Blue Ridge Parkway | GREENSTONE OVERLOOK (MP 8.8)

View from the Greenstone Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway

View from the Greenstone Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway

View: ♦ ♦ ♦ / 5
Trails: None
Picnic Tables: None

The Greenstone Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway offers a small window of view into the valley below where you can see the southern end of the Lyndhurst / Stuart’s Draft communities. There are no picnic tables or other facilities, but there is a short nature trail, the Greenstone Trail. Neither the view nor the trail are anything special.

Panoramic view from the Greenstone Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway (click to enlarge)

Panoramic view from the Greenstone Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway (click to enlarge)


Greenstone Trail

Length: .2 mile loop
Time: 15 minutes
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

The Greenstone Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway

The Greenstone Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway

The Greenstone Trail is a short geology-oriented nature trail that attempts to educate visitors about the Catoctin Greenstone lava flow that covers over 4,000 square miles in Virginia, Maryland, and southern Pennsylvania. It is one of the largest lava flows on Earth. Look for the Greenstone Trail sign at the right side of the parking lot. There are two entrances to the trail. Take the one on the right to hike the loop in the counterclockwise direction, the direction in which the trail signs are meant to be read. You will come out on the other side when you are finished. Be aware that there is one segment where you must walk across a smooth, sloping floor of granite, and if it is wet, it is very slippery. There is no way around it.

The main reason to hike the trail is to learn about the lava flow. Unfortunately, two of the wayside exhibits are missing completely—apparently due to vandalism—and a few others are barely readable. With a nature trail, if you can’t read the signs, the hike ends up being nothing but a hike, which isn’t a bad thing if you just want some exercise. Most of the nature trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway were created decades ago and probably don’t see much traffic, so keeping up the signage is not a park priority.

Vandalized information sign along the Blue Ridge Parkway's Greenstone Trail

Vandalized information sign along the Blue Ridge Parkway’s Greenstone Trail

There are a few interesting rock formations along the way, so it’s not a complete waste of time, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to hike the Greenstone Trail.

Greenstone Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Greenstone Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway


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Last updated on November 16, 2023
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