Blue Ridge Parkway | BEST ATTRACTIONS ON THE BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY

Blacksmith at work on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Blacksmith at work at Mabry Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway

With hundreds of activities to participate in along the Blue Ridge Parkway, from scenic overlooks to hiking trails to visits to historic sites, there’s no better way to make your Blue Ridge Parkway Bucket List than to follow the advice of somebody who has seen them all. I made this list two months after my visit. I did not reference a master list to refresh my memory. I did hundreds of things during my travels and most of them blend together. The following are the ones that stuck in my memory, making this truly a list of memorable places.


Attraction and visitor facility locations are referenced by mile posts (MP). Mileage is tracked from 0 at the northern entrance to 469 at the southern entrance. You will see the mile posts along the Blue Ridge Parkway just as you see mile posts on Interstates and other highways.

The list below is ranked by mile markers, not from the best to least best.


Humpback Rocks Trail (MP 6)
Hike to Humpback Rocks and take in one of the best views in the park. This 2-mile round-trip trail is strenuous, but well worth the effort.

Crowds at Humpback Rocks on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Crowds at Humpback Rocks on the Blue Ridge Parkway


Black Ridge / Rock Castle Gorge Loop Hike (MP 169)
Most hiking trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway lead through the forest, but this hike allows the rare opportunity to bask in the sunshine and take in a wide range of scenic views.

View from the Grassy Knoll area of the Blue Ridge Parkway's Black Ridge Trail

View from the Grassy Knoll area of the Blue Ridge Parkway’s Black Ridge Trail


Mabry Mill (MP 176.2)
The restored mill built by Ed Mabry around 1910 is now open to visitors. See corn ground into meal and tour the rest of the property where a number of historic buildings are located. Park volunteers demonstrate skilled crafts used by mountain settlers.

Mabry Mill is one of the Blue Ridge Parkway's most iconic attractions

Mabry Mill is one of the Blue Ridge Parkway’s most iconic attractions


Blue Ridge Music Center (MP 213)
Free Mountain Music concerts are held every day from 12-4 PM during the May through October season. Larger ticketed concerts are held in the Music Center’s amphitheater. You can also visit the Roots of American Music Museum.

Performers at a Mid-Day Mountain Music concert at the Blue Ridge Music Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Performers at a Mid-Day Mountain Music concert at the Blue Ridge Music Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway


Gully Creek Trail (MP 217.5)
This strenuous 2.5-mile loop trail follows Gully Creek for much of the hike. Creek crossings, treacherous terrain, and picturesque cascades make the effort worthwhile for those who are at least in decent shape.

Water cascading over large boulders on the Blue Ridge Parkway's Gully Creek Trail

Water cascading over large boulders on the Blue Ridge Parkway’s Gully Creek Trail


Moses Cone Memorial Park (MP 294)
The estate of millionaire Moses Cone became part of the Blue Ridge Parkway in the 1950s. Today the top floor is open for tours during the summer season and the lower floor is home to a massive craft store run by the Southern Highlands Craft Guild. The 3,600-acre estate also includes two lakes and over 25 miles of original carriage roads that are open to hiking and horseback riding.

Flat Top Manor is a popular attraction on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Flat Top Manor is a popular attraction on the Blue Ridge Parkway


Julian Price Lake (MP 296.7)
This beautiful lake sits right along the Blue Ridge Parkway. An easy 2.3-mile trail circles the lake and is suitable for people of all ages. This is also the only spot on the Parkway where you can canoe or kayak, and if you don’t have a watercraft, you can rent one at the on-site shop.

Canoeists explore small coves along Julian Price Lake on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Canoeists explore small coves along Julian Price Lake on the Blue Ridge Parkway


Linn Cove Viaduct Overlook Trail (MP 304.4)
The Linn Cove Viaduct is a feat of engineering and was the first viaduct (a type of bridge) of its kind in America. It graces many Blue Ridge Parkway souvenirs, and though it can be seen at a few locations along the Parkway, if you want to get that “Souvenir Store” photograph you need to hike a 1-mile round-trip trail from the Linn Cove Visitor Center. The location of where to take this photo is not voluntarily given out by the park Rangers or disclosed in park brochures, but I got a tip on where to go, and I now share this knowledge with you.

Blue Ridge Parkway's Linn Cove Viaduct

Blue Ridge Parkway’s Linn Cove Viaduct


Linville Falls Recreation Area (MP 316.4)
The Linville Falls area is home to the largest waterfall on the Blue Ridge Parkway. A number of trails ranging from moderate to strenuous take hikers to different viewing points. The park also has a campground, picnic area, and Visitor Center.

View of Lower Linville Falls from Erwins View, Blue Ridge Parkway

View of Lower Linville Falls from Erwins View, Blue Ridge Parkway


Craggy Pinnacle Trail (MP 364.2)
A relatively easy trail for one that leads to the top of a mountain, the 1-mile round-trip Craggy Pinnacle Trail has two overlooks and provides one of the best views on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The Craggy Pinnacle Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway leads to an overlook at the Pinnacle summit

The Craggy Pinnacle Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway leads to an overlook at the Pinnacle summit


Folk Art Center (MP 382)

The Folk Art Center is one of two craft and folk art stores on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The majority of the building is occupied by the Southern Highland Craft Guild (SHCG), and it is shopping for arts and crafts that is the main draw to the facility. Here you will find jewelry, handbags, folk art, glassware, clay and wood carvings, and other crafts, all made by Guild members, most of who are from the Appalachian Mountains area. From March until the end of December, Guild members lead live craft demonstrations in the Folk Art Center lobby. There are also special events planned throughout the year.

Allanstand Craft Shop at the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Allanstand Craft Shop at the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway


Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center (MP 384)
There are a number of Visitor Centers along the Blue Ridge Parkway, but the main one is near Asheville, North Carolina. Here you can get information and visit a large exhibit area. Picnic tables are located outside. I’ll admit that it wasn’t exactly memorable, but if you are near Asheville this is definitely the Visitor Center to stop at.

Interior of the Visitor Center

Interior of the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center


Graveyard Fields (MP 418.8)
The terrain at Graveyard Fields is unlike any other along the Blue Ridge Parkway due to a fire in 1925. As a result, the forest has not yet grown back and the area is instead carpeted with brush and small trees. This stop is also home to two waterfalls. Second Falls is within a short hike from the parking area while reaching Upper Falls takes a little more effort.

Lower Falls at Graveyard Field on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Lower Falls at Graveyard Field on the Blue Ridge Parkway


Devils Courthouse (MP 422.4)
A short but steep trail leads to the top of Devils Courthouse where you will find arguably the best view on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I visited on an overcast day and my photos do not do the view justice, but trust me, it’s a great view. You may not want to come back down.

View from the top of Devils Courthouse is one of the best on the Blue Ridge Parkway

View from the top of Devils Courthouse is one of the best on the Blue Ridge Parkway


Richland Balsam Trail (MP 431)
This trail reaches the second highest elevation that you can get to on the Blue Ridge Parkway at around 6,400 feet. The high altitude is home to a unique alpine ecosystem of fir trees, something you would expect in Colorado, not in North Carolina. I hiked the trail on a foggy day and this alone made the trek unforgettable.

Deep and dark alpine forest of the Richland Balsam Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Deep and dark alpine forest of the Richland Balsam Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway


Waterrock Knob (MP 451.2)
This unique overlook has a circular parking area, making it one of the only, if not the only, overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway where you can see the sun rise and sun set. A short but steep trail similar to that at Devils Courthouse takes hikers to the top of Waterrock Knob where another excellent view awaits.

Panoramic view from the top of the Blue Ridge Parkway's Waterrock Knob (click to enlarge)

Panoramic view from the top of the Blue Ridge Parkway’s Waterrock Knob (click to enlarge)

Back to the Top | Best of the Blue Ridge Parkway


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Last updated on November 7, 2023
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