View from Bear Den Overlook at Mile Post 323 on the Blue Ridge Parkway

View from Bear Den Overlook at Mile Post 323 on the Blue Ridge Parkway

There are around 280 pullouts along the Blue Ridge Parkway, many of which are designed to offer travelers a scenic view. Unfortunately, over the years trees, brush, and other vegetation have grown up and blocked many of the views, which frustrates visitors who stop at overlook after overlook just to be confronted by forest or vistas that can only be seen through gaps in the overgrowth. By my count there are no more than 54 scenic overlooks worth stopping at today.

The good news is that you don’t need hundreds of overlooks with a view, you just need to know where the good ones are. After a dozen or so you’ll start burning out on them anyway. I have photographed every overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway and have complied a list of the very best, complete with links to the overlook’s web page so that you can see photos and find out what else there is to do at the stop (picnic tables, trails, historic sites).

Unfortunately, finding a particular overlook isn’t as easy as it sounds. The problem is that signs along the Blue Ridge Parkway only indicate that an overlook is coming up. The name of the overlook is not given. Therefore, you must know the overlook’s mile post number and keep track of the mile posts as you drive. 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.

All viewing areas are from the parking lot unless noted. Stops are ranked based on mile posts, not on scenic beauty.

  1. Rockfish Valley View (MP 1.5)
  2. Humpback Gap Overlook (MP 6)
    2-mile round-trip on a strenuous trail to the viewing area
  3. Ravens Roost Overlook (MP 10.7)
  4. James River Visitor Center (MP 63.6)
    Nice view of James River along short, easy walk from the Visitor Cente
  5. Thunder Ridge Parking Area (MP 74.7)
    .2-mile easy loop trail to viewing area
  6. Arnold Valley View (MP 75.2)
  7. Purgatory Mountain View (MP 92.1)
  8. Sharp Top Mountain View (MP 92.5)
  9. Pine Tree Overlook (MP 95.2)
  10. Montvale View (MP 95.4)
  11. Taylor Mountain View (MP 97)
  12. Great Valley Overlook (MP 99.6)
  13. Roanoke River Overlook (MP 114.9)
    No view from overlook, but walk down the Blue Ridge Parkway for great view of the river
  14. Roanoke Mountain Loop Road (MP 120.3)
    Side road closed to vehicle traffic. Two mile walk or bike ride to the top.
  15. Roanoke Vally Overlook (MP 129.6)
  16. Devils Backbone View (MP 143.9)
  17. Pine Spur Overlook (MP 144.8)
  18. The Saddle Overlook (MP 168)
  19. Rock Castle Gorge Overlook (MP 168.8)
  20. Twelve O’Clock Knob Overlook (MP 169.1)
    Good views from the parking lot, but an even better view ten minutes down the Rock Castle Gorge Trail
  21. High Piney Spur (MP 218.6)
    Short walk to an observation deck
  22. Air Bellows Overlook (MP 236.9)
  23. Alligator Back Overlook (MP 242.4)
    Good view from observation deck, but the best view is from The Bluffs, which is reached via a .8-mile round trip, moderately strenuous hike
  24. Osborne Mountain View (MP 277.9)
  25. Yadkin Valley Overlook (MP 289.9)
  26. Thunder Hill Overlook (MP 290.4)
  27. Moses Cone Memorial Park (MP 294)
    View from front porch of Cone Mansion
  28. Price Lake Overlook (MP 296.7)
    View from parking area or hike around the lake on an easy 2.3-mile loop trail
  29. Yonahlossee Overlook (MP 303.9)
    Short walk to a good view of the Linn Cove Viaduct
  30. Beacon Heights Parking Area (MP 305.2)
    Moderate half-mile loop trail to viewing area
  31. Flat Rock Parking Overlook (MP 308.3)
    Great views via a .6-mile loop hike, easy to moderate in difficulty
  32. Bear Den Overlook (MP 323)
  33. North Cove View (MP 327.3)
  34. Three Knob Overlook (MP 338.8)
  35. Bald Knob Parking Area (MP 352.4)
  36. Craggy Dome View (MP 364.2)
    Craggy Pinnacle Trail is the draw here, not the view from the parking lot
  37. Tanbark Ridge Overlook (MP 376.7)
  38. Big Ridge Overlook (MP 403.6)
  39. Mills River Valley Overlook (MP 404.5)
  40. Funnel Top Overlook (MP 409.3)
  41. Pounding Mill Overlook (MP 413.2)
  42. Looking Glass Rock View (MP 417)
  43. East Fork Overlook (MP 418.3)
  44. Graveyard Fields (MP 418.8)
    Hike to waterfalls
  45. Devils Courthouse View (MP 422.4)
    1 mile round trip hike up a steep mountain to the viewing area
  46. Caney Fork Overlook (MP 428)
  47. Beartrail Ridge Overlook (MP 430.4)
  48. Cowee Mountain Overlook (MP 430.7)
  49. Doubletop Mountain View (MP 435.3)
  50. Grassy Ridge Mine Overlook (MP 436.8)
  51. Fork Ridge Overlook (MP 449)
  52. Waterrock Knob Overlook (MP 451.2)
    Great views from the parking lot, but better view along strenuous 1-mile round-trip trail
  53. Woolyback Overlook (MP 452.3)
  54. Thunder Struck Ridge (MP 454.4)

Back to the Top | Best of the Blue Ridge Parkway

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Last updated on January 30, 2024
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