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There’s something special about a scenic drive. You can enjoy the constantly changing views from the comfort of your vehicle and share a moment with your loved ones.
One drive we think everyone should take is along the Blue Ridge Parkway, where you can get out and enjoy the many overlooks. These stops along the parkway allow you to stop and soak in the views or enjoy a picnic.
With more than 15.7 million visitors in 2022, it’s hard to argue against this being one of the best scenic drives in the country. However, knowing where to stop to enjoy the view can be frustrating with so many people and overlooks to consider.
Today, we’ll share some of the best Blue Ridge Parkway overlooks you can stop at to enjoy the unforgettable views.
Let’s get started!
What Is the Blue Ridge Parkway?
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a 469-mile scenic highway in the eastern United States.
The purpose of the highway was to spotlight the tremendous natural beauty of the region. Construction began on the parkway in 1935 and finished in 1987.
The National Park Service manages the parkway. Its 15.7 million visitors in 2022 edge out Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s 12.9 million visitors. As a result, this makes it the most visited National Park unit in the National Park System.
The parkway is home to an unforgettable scenic drive with hiking trails, camping areas, and overlooks. Pack a picnic and explore the winding roads throughout the area.
Be sure to stop and visit some of the museums, historic homes, and craft centers along the way. You’ll gain a whole new appreciation for the history and culture of this region.
Where Does the Blue Ridge Parkway Start and End?
The Blue Ridge Parkway starts in Rockfish Gap, Virginia. It then travels 469 miles through the Appalachian Mountains and along the spine of the Blue Ridge mountain range.
It ends in Cherokee, North Carolina. Traveling the entire parkway allows drivers to visit and explore Great Smoky Mountain National Park and Shenandoah National Park.
How Many Overlooks Does the Blue Ridge Parkway Have?
There’s no excuse not to stop and enjoy the view along the Blue Ridge Parkway. You’ll find more than 200 scenic overlooks along the route.
So stop to take in the panoramic mountain views, smell the fresh air, and snap a picture or two. You’re doing yourself a disservice if you hurry during this drive.
What Is the Highest Blue Ridge Parkway Overlook?
If you want to stop at the highest Blue Ridge Parkway overlook, you’ll have to stop at milepost 431.4 in North Carolina at Richland Balsam Overlook.
This area sits 6,053 feet above sea level and is the highest point on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
From this point, visitors can enjoy the incredible panoramic views and stretch their legs on a short walking trail. The path ends as a viewing platform with some benches and interpretive signs with information about the area.
Keep in Mind: Bring your RV along and stay at one of The Highest Rated Campgrounds in North Carolina!
5 of the Best Blue Ridge Parkway Overlooks
While just about all Blue Ridge Parkway overlooks are worth stopping at, a handful stands out more than the rest. Let’s look at the five best overlooks with views you don’t want to miss.
Rockfish Valley Parking Overlook
Rockfish Valley Parking Overlook is at milepost 76.5 in Virginia. It’s near the southern end of the parkway near Shenandoah National Park.
This is a popular stop for hikers due to several nearby trails, which provide an excellent opportunity to explore the natural beauty and enjoy views of waterfalls, rock formations, and the Blue Ridge Mountains.
While some overlooks have limited parking, the Rockfish Valley Parking Overlook has plenty of parking spots.
Rock Point Overlook
Rock Point Overlook sits at milepost 10.4 at 3,115 feet of elevation. This overlook gets its name from its main feature, a colorful rock formation known as Catoctin Greenstone.
This overlook provides an expansive view of Back Creek Valley and Torrey Ridge. However, the parking lot here is relatively small. There’s only room for a handful of vehicles, so consider yourself lucky if you can snag one.
Bluff Mountain Overlook
The Bluff Mountain Overlook sits at milepost 52.8. This is after a nearly 1,000-foot drop and a quick incline up to 3,400 feet.
The view provides a look into the deep layers that make up the Blue Ridge Mountains. Additionally, you can see the town of Blowing Rock in the distance.
Several trails venture out from the parking area. Two of the most popular routes include the Tanawha Trail and Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Because of the incredible view, this is a popular stop during the fall foliage. The views are out of this world!
Grandfather Mountain Overlook
Another favorite of the Blue Ridge Parkway overlooks sits at milepost 306.6 in North Carolina. It provides an excellent opportunity to view Grandfather Mountain and the surrounding mountain ranges.
Grandfather Mountain State Park is a short drive away and a great spot to visit. You can hike, camp, and enjoy wildlife. Lookout in this neck of the woods as black bears, elk, and peregrine falcons inhabit the area.
Keep in Mind: Can You Drive an RV Over the Longest Bridges in the USA? Let’s dive in and see!
Cowee Mountains Overlook
Cowee Mountains Overlook lies at milepost 430 at 5,950 feet above sea level. It’s one of the highest points along the parkway and provides an incredible view of the Cowee Mountains.
You can also access hiking trails and explore the area’s natural beauty on the Cowee Mountain Trail and the Mountains to Sea Trail.
If you want a scenic and peaceful stop along the parkway, this is it. The stunning views and opportunities to explore the area are hard to beat. Bring a picnic or snack and enjoy the view of the Appalachian Mountains.
Enjoy the Views from America’s Favorite Drive
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a beautiful scenic route that winds through the Appalachian Mountains in Virginia and North Carolina.
You and your loved ones can experience the natural beauty of the region’s mountains, forests, and valleys.
The many overlooks along the way also make the perfect spots to pull over and take a break. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker, a nature lover, or simply looking for a scenic drive, the Blue Ridge Parkway is worth a visit.