The Best Blue Ridge Parkway Overlooks for Unforgettable Views

Last Updated on April 21, 2023 by Jess

There’s something special about a drive through the countryside. You can enjoy the ever-changing views from the comfort of your vehicle and share a moment with your loved ones.

One drive that we think everyone should take is along the Blue Ridge Parkway, where you can get out and enjoy the many viewpoints. At these stops along the Parkway, you can stop and enjoy the view or have a picnic.

With more than 15.7 million visitors in 2022, it’s hard to deny that this is one of the most beautiful scenic roads in the country. Knowing where to stop to enjoy the view can be frustrating, however, as there are so many people and viewpoints to consider.

Today, we’ll introduce you to some of the best Blue Ridge Parkway viewpoints where you can stop to take in 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 highlight the tremendous natural beauty of the region. Construction of the Parkway began in 1935 and was completed in 1987.

The National Park Service manages the parkway. With 15.7 million visitors in 2022, it surpasses the 12.9 million visitors to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This makes the Parkway the most visited national park in the entire National Park System.

The Parkway is home to an unforgettable scenic drive with hiking trails, campgrounds, and overlooks. Pack a picnic and explore the winding roads in this 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 begin and end?

The Blue Ridge Parkway begins in Rockfish Gap, Virginia. It then runs 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 riders 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 views along the Blue Ridge Parkway. There are more than 200 viewpoints along the way.

So stop to take in the panoramic mountain views, get a breath of fresh air, and snap a photo or two. You’ll be doing yourself a disservice if you hurry on this ride.

What is the highest overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway?

If you want to stop at the highest overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway, you must stop at milepost 431.4 in North Carolina at the Richland Balsam Overlook.

This area is 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 hiking trail. The trail ends at an observation deck with some benches and signs with information about the area.

Please note: Bring your RV and stay at one of the best rated campgrounds in North Carolina!

View of an overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway

5 of the best Blue Ridge Parkway lookout points

Almost all of the Blue Ridge Parkway’s viewpoints are worth driving to, but a handful clearly stand out from the rest. Let’s take a look at the five best viewpoints you won’t want to miss.

Rockfish Valley Parking Lot Overlook

The Rockfish Valley Parking Overlook is located at milepost 76.5 in Virginia. It is located near the southern end of the Parkway near Shenandoah National Park.

This is a popular stopping point for hikers, as there are several trails nearby that 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, there is ample parking at the Rockfish Valley Parking Overlook.

Rock Point Lookout

The Rock Point Overlook is located at milepost 10.4 at an elevation of 3,115 feet. This overlook takes its name from its main feature, a colorful rock formation known as Catoctin Greenstone.

From this overlook, there are sweeping views of Back Creek Valley and Torrey Ridge. However, the parking area here is relatively small. There is only room for a handful of vehicles, so consider yourself lucky if you can snag one.

Bluff Mountain Viewpoint

The Bluff Mountain Overlook is located at milepost 52.8. This is after a nearly 1,000-foot drop and a rapid climb up to 3,400 feet.

The overlook offers a view into the deep strata that make up the Blue Ridge Mountains. In addition, the town of Blowing Rock can be seen in the distance.

Several hiking trails lead out from the parking lot. Two of the most popular routes are the Tanawha Trail and the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Because of the incredible views, this is a popular stop during fall foliage. The view is out of this world!

Grandfather Mountain Viewpoint

Another popular overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway is located 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 place to visit. Here you can hike, camp, and view wildlife. Look for black bears, elk, and peregrine falcons living in this part of the forest.

Please note: Can you drive a motorhome across the longest bridges in the U.S.? Let’s dive in and see!

Cowee Mountains Viewpoint

The Cowee Mountains Overlook is located at milepost 430 at 5,950 feet above sea level. It is one of the highest points along the parkway and offers incredible views of the Cowee Mountains.

You can also take advantage of hiking trails on the Cowee Mountain Trail and the Mountains to Sea Trail to explore the natural beauty of the area.

If you’re looking for a scenic and peaceful stop along the Parkway, this is the place to be. The breathtaking views and opportunities to explore the area are hard to beat. Bring a picnic or snack and enjoy the views of the Appalachian Mountains.

View of an overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Enjoy the view from America’s most popular highway

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a beautiful scenic road that winds through the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia and North Carolina.

You and your loved ones can experience the natural beauty of the region’s mountains, forests and valleys.

The many viewpoints along the way are also great places to take a break. Whether you’re an experienced hiker, a nature lover or just looking for a scenic drive, the Blue Ridge Parkway is definitely worth a visit.

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