Blue Ridge Parkway - North Carolina Points of Interest
The Blue Ridge Parkway is the most visited element of America's National Park System. Drives along the Parkway allow visitors to enjoy stunning scenery and provide glimpses of the cultural history of the southern Appalachian mountains. The North Carolina segment of the Parkway extends from the Virginia border to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
There are many places to stop - overlooks, trails, camping and picnic facilities, and natural and cultural areas. Locations are designated with mile post (MP) markers. Below are some of the highlights of the North Carolina portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway:
Stone Mountain State Park (MP 229) - The 13,747-acre Park features a magnificent 600-foot granite dome, cascading waterfalls, cool mountain streams, and quiet forests teeming with wildlife.
Brinegar Homestead (MP 238) - Historic home with garden and outbuildings. Weaving demonstrations are presented during the summer.
EB Jeffress Park (MP 272) - Features the Cascades nature trail which leads to a waterfall that tumbles down the steep mountainside. The Jess Brown Farmstead has a cabin with a spring house. It is also the site of the relocated Cool Springs Baptist Church.
Howard's Knob (MP 276) - A great place for a picnic or to see Boone from above
Rendezvous Mountain (276) - Follow the "Talking Tree Trail," where the trees talk and tell the story of the forest's history...or take the Forest Demo Trail to learn about forestry practices. Also learn about logging at the sawmill exhibit.
Daniel Boone Trace (MP 285) - The rich history of the area includes many visits from pioneer Daniel Boone. In the mid 1700s, Boone had a camping cabin in Boone, where Appalachian State University is now located.
Thunder Hill Overlook (MP 290) - Offers a breathtaking view of the Yadkin River valley.
Tweetsie Railroad (MP 291) - Family theme park with three-mile train ride, crafts, live entertainment, rides and a petting zoo. The park features the Number 12 engine, part of the original "Tweetsie" which ran through the mountains and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Moses Cone Manor (MP 293) - The summer home of textile magnate Moses Cone. The home was one of the first in the mountains to have indoor plumbing.
Parkway Craft Center at Moses Cone Manor House (MP 294) - Handmade crafts are offered by members of the Southern Highland Craft Guild.
Green Knob Trail (MP 295) - Takes hikers over the ridge, under a Parkway bridge, and across many different types of terrain.
Linn Cove Viaduct (MP 304) - The design and engineering wonder winds around the side of Grandfather Mountain and is probably the most recognized section of the Parkway.
Coffey Lake & Buckeye Lake (MP 305) - Great fishing, walking trails and the perfect place to have a picnic.
Lost Cove Cliffs (MP 310) - Good vantage point for viewing the Brown Mountain Lights, particularly after a rainfall on a summer night.
Linville Falls (MP 316) - Three-tiered waterfall that plunges into Linville Gorge, the deepest gorge east of the Mississippi River.
Museum of North Carolina Minerals (MP 331) - View gems and minerals and interactive displays showing the importance of mining in the region.
Penland School of Crafts (MP 331) - Classes, exhibits, and sales help keep alive the mountain's craft heritage.
Balsam Gap Overlook (MP 359) - Access point to a trail for hiking into a spruce-fir forest.
Sliding Rock (MP 410) - Natural 60-foot water slide into a 7-foot pool.
Cherry Cove Overlook (MP 415) - A good place to see migrating Monarch butterflies in the last half of September. Hawks can also been seen in the sky as they head south.
Waterrock Knob (MP 451) - The views from this high elevation are some of the most spectacular along the Parkway. Sunsets can be particularly dazzling.
Big Witch Overlook (MP 462) - Offers a view of the home of Big Witch, the Cherokee medicine man.
Interesting Fact: There are twenty six tunnels on the Blue Ridge Parkway, but only one in Virginia. This is primarily because the North Carolina mountains are more rugged that those in Virginia.
For an overview and history of the Blue Ridge Parkway, click below: