The 5 Best Hikes of the Blue Ridge Parkway

by Janet Slagell

It has been said that the “Journey of a 1,000 miles begins with just a step. ” That stated, nearly all it takes, planning and preparation aside, to enjoy the best hikes of the Blue Ridge Parkway, is a single step. After all, what’s not love about looking out across a verdant rolling valley,or staring up the side of a steep mountain, all while listening to the sounds of nature! To point you in the “right” directions, here are some of the Blue Ridge Parkway’s best hikes.

  1. The Bluff Mountain Trail in Doughton Park- Here you will find 7 ½ miles of sensational views composed of cliffs, craggy overlooks, and towering evergreens. As you begin at Alligator Back Overlook, follow the switchbacks for 1.4 miles and you will find a picnic area and cliff top views. As you follow the trail, watch for the turn off the Bluff Ridge Trail which leads through a quiet meadow and ultimately a shelter.
  2. Three Bridges Wilderness (milepost 13.7)-This is a strenuous circuit trail made up of dips, steep climbs, and switchbacks. However, the difficulty of the trail is amply compensated with views of waterfalls, the beauty of distant mountain peaks, cliff top views, and forested summits. The area is ideal for both quick day hikes and overnight trips.
  3. The Peaks of Otter is one of the Parkway’s most highly recommended hiking regions. It is open year round and can be hiked, even when other areas are closed due to snow. As you hike, you will see Polly Wood’s Ordinary, the interpretive Johnson Farm Loop, craggy Buzzards Roost, Balance Rock and many other Peaks of Otter Recreation locations.
  4. Rocky Knob Recreation Area at Milepost 165.3-169 has four hiking options: the Rock Castle Gorge Trail, the Rocky Knob day hikes to Saddle Overlook, the Black Ridge Trail to the Twelve O’Clock Knob Overlook and the Rocky Knob Picnic Loop. Trail difficulty ranges from easy to strenuous, so be sure to come prepares based on the age and experience of the group.
  5. Beacon Height from the Parkway and via the Mountains to the Sea Trail- At Milepost 305.2, hik-ers will find amazing views, relatively easy footing, waterfalls and beautiful mountain flowers and greenery. There are picnic areas, scenic overlooks, boulders and summits great for taking a break to catch your breath, take a drink or check your feet.

Hiking along the Blue Ridge Parkway is a favorite of hikers from all over America. Come see the beauty of nature for yourself as you explore some of the best hikes in beautiful North Carolina.

About the Author

I love to read, cook and scrapbook. I have been a free lance copywriter for nearly 3 years and have written on a wide range of topics. I am also a home-schooling mom and involved with my church’s children’s ministry.

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