Hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway

Devil's Courthouse Tunnel
View from inside the Devil's Courthouse tunnel, on the Blue Ridge Parkway south of Asheville, NC.

The Blue Ridge Parkway winds for 469 miles along the spine of the southern Appalachians, connecting Shenandoah National Park in Virginia with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the North Carolina/Tennessee border.

Under the auspices of the National Park Service, the Parkway provides many great hiking opportunities along its length. Trails to soaring peaks, or plunging waterfalls - take your pick! Want a flat, easy loop through tall trees? Or a steep, rugged trail through mountain meadows? They're both waiting along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

This guide will provide you with the information you need to find the perfect hike! Due to the length of this road - over 250 miles within North Carolina - we have divided it into six sections to be used as Trailhead areas on this site, listed below. They're envisioned such that (from either end a section) you should have enough time to drive as far as the other end, hike, and return, all in a reasonable day trip.

Choose a Section

Section 1

Virginia State Line (MP 217) to NC Hwy. 16 (MP 261).

Highlights:
Lies along the edge of the Blue Ridge escarpment, where the high, rolling lands of the Blue Ridge drop off steeply to the Piedmont to the East.

Recreation Areas:

  • Cumberland Knob
  • Doughton Park

Section 2

NC Hwy. 16 to Beacon Heights (U.S. Hwy. 221, MP 305).

Highlights:
Continuing along the Blue Ridge Escarpment, the parkway begins to pass some of the larger mountains such as Grandfather Mountain, the highest peak in the Blue Ridge.

Recreation Areas:

  • E.B. Jeffress Park
  • Moses H. Cone Memorial Park
  • Julian Price Memorial Park
  • Linn Cove Viaduct
  • Grandfather Mountain State Park and Attraction (nearby)

Section 3

U.S. Hwy. 221 (Beacon Heights) to Mount Mitchell State Park (MP 355).

Highlights:
Leaving the Blue Ridge, the parkway in this section heads West into the Black Mountains, which includes Mount Mitchell - the highest mountain east of the Mississippi.

Recreation Areas:

  • Linville Falls
  • Crabtree Meadows

Section 4

Just past Mount Mitchell State Park to Asheville (MP 394).

Highlights:
Travels along the Black Mountains - the highest in the East - and the Great Craggy Mountains before descending to Asheville in the French Broad River Valley.

Recreation Areas:

  • Craggy Gardens
  • Folk Art Center

Section 5

Just past Asheville to NC 215 (MP 425).

Highlights:
Travels up from Asheville to the crest of the Pisgah Ridge, and around Mount Pisgah, a prominent peak in this range. Trails connect with those on Pisgah National Forest land in the Pisgah Ranger District.

Recreation Areas:

  • Mount Pisgah
  • Graveyard Fields
  • Black Balsam
  • Devil's Courthouse

Section 6

Just past NC 215 to the end at Great Smoky Mountains National Park (MP 469).

Highlights:
Travels through the Great Balsam Mountains and the Plott Balsams before ending in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Recreation Areas:

  • Richland Balsam
  • Waterrock Knob
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Official Information

Administrative Address:
199 Hemphill
Knob Road
Asheville, NC 28803-8686

Park Headquarters:
Milepost 384

Information Line Phone Number:
828-298-0398

Notice:

The Blue Ridge Parkway is subject to closure at any time due to weather conditions. Most parkway facilities close for the winter in October. Call the information line number above before heading out to the Parkway.