These 10 Scenic Overlooks In North Carolina Will Leave You Breathless
Fall is the perfect time to live on the edge; whether it’s standing on the tallest peak east of the Mississippi, dangling your feet off rocky outcrops, enjoying a picnic lunch just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, or perhaps, standing atop a mesmerizing, larger-than-life sand dune. Luckily, North Carolina has some seriously beautiful overlooks to take in all those quintessential Carolina views.
1. Wiseman's View, Linville Gorge
You might need a reliable four-wheel drive to reach the road up to Wiseman's (or at least, a car you feel comfortable driving on rocky terrain) but the short hike down is worth it. Two brick 'balconies' plunge you above Linville Gorge. Called 'The Grand Canyon of the East,' Wiseman's is certainly one of the best ways to get spectacular views of the Gorge.
2. Craggy Gardens
A 1.5-mile enchanting hike through twirling trees and winding rhododendron leads you to an even more stunning endpoint atop Craggy Gardens. Situated amongst some of the tallest peaks in the Blue Ridge, two separate overlooks let you sit and take it all in.
3. Mt. Mitchell
There's no disputing the views from the highest peak East of the Mississippi are going to be stunning. On a clear day, you can very well see for miles. It's also fun to experience the dramatic shift in weather once you reach the top. An easy access, circular overlook allows you to see 360-degree views at 6,683 feet. Pro tip - both Craggy Gardens and Mt. Mitchell are within a short distance, double up and do both in one day!
4. Richland Balsam
While Mount Mitchell might be the tallest in the Appalachians, Richland Balsam is the highest point on the Blue Ridge Parkway at 6,053 feet. You'll find it at milepost 431.
5. Jockey's Ridge
Standing atop the highest active sand dune on the East Coast is certainly different than standing on top of a mountain - yet that's what makes this experience so unique. From daredevils hang-gliding past to uninterrupted ocean views - it's a mini taste of the Sahara next to the water.
6. Hanging Rock State Park
It's safe to say the views on top of Hanging Rock State Park are stomach dropping to say the least. There's no protective barriers from you and the drop off, so of course it's best to exercise a little caution...but standing on the edge will make you feel fearless.
7. Linn Cove Viaduct
This engineering marvel curves drivers against the side of Grandfather Mountain. Shortly after the bridge you'll encounter a parking area where you can walk to witness the above view of Linn Cove Viaduct. Enjoy the view and hey, there's no shame in driving across Linn Cove as many times as you'd like.
8. Cherohala Skyway
This entire drive is a scenic experience in and of itself, but some must-stop by destinations include Little Huckleberry Knob, Hooper’s Bald, Laurel Top and John’s Knob -- which are also some of the oldest mountains in the Appalachian range. Of course, when you start your journey outside of Robbinsville, take time to stop at the overlook above Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest.
9. Cowee Mountains Overlook
If you're looking for 'the' spot to catch a stunning sunset on the Blue Ridge Parkway, some of the best sunsets you'll ever see are at Cowee Mountains Overlook located at milepost 430.
10. Roan Mountain
Not just one mountain, but a small chain called a 'massif' Roan Mountain offers stunning vistas while standing in wide-open fields on the mountaintop. The best way to experience Roan Mountain is hiking along the Appalachian Trail while here.
That’s sure a lot of beauty for one small list! Where are some of your favorite overlooks in North Carolina?
It seems the word is out – these are the
15 best-kept secrets of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
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