Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway is America’s longest linear park, stretching from Virginia to North Carolina for 469 miles. The parkways southern end is close by Maggie Valley which terminates at Hwy. 441 in Cherokee. The road meanders down the highest ridges and mountain gaps, with 25 tunnels in North Carolina alone.
Here are a few local highlights on the Parkway:
- Mile Marker 422.4 An easy climb to the top of Devil’s Courthouse, a rugged exposed mountaintop.
- Mile Marker 423.5 Herrin Knob Overlook. A hiking trail goes around Tanasee Bald and Herrin Knob.
- Mile Marker 431 Richland Balsam is the highest point on the parkway at 6,053 feet. There is a trail that passes through a spruce-fir forest at this high elevation.
- Mile Marker 435.7 Licklog Ridge once hosted cattlemen and their herds of cattle before it became part of the national forest. The area earns its name from the cattlemen who would place rocks of salt into logs and holes in the earth.
- Mile Marker 451.2 Waterrock Knob provides a panorama of the Great Smokies, visitor center, trail, comfort station, exhibits are located here. A really great place to watch sunsets and picnic.
- Mile Marker 458.2 Heintooga Ridge Road runs north from the Parkway 8.8 miles to Heintooga Overlook in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. From there you can return the same road or take the 22-mile one-way gravel road to Cherokee. A great mountain bike ride almost all downhill.