaking under the Linn Cove Viaduct and Grandfather Mountain is the road that brought tourists to the area long before the Blue Ridge Parkway was finished.

Yonahlossee Road, as it was then known, is now designated as part of US-221 and also known as the “Little Parkway.” Before the Parkway was completed, this was the fastest way to get from Linville to Boone and there were still plenty of places to pull off and enjoy the sights.

It’ll take you 45 minutes to complete the entire Little Parkway and the main attraction for many is the privately-owned section of Grandfather Mountain.

This is arguably the best part of the Blue Ridge Parkway is where you’ll find the Mile High Swinging Bridge and the Wildlife Habitats. The mountain’s peak is 5,964 feet and it’s a United Nations-designated biosphere reserve.

Green Mountain Creek Falls, one of our favorite waterfalls in the Blowing Rock area, is on this road, too.

Read More: 25+ Amazing Waterfalls near Banner Elk (within 2 Hours’ Drive)

Julian Price Memorial Park (MP 297.1)

Boone Fork Trail NC Blue Ridge Parkway Stops

Set up to be a retreat for insurance tycoon Julian Price’s employees, Julian Price Memorial Park consists of a 47-acre pond, 100 picnic sites, and nearly 200 campsites.

Inside Julian Price Park, you’ll find Boone Fork Trail (MP 296.5), which is part of the larger Tanawha Trail. Boone Fork Trail leads to Hebron Falls, also known as Boone Fork Falls.

As you’ll see, this stop along the Blue Ridge Parkway starts one of our favorite sections!

Read More: Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster in Banner Elk (7 Important Tips Before You Go!)

Rough Ridge Trail (MP 302.8)

Rough Ridge Trail NC Blue Ridge Parkway Stops

And speaking of the Tanawha Trail, Rough Ridge is another hike along the Parkway that’s a part of it. This is one of the road’s most beautiful spots, and easily one of its most rewarding hikes.

From the overlook, you’ll have incredible views of the Linn Cove Viaduct and its surroundings. One of the oldest ecosystems in North America is here, too, so please, stay on the path.

Read More: 25 of the Most Amazing Winter Hikes in North Carolina

Linn Cove Viaduct (MP 304.4)

Linn Cove Viaduct near Blowing Rock North Carolina
Linn Cove Viaduct.

You’ll eventually cross Linn Cove Viaduct but can stop just before it for a closer look. While this is a truly unique manmade feature, Linn Cove Viaduct is one of the most iconic Blue Ridge Parkway stops.

Also, it’s crucial to remember the cost involved in building this viaduct.

Requiring $10 million, this was one of the most expensive parts of the Parkway to build. And as we mentioned earlier, Linn Cove was also the last piece of the Blue Ridge Parkway and took 52 years to finish.

Land disputes and the protection of Grandfather Mountain’s fragile ecosystems made construction difficult. But completing this 1,300-foot-long bridge made a continuous route between the Shenandoah National Park Valley and the Great Smoky Mountains a possibility.

Read More: The 11 Best Places to Go Snow Tubing in North Carolina

Beacon Heights (MP 305.2)

Beacon Heights is an awesome short hike near Otter Falls.
Beacon Heights.

Beacon Heights is the last Tanawha Trail hike that we’ll mention and it is definitely a nice one for being so short. In less than 30 minutes you can find yourself with sweeping views and endless mountains.

You can even look back toward Grandfather Mountain, and that’s not all there is to remember about this hike. Beacon Heights serves as an intersection for the Mountains-to-Sea Trail that runs from Clingmans Dome out west to Jockey’s Ridge on the coast.

Read More: 13 Amazing Restaurants in Banner Elk and Nearby (+ Where to Drink!)

Grandfather Mountain Overlook (MP 306.6)

Blue Ridge Parkway Stops Grandfather Mountain Overlook

You can get into the Grandfather Mountain attraction via the Little Parkway but if you’re sticking to the Blue Ridge Parkway, you can stop at an overlook and admire it for a while.

While it isn’t the highest mountain on the Parkway, Grandfather Mountain is one of the biggest names in North Carolina.

Read More: 25 Wonderful Wineries Near Asheville (Vineyards Within 2 Hours)

Linville Falls (MP 316.4)

Things to Do near Boone NC Linville Falls Image
Linville Falls

Linville Gorge is the deepest in the Eastern United States and its 12,000 acres are managed as a Wilderness Area. Some of the most rugged and dangerous terrains in North Carolina are here, though there are some points that are easily accessible.

One of those is Linville Falls (MP 316.3). A 2-mile round trip hike provides three different vantage points of the falls and is the most popular among families and photographers.

The plunge basin trail is more difficult but approaches the waterfall from the opposite side and takes hikers to the bottom of the falls.

About 25 minutes away from Linville Falls is Wiseman’s View, which will give you some of the best Linville Gorge views a person can ask for.

Read More: 25+ Amazing Restaurants in Morganton and Nearby! (Map Included!)

Bear Den Mountain Resort & Campground (MP 317)

Bear Den Mountain Resort & Campground has long been one of our favorite places to stay, especially off the Parkway. There are nicely maintained camping spots here, along with clean and comfy cabins.

Each year, there seems to be something new on the property, as the friendly staff is always happy to share improvements made if you ask. Don’t forget to check out the swimming pond hiking trails at Bear Den before you head out elsewhere.

Chestoa View (MP 320.8)

Chestoa View NC Blue Ridge Parkway Stops

Probably one of the most underrated stops along the Blue Ridge Parkway is Chestoa View. And if you approach it, please pull over and get out of your car!

While it doesn’t look like much from the road, the quarter-mile walk from the parking lot leads you to a rock-walled observatory that peeks into the Linville Gorge.

On a clear day, you can see Grandfather Mountain and Table Rock Mountain. This view is also perfect during fall when the leaves are changing.

Another great stop a few miles down is Bear Den Overlook (MP 323).

The Orchard at Altapass (MP 328.3)

The Orchard at Altapass NC Blue Ridge Parkway Stops

The Orchard at Altapass is another wonderful Blue Ridge Parkway stop, just below a beautiful overlook that offers sweeping views of the apple trees.

You can pick apples and sip hot apple cider here, but remember to bring your dancing shoes! During a typical year, live music creates a fun festive mood from Thursday to Sunday during the apple season.

This 100-plus-year-old farm also has some of the best apple picking in North Carolina.

Little Switzerland (MP 334)

Switzerland Inn near Blue Ridge Parkway NC

Little Switzerland is a wonderful mountain town along the Blue Ridge Parkway that is home to the Switzerland Inn. Enjoy at least lunch or dinner there, and you’ll be treated to some of the loveliest views of the mountains and valleys in the distance.

While you’re in the area, drive down the Diamondback and enjoy some wood-smoked North Carolina barbecue at the Switzerland Cafe.

This little collection of shops also houses Little Switzerland Books and Beans, one of our favorite bookstores in North Carolina.

Crabtree Falls (MP 339.5)

Crabtree Falls NC Blue Ridge Parkway Stops

Crabtree Falls is an impressive 70-foot waterfall and one of our favorites near Asheville. A moderate 2.5-mile loop will take you to the falls about 1.6 miles in and once you reach Crabtree, it will leave you speechless.

We recommend completing the loop rather than making your trip out and back from Crabtree Falls. While the ascent directly after the waterfall is steep, this Black Mountains hike levels out and follows a beautiful creek.

Between Crabtree Falls and the turn for Mount Mitchell State Park is Highway 80 (MP 344). This road will take you to Burnsville, but also to a couple of our favorite waterfalls. They are Roaring Fork Falls and at Black Mountain Campground, Setrock Creek Falls.

Read More: 20+ Kid-Friendly Waterfalls In NC (Easy Hikes And Swimming Holes!)

Mount Mitchell State Park (MP 355.3)

Mount Mitchell NC Blue Ridge Parkway Stops

The entrance to Mount Mitchell State Park is a stop along the Blue Ridge Parkway, though you’ll still drive five miles to reach the parking lot outside the observation tower. We think Mount Mitchell is a Parkway stop you cannot miss.

It’s the tallest mountain east of the Mississippi, towering at 6,684 feet. But as we mentioned, you can drive to the parking lot and reach the summit after a short, 300 yard walk.

More difficult hikes are found here, too. You can hike along the Deep Gap Trail to reach Mount Craig, the second-highest peak in the East.

Read More: 13 Amazing Restaurants in Burnsville (Best of the Best!)

Glassmine Falls (MP 362)

Glassmine Falls NC Blue Ridge Parkway Stops

Continue North on the Parkway and you’ll see Glassmine Falls, which is viewable from the road. The waterfall is advertised as 800 feet tall but is likely much shorter, especially during drier times.

We’ve seen it gushing after periods of heavy rainfall and barely trickling during dry periods. Keep that in mind if you’re not able to understand the hype of this stop along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Read More: 80+ Great Things to Do in Asheville (The Asheville Bucket List)

List of Blue Ridge Parkway Stops near Asheville and Further South

The Southern leg and the last collection of stops along the Blue Ridge Parkway stretch from Asheville to Cherokee. This is the most rugged part of the Blue Ridge Parkway, with lots of twists and turns.

The overlooks and hikes in this area are some of the best in North Carolina. Many of these unique Airbnbs in Asheville sit within a short drive of the Parkway.

  • Craggy Gardens (MP 364)
  • Folk Art Center (MP 382)
  • The North Carolina Arboretum (MP 393.6)
  • Mount Pisgah (MP 407.7)
  • Pisgah Inn (MP 408.6)
  • Fryingpan Mountain Lookout Tower (MP 409.6)
  • Cold Mountain Overlook (MP 411.9)
  • Looking Glass Rock Overlook (MP 417)
  • Graveyard Fields (MP 418.8)
  • Black Balsam Knob (MP 420.2)
  • Devil’s Courthouse (MP 422.4)
  • Richland Balsam Overlook (MP 431.4)
  • Waterrock Knob (MP 451.2)
  • Southern End (MP 469.1)

Read More: The Best Breweries in Asheville

Craggy Gardens (MP 364)

Craggy Gardens Blue Ridge Parkway Stops NC

One of the best spots in North Carolina to see the rhododendrons bloom, Craggy Gardens is aptly named for its rocky outcrops. From the Craggy Gardens Visitors Center (MP 364.2), you can meander through rhododendron tunnels that will make you feel like you’ve been transported to a fairytale.

You can even reach Douglas Falls from the Visitors Center, though it’s 8 miles round trip and a tough hike.

If a view is what you are looking for, head north of the visitor’s center of the Craggy Dome parking area (MP 364.2). This is where the Craggy Pinnacle trailhead will take you on a short hike (1.2 miles round trip) while climbing 250 feet for an overlook onto the Parkway.

Read More: 20+ Awesome Things to Do in Black Mountain and Nearby

Folk Art Center (MP 382)

Folk Art Center Asheville NC

Proving yet again that this road has it all, The Folk Art Center is another unique stop along the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was established by the Southern Highland Craft Guild in 1930. It’s the oldest operating craft shop in the United States.

With 30,000 square feet and an ADA-accessible trail, this stop along the Blue Ridge Parkway is a must!

Access to Downtown Asheville from the Blue Ridge Parkway can be made at MP 382.5.

Read More: Biltmore Estate and the Western NC Nature Center

The North Carolina Arboretum (MP 393.6)

Blue Ridge Parkway Stops NC Arboretum Asheville

The North Carolina Arboretum sprawls across 430 acres in Asheville. It remains part of Pisgah National Forest but the Arboretum was established as part of the University of North Carolina system in 1986.

There are plenty of fun things to do here, including a walk through its 65 acres of cultivated gardens, hiking and biking trails, and special kids’ activities (including geocaching).

The bonsai collection here is one of the best in the United States!

Read More: NC Arboretum Winter Lights (How To Enjoy In 10 Important Tips!)

Mount Pisgah (MP 407.6)

The Vanderbilts of Biltmore Estate fame once owned the 5,721-foot Mount Pisgah. Today, you can admire the same rewarding views as them.

The Mount Pisgah Summit Trailhead starts at Milepost 407.7 and is a 1.6-mile hike, with an elevation gain of more than 700 feet.

Read More: Gorgeous Waterfalls near Cherokee (Within 2 Hours)

Pisgah Inn (MP 408.6)

Blue Ridge Parkway Stops Pisgah Inn

The Pisgah Inn is at Milepost 408.6 and is one of the best places to stay along the road. There’s a visitor center and gift shop here if you’re looking for some BRP souvenirs.

A meal at the Pisgah Inn makes this one of the best Blue Ridge Parkway food stops, and the views from your table will make it even better.

Read More: How to Enjoy Christmas at Biltmore

Fryingpan Mountain Lookout Tower (MP 409.6)

Fryingpan Tower NC Blue Ridge Parkway Stops
Frying pan Tower

Built in 1941 by the United States Forest Service, Fryingpan Mountain Lookout Tower provides 360-degree views from the stairs. The 1.5-mile roundtrip hike is super easy, and the views are epic!

While the actual fire tower is locked, you can climb five stories and look out at the rolling mountains in the distance.

Read More: Hikes near Asheville

Cold Mountain Overlook (MP 411.9)

Besides Mount Mitchell and Mount Craig, did you know that North Carolina has 40 peaks over 6,000 feet? Cold Mountain is one of them and if the name sounds familiar, there was a 2003 Academy Award-winning film by this name featuring Nicole Kidman and Jude Law.

While there aren’t any hiking trails to Cold Mountain from the Parkway, you can get some good views of it from the scenic overlooks!

Read More: Movies Filmed and Set in North Carolina

Looking Glass Rock (MP 417)

Looking Glass Rock NC Blue Ridge Parkway Stops
Looking Glass Rock

The mountain that is a half-bare rock that shines in the sun? Yep!

That’s appropriately named Looking Glass Rock. The overlook at Milepost 417 grants amazing views, and Skinny Dip Falls was previously an amazing swimming hole that you could hike to across the road.

Read More: Waterfalls near Asheville and Waterfalls near Brevard

Graveyard Fields (MP 418.8)

Graveyard Fields NC Blue Ridge Parkway Stops

If you need a restroom stop along the Blue Ridge Parkway, Graveyard Fields is one of the few trailheads with a toilet. Beyond that reason to stop, the Graveyard Fields Loop Trail is an easy hike to a spectacular waterfall.

You can follow a longer loop to a harder-to-find cascade.

Graveyard Fields is popular in July and August for the wild blueberries, but throughout the year, this is a truly beautiful stop along the Blue Ridge Parkway!

Read More: 4 National Forests in NC (Things to Do + Why We Love Them!)

Black Balsam Knob (MP 420.2)

Black Balsam Knob near Blue Ridge Parkway NC

Black Balsam Knob is one of our favorite kid-friendly hikes near Asheville. The fact that this 6,000-footer is easily accessed from the Blue Ridge Parkway is an added bonus!

Black Balsam Knob and Tennent Mountain are part of the longer Art Loeb Trail that winds along luscious mountain balds for scenic views. You can hike a half-mile up to the first balds or see more via a 5-mile loop.

The wide-open fields are a geological mystery, and this is one of the most stunning hikes in Western North Carolina.

Read More: Hiking Roan Mountain for Beautiful Appalachian Trail Views

Devil’s Courthouse (MP 422.4)

Devils Courthouse NC View West

Short and strenuous, Devil’s Courthouse can be found at milepost 422.4. The trail is mostly-paved and takes you to a rock overlook at 5,720 feet.

Legend says there is a cave within the mountain where the devil holds his court, but we’re really just interested in the sweeping mountain views and rare flora.

For a couple of waterfalls nearby, follow a Forest Service road that starts just about MP 423. Four miles later and you’ll reach the trailhead for Dill Falls and Upper Dill Falls, which are reachable via a one-mile round trip hike!

Read More: Nantahala Outdoor Center in Bryson City (10 Essential Things to Do)

Richland Balsam Overlook (MP 431.4)

Richland Balsam NC Blue Ridge Parkway Stops

Richland Balsam Overlook is another interesting Blue Ridge Parkway stop for a couple of reasons.

For starters, this stop is the highest point of the Blue Ridge Parkway road at 6,047 feet. From here, you can hike the summit of Richland Balsam (6,292 feet) via a moderate 1.5-mile loop.

Waterrock Knob Trail (MP 451.2)

Waterrock Knob Blue Ridge Parkway North Carolina

The most ideal sunset stop along the Blue Ridge Parkway is Waterrock Knob. Even from the parking lot, this is a perfect spot for a picnic with panoramic views

But honestly, the best views are from the 0.5 to 0.6-mile summit trail. Gaining 480 feet in elevation, the trail is strenuous but worth it.

Many people choose to continue hiking toward Browning Knob and a plane crash site that is reachable from that trail. We don’t recommend it for a variety of reasons, including the fact that it’s a tragic site where people lost their lives.

Four miles past Waterrock Knob is US-19 (MP 455.7). From there, you can drive to the Soco Falls parking lot.

Southern Terminus (MP 469.1)

Elk near Oconaluftee Visitor Center at End of Blue Ridge Parkway NC

We consider this a Blue Ridge Parkway stop, even though you’ll drive past Milepost 469.1 and the southern terminus. The Parkway will end and intersect with US-441, just a mile away from Cherokee on one side and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park entrance on the other.

The end of the Parkway is where the Oconaluftee Visitor Center sits. It’s also a very popular place for elk-watching.

These majestic animals often pass through this area in the early mornings or around sunset. Please remember not to approach the elk and to remain in your vehicles when they are roaming.

Read More: How to Enjoy Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort (+ 15 Tips)

Which Blue Ridge Parkway Stops Do You Love?

Which Blue Ridge Parkway stops (on the North Carolina side) are your favorites?

Are you more into hikes? overlooks like at Chimney Rock State Park? And if you’ve never been on the Parkway, we’d love to know which stops you’re checking out first.

You can tell us in the comments or send us an email. Just don’t forget to share your adventures enjoying a Blue Ridge Parkway stop or stops in our North Carolina Travel Facebook Group!

Individual Blue Ridge Parkway Stops and Nearby Places (NC Travel Guides)

We’ve created many more NC travel guides that cover the best stops along the Blue Ridge Parkway in more detail. Here are a few of them.

9 thoughts on “45+ Stunning Blue Ridge Parkway Stops in North Carolina”

  1. I’m a senior who had a stroke 8 yrs ago, but have been working extremely hard through rehabilitation to get stronger, now I walk with a limp using a cane. I’m ready to travel on one day trips. I live in Winston Salem, NC. Are there any one day trips leaving from my city if possible. Thank you

    • Hi Janet, we do not organize trips just provide information on how to plan your own! Hope you get out and explore some and wishing you a healthy winter!


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