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A journey on the Blue Ridge Parkway offers spectacular views of Southern Appalachia’s diverse beauty for 469 uninterrupted miles. Blue-misted mountains, cascading waterfalls, rolling pasture, and gorges banked with wildflowers greet hikers of all skill levels among the more than 100 varied and intriguing trails in North Carolina and Virginia.

Blue Ridge Parkway Hiking

Linville Falls West Rim Trail, Photo by Alex Armstrong

Meandering alongside and crossing the scenic motor road, the trails provide a close-up look at some of the most beautiful wilderness in the country. Many trails wind their way through unique biological and geological environments. Others lead to historic sites with stories of how people have shaped our heritage.

Many Parkway trails continue onto Forest Service and private land. Please respect all these lands and treat them with care. Every trail and overlook should be treated with respect using these 7 principles from Leave No Trace.

Parkway Hiking

Virginia Trails by Milepost

Mileage is one-way from the trailhead unless the trail is a loop.

  • Milepost 5.9 – Mountain Farm Trail (self-guiding, from Humpback Visitor Center to pioneer farmstead) Humpback Rocks info & map
    Length: 0.25 Miles  Skill Level: Easy
  • Milepost 6 – Appalachian Trail (Humpback Gap parking area to Humpback Mtn., elev. – 3650 feet)
    Length: 2 Miles  Skill Level: Strenuous
  • Milepost 8.4  – Catoctin Loop Trail (leg stretcher)
    Length: 0.3 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
  • Milepost 8.8 – Greenstone Trail (self-guiding; Greenstone geology formation; oak hickory forest)
    Length: 0.2 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
  • Milepost 17.6 – The Priest (view)
    Length: 0.1 Miles  Skill Level: Easy
  • Milepost 18.5 – White Rock Falls Trail Connection (see note on White Rock Falls Trail, below)
    Length: 2.9 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
  • Milepost 20 – White Rock Falls Trail (follows stream to small falls)
    Length: 0.9 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate Access across the Parkway from Slacks Overlook (and just a bit North toward Milepost 19.8, nondescript trailhead with minimal signage)
    Note: Copperhead and rattlesnake sightings are reported at the rocky overlooks along this trail as you hike downhill from the access near Milepost 19.9.
    Also accessible from Milepost 18.5 (White Rock Gap Trail parking) for a 3.4-mile round trip. Or make it a 4.7-mile loop by linking the White Rock Gap and Slacks Trails with the White Rock Falls Trail. (See map for details.)
  • Milepost 26.3 – Big Spy Mountain (view into Shenandoah Valley; good for stargazing)
    Length: 0.1 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
  • Milepost 34.4 – Yankee Horse (to logging RR exhibit & small waterfall)
    Length: 0.2 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
  • Milepost 38.8 – Boston Knob (leg stretcher)
    Length: 0.1 Miles  Skill Level: Easy
  • Milepost 47.5 – Indian Gap (to Indian Rocks; good seasonal rhododendron display)
    Length: 0.3 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
  • Milepost 55.2 – White Oak Flats (leg stretcher)
    Length: 0.1 Miles  Skill Level: Easy
  • Milepost 60.8 – Otter Creek Trail (begin at Otter Creek Campground) James River & Otter Creek info & map
    Length: 3.5 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
  • Milepost 63.1 – Otter Lake Trail (around Otter Lake)
    Length: 0.8 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
  • Milepost 63.6 – James River Trail (Self-guiding to canal locks)
    Length: 0.2 Miles  Skill Level: Easy
    Trail of Trees Trail (self-guiding to James River Overlook)
    Length: 0.5 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
  • Milepost 74.7 – Thunder Ridge Trail (leg stretcher loop to view of Arnold Valley)
    Length: 0.1 Miles  Skill Level: Easy
  • Milepost 78.4 – Apple Orchard Falls Trail (Sunset Field Overlook to view of Apple Orchard Falls; National Recreation Trail)
    Length: 1.2 Miles  Skill Level: Strenuous
  • Milepost 79.7 – Onion Mountain Loop Trail (leg stretcher through Appalachian deciduous forest with rhododendron display)
    Length: 0.1 Miles  Skill Level: Easy
  • Milepost 83.1 – Fallingwater Cascades Trail (National Recreation Trail; loop to view of cascades)
    Length: 1.6 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
  • Milepost 83.5 – Flat Top Trail (leads to highest of three prominent peaks in area) Peaks of Otter info & map
    Length: 4.4 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
    Cross Rock Trail
    (spur off Flat Top Trail; unique geological features)
    Length: 0.1 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
  • Milepost 85.7 – Abbott Lake Trail (loop around Abbott Lake)
    Length: 1.0 Miles  Skill Level: Easy
  • Milepost 85.9 – Elk Run Trail (self-guiding loop nature trail from Peaks of Otter Visitor Center)
    Length: 0.8 Miles  Skill Level: Easy
    Johnson Farm Loop Trail (loop to restored mountain farm)
    Length: 2.1 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
    Harkening Hill Trail (elevation -3300 feet; begin at Peaks of Otter Visitor Center)
    Length: 3.3 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
    Balance Rock (spur trail off Harkening Hill Trail; unique geological formations)
    Length: 0.1 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
  • Milepost 86 – Sharp Top Trail (from camp store to summit of Sharp Top Mtn.; elevation – 3875 feet; 360 degree panoramic view)
    Length: 1.5 Miles  Skill Level: Strenuous
  • Milepost 91 – Appalachian Trail (VA 695 to Sharp Top Mtn. Overlook)
    Length: 1.9 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
  • Milepost 92.5 – Appalachian Trail (Sharp Top Mtn. Overlook to Harvey’s Knob Overlook)
    Length: 2.9 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
  • Milepost 95.4 – Appalachian Trail (Harvey’s Knob Overlook to Motvale Overlook)
    Length: 0.6 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
  • Milepost 95.9 – Appalachian Trail (Montvale Overlook to Taylor’s Mountain Overlook)
    Length: 1 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
  • Milepost 96 – Spec Mine Trail (USFS Trail begins near Montvale Overlook, to State Rt. 645 in Botetourt County)
    Length: 2.8 Miles  Skill Level: Strenuous
  • Milepost 97 – Appalachian Trail (Taylor’s Mtn. Overlook to Blackhorse Gap)
    Length: 0.8 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
  • Milepost 110.6 – Stewarts Knob Trail (view)
    Length: 0.05 Miles  Skill Level: Easy
  • Milepost 114.9 – Roanoke River Trail (self-guiding river loop) Roanoke Valley info & map
    Length: 0.35 Miles  Skill Level: Easy
  • Milepost 120.4 – Roanoke Mountain Summit Trail (view)
    Length: 0.11 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
  • Milepost 120.5 – Chestnut Ridge Trail (adjacent to Roanoke Mtn. campground)
    Length: 1.75 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
  • Milepost 121.4 – Roanoke Valley Horse Trail (begins US Hwy 220, parallels Parkway to Milepost 110.6)
    Length: 18.5 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
  • Milepost 123.2 – Buck Mountain Trail (to summit view)
    Length: 0.53 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
  • Milepost 154.5 – Smart View Loop Trail (around picnic area)
    Length: 2.6 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
  • Milepost 167.1 – Rock Castle Gorge Trail (loop from campground along ridge over Rocky Knob and into gorge for 7-mile return to campground)
    Length: 10.8 Miles  Skill Level: Strenuous
    Hardwood Cove Self-Guiding Nature Trail (part of Rock Castle Loop)
    Length: 0.8 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
  • Milepost 169 – Black Ridge Trail (Rocky Knob Visitor Center to Black Ridge to Grassy Knoll and back) Rocky Knob info & map
    Length: 3.1 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
    Rocky Knob Picnic Loop Trail (leg stretcher around picnic area)
    Length: 1.0 Miles  Skill Level: Easy
  • Milepost 176.2 – Mountain Industry Trail (Mabry Mill)
    Length: 0.5 Miles  Skill Level: Easy
  • Milepost 179.2 – Round Meadow Creek Loop Trail (walk through a stream bottom forest)
    Length: 0.5 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
  • Milepost 213 – High Meadow Trail (leg stretcher) Blue Ridge Music Center info & map
    Length: 1.35 Miles  Skill Level: Easy
    Fisher Peak Loop
    Length: 2.25 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate

Parkway Hiking

North Carolina Trails by Milepost

Mileage is one-way from the trailhead unless the trail is a loop.

  • Milepost 217.5 – Cumberland Knob Trail (ideal lazy-day walk) Cumberland Knob info & map
    Length: 0.5 Miles  Skill Level: Easy
    Gully Creek Trail (rewarding loop that meanders by stream)
    Length: 2 Miles  Skill Level: Strenuous
  • Milepost 218.6 – Fox Hunters Paradise Trail (view)
    Length: 0.2 Miles  Skill Level: Easy
  • Milepost 230.1 – Little Glade Millpond (easy loop stroll around pond)
    Length: 0.4 Miles  Skill Level: Easy
  • Milepost 238.5 – Cedar Ridge Trail (great for day hike; vistas and forests) Doughton Park info & map
    Length: 4.2 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
    Bluff Mountain Trail (parallels Parkway to Milepost 244.7)
    Length: 7.5 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
  • Milepost 241 – Fodder Stack Trail (great variety of plants)
    Length: 2.89 Miles  Skill Level: Strenuous
  • Milepost 243.7 – Grassy Gap Fire Road (wide enough for side-by-side hiking)
    Length: 6.5 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
    Basin Creek Trail (access from backcountry campground)
    Length: 3.3 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
  • Milepost 244.7 – Flat Rock Ridge Trail (forest path with vistas)
    Length: 5.0 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
  • Milepost 260.3 – Jumpingoff Rocks Trail (forest path to vista)
    Length: 1.0 Miles  Skill Level: Easy
  • Milepost 264.4 – The Lump Trail (to hilltop view)
    Length: 0.3 Miles  Skill Level: Easy
  • Milepost 271.9 – Cascades Trail (self-guiding loop to view of falls)
    Length: 0.5 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
  • Milepost 272.5 – Tompkins Knob Trail (to Jesse Brown Cabin)
    Length: 0.6 Miles  Skill Level: Easy
  • Milepost 294 – Rich Mountain Carriage, Horse, & Hiking Trail Moses Cone Memorial Park info & map
    Length: 3 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
    Flat Top Mountain Carriage, Horse & Hiking Trail
    Length: 3 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
    Watkins Carriage, Horse & Hiking Trail
    Length: 3.3 Miles  Skill Level: Easy/Moderate
    Black Bottom Carriage, Horse, & Hiking Trail
    Length: 0.5 Miles  Skill Level: Easy
    Bass Lake Carriage, Horse & Hiking Trail
    Length: 1.7 Miles  Skill Level: Easy
    Deer Park Carriage, Horse, & Hiking Trail
    Length: 0.8 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
    Maze Carriage Horse & Hiking Trail
    Length: 2.3 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
    Duncan Carriage, Horse, & Hiking Trail
    Length: 2.5 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
    Rock Creek Bridge Carriage, Horse, & Hiking Trail
    Length: 1.0 Miles  Skill Level: Easy
  • Milepost 294.1 – Figure 8 Trail (short, self-guiding loop nature trail)
    Length: 0.7 Miles  Skill Level: Easy
  • Milepost 294.6 – Trout Lake Hiking & Horse Trail (loop)
    Length: 1.0 Miles  Skill Level: Easy
  • Milepost 295.9 – Green Knob Trail (to Green Knob) Julian Price Park info & map
    Length: 2.3 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate/Strenuous
  • Milepost 296.4 – Boone Fork Trail (stream, forest, and meadows)
    Length: 4.9 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate/Strenuous
  • Milepost 297 – Price Lake Loop Trail (loop around Price Lake)
    Length: 2.3 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
  • Milepost 302.8 – Rough Ridge Trail (part of Tanawha Trail)
    Length: 0.8 Miles to boardwalk Skill Level: Moderate
  • Milepost 304.4 – Linn Cove Viaduct Access Trail
    Length: 0.16 Miles  Skill Level: Easy
  • Milepost 305.2 – Beacon Heights Trail (10 minutes to view)
    Length: 0.22 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
    Tanawha Trail (diverse biological and geological features) Tanawha Trail info & map
    Length: 13.5 Miles  Skill Level: Easy/Moderate
  • Milepost 308.2 – Flat Rock Trail (self-guiding loop)
    Length: 0.63 Miles  Skill Level: Easy
  • Milepost 315.5 – Camp Creek Trail (leg stretcher through laurel and rhododendron)
    Length: 0.1 Miles  Skill Level: Easy
  • Milepost 316.4 – Linville Falls Trail (view of upper Falls) Linville Falls info & map
    Length: 0.8 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
    Linville Gorge Trail (view of lower Falls)
    Length: 0.5 Miles  Skill Level: Strenuous
  • Duggers Creek Trail (loop to view of Duggers Falls)
    Length: 0.25 Miles  Skill Level: Easy
  • Milepost 316.5 – Linville River Bridge Trail (leg stretcher to view of unusual bridge)
    Length: 0.1 Miles  Skill Level: Easy
  • Milepost 320.8 – Chestoa View Trail (30-minute loop to vista)
    Length: 0.63 Miles  Skill Level: Easy
  • Milepost 339.5 – Crabtree Falls Loop Trail (loop to view of Falls, accessed directly from the Blue Ridge Parkway) Crabtree Falls map & info
    Length: 2.5 Miles  Skill Level: Strenuous
  • Milepost 344.1 – Woods Mountain Trail (USFS)
    Length: 2.0 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
  • Milepost 350.4 – Lost Cove Ridge Trail (USFS)
    Length: 0.6 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
  • Milepost 351.9 – Deep Gap Trail (USFS)
    Length: 0.2 Miles  Skill Level: Easy
  • Milepost 355 – Bald Knob Ridge Trail (USFS)
    Length: 0.1 Miles  Skill Level: Easy
  • Milepost 355 – Big Butt Trail (trail continues on USFS lands)
    Length: 0.2 Miles  Skill Level: Strenuous
  • Milepost 361.2 – Glassmine Falls (view of Falls)
    Length: 0.05 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
  • Milepost 361.2 – Craggy Pinnacle Trail (to panoramic view)
    Length: 0.73 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
  • Milepost 364.2 – Craggy Gardens Trail (first portion is self-guiding nature trail) Craggy Gardens info & map
    Length: 0.84 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
  • Milepost 374.4 – Rattlesnake Lodge Trail (woodland walk)
    Length: 0.5 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
  • Milepost 382 – Mountain-to-Sea Trail/MST (from Folk Art Center to Milepost 365, spring wildflowers and views, parallels parkway, many accesses)
    Length: 7.5 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
  • Milepost 393.7 – Shut-In Trail/MST Trail (Bent Creek-Walnut Cove)
    Length: 3.1 Miles  Skill Level: Strenuous
  • Milepost 397.3 – Grassy Knob Trail (steep trail to USFS area)
    Length: 0.9 Miles  Skill Level: Strenuous
    Shut-In Trail/MST Trail (Sleepy Gap-Chestnut Cove)
    Length: 0.7 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
  • Milepost 398.3 – Shut-In Trail/MST Trail (Chestnut Cove-Bent Creek Gap)
    Length: 2.8 Miles  Skill Level: Strenuous
  • Milepost 400.3 – Shut-In Trail/MST Trail (Bent Creek Gap-Beaver Dam Gap)
    Length: 1.9 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
  • Milepost 401.7 – Shut-In Trail/MST Trail (Beaver Dam Gap-Stoney Bald)
    Length: 0.9 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
  • Milepost 402.6 – Shut-In Trail/MST Trail (Stoney Bald-Big Ridge)
    Length: 1.2 Miles  Skill Level: Strenuous
  • Milepost 403.6 – Shut-In Trail/MST Trail (Big Ridge-Mills River Valley)
    Length: 1.2 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate/Strenuous
  • Milepost 404.5 – Shut-In Trail/MST Trail (Mills River Valley-Elk Pasture Gap)
    Length: 1.2 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate/Strenuous
  • Milepost 405.5 – Shut-In Trail/MST Trail (Elk Pasture Gap-Mt. Pisgah)
    Length: 1.7 Miles  Skill Level: Strenuous
  • Milepost 407.6 – Mt. Pisgah Trail (summit view) Mt. Pisgah area info & map
    Length: 1.26 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate/Strenuous
    Buck Springs Trail (Pisgah Lodge to view)
  • Milepost 408.5 – Frying Pan Mountain Trail (starting at Mt. Pisgah Campground)
    Length: 1.65 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate/Strenuous
  • Milepost 409.6 – Frying Pan Mountain Trail (starting at FS 450)
    Length: .75 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate (park at the signpost for Forest Service Road 450 – don’t block the gate- and hike up the gravel road to the tower)
  • Milepost 417 – East Fork Trail (USFS, access to Shining Rock Trail System)
    Length: 0.1 Miles  Skill Level: Easy/Moderate
  • Milepost 418.8 – Graveyard Fields Loop Trail (loop by a stream)
    Length: 2.29 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
  • Milepost 419.4 – John Rock Trail (leg stretcher to view)
    Length: 0.1 Miles  Skill Level: Easy
  • Milepost 422.4 – Devil’s Courthouse Trail (panoramic summit view)
    Length: 0.42 Miles  Skill Level: Moderate/Strenuous
  • Milepost 427.6 – Bear Pen Gap Trail (access to Mountains-to-Sea Trail)
    Length: 0.22 Miles  Skill Level: Easy
  • Milepost 431 – Richland Balsam Trail (self-guiding loop through spruce-fir forest)
    Length: 1.47  Miles  Skill Level: Moderate
  • Milepost 433.8 – Roy Taylor Overlook Trail (paved trail to overlook)
    Length: 0.1  Miles  Skill Level: Easy
  • Milepost 451.2 – Waterrock Knob Trail (summit view)
    Length: 0.6  Miles  Skill Level: Moderate/Strenuous