Hike up the Grassy Knoll on the Blue Ridge Parkway's Black Ridge Trail

Hike up the Grassy Knoll on the Blue Ridge Parkway’s Black Ridge Trail

There are over 120 trails (around 350 hiking miles) along the Blue Ridge Parkway ranging from long trails for serious hikers to what are known as “leg stretchers,” short nature trails that lead from the parking area to scenic overlooks or through an interesting natural feature of the park. You will even find pullouts along the Parkway that serve as nothing more than parking for the internationally famous Appalachian Trail and Mountains to Sea Trail.

It is not in the scope of the National Park Planner project to hike every mile. During my visit I hiked about 50 miles, which seems like a small percentage, but many of the 350 miles of trails in the park are on the Appalachian and Mountains to Sea trails. I only hiked and reported on trails specific to the Blue Ridge Parkway, of which there are a little less than 200 miles. I hiked the majority of the leg stretchers and a good number of the longer trails.

Here is a list of my favorite trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway. They were either fun and challenging to hike or led to a great view or waterfall…or both. The list is not ranked in order of greatness but simply by mile post number running north to south. 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.

Humpback Rocks / Appalachian Trail Loop (MP 6)
This hike includes the hike to the Humpback Rocks Overlook and continues in a counterclockwise loop by connecting to the Appalachian Trail and the Old Howardsville Turnpike, a connector trail back to the parking lot. Round trip is 4.1 miles.

Thunder Ridge Trail (MP 74.7)
This .2-mile loop leg-stretcher leads from the Thunder Ridge Parking Area to an excellent view of Arnold Valley.

Johnson Farm Trail (MP 85.4)
A moderate 1.75-mile loop trail that passes through an authentic mid-1800s farm.

Black Ridge Trail (MP 169)
This 3-mile loop trail overlaps with part of the Rock Castle Gorge Trail and passes through open fields, a change from the typical forested trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Gully Creek Trail (MP 217.5)
An exciting, strenuous 2.5-mile loop trail to Gully Creek with many creek crossings.

Cascades Trail (MP 271.9)
This 1-mile loop trail leads to one of the better waterfalls on the Parkway.

Price Lake Trail (MP 296.7)
Take an easy stroll around Price Lake on this family-friendly 2.3-mile loop trail.

Beacon Heights Trail (MP 305.2)
This moderate half-mile round-trip trail leads to the top of Beacon Heights for a great view.

Erwins View Trail, Linville Gorge Trail, Plunge Basin Trail (MP 316.4)
A series of trails ranging from moderate to extremely strenuous provide different views of the Upper and Lower Linville Waterfalls, the best and biggest waterfalls along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Crabtree Falls Trail (MP 339.5)
A moderate to strenuous 3.1-mile loop trail that passes by Crabtree Falls.

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.

Graveyard Fields Loop Trail / Upper Falls Trail (MP 418.8)
This easy to moderate 3.2-mile loop includes side hikes to both Lower and Upper Yellowstone Prong waterfalls.

Devils Courthouse Trail (MP 422.4)
Short but strenuous 1-mile round trip hike to the top of Devils Courthouse and arguably the best view on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Richland Balsam Trail (MP 431)
A moderate 1.5-mile alpine loop trail leads to one of the highest points on the Blue Ridge Parkway at 6,400 feet in elevation.

Waterrock Knob Trail (MP 451.2)
Similar to the Devils Courthouse Trail in length and difficulty, this 1-mile round trip leads to the top of Waterrock Knob and an excellent view.

Back to the Top | Best of the Blue Ridge Parkway

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Last updated on November 7, 2023
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