The Parkway is full of expansive views, cultural waypoints, and natural wonders. Once you’ve reviewed our guide, hit the road and check out this list of the highlights.
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1. Humpback Rocks (MP 5.9) Take an easy walk through a restored 1890s farmstead, then walk a mile to the cliffs with views of Rockfish and Shenandoah Valleys.
2. White Rock Falls Trail (MP 18.5) A mile walk leads you to a creek with swimming holes and eventually a 35-foot waterfall.
3. Otter Creek Campground (MP 60.8) A great place to rest and camp. There’s also a restaurant and Otter Lake, which offers fishing.
4. James River (MP 64) The low point on the Parkway (650 feet), the river also marks the beginning of the longest sustained climb on the Parkway.
5. Apple Orchard Mountain (MP 76.5) This is Virginia’s Parkway high point at 3,950 feet, offering stellar views.
6. Sunset Field Overlook (MP 78.4) Take a 1.2-mile trail to Apple Orchard Falls, a 200-foot cascade.
7. Peaks of Otter (MP 85.9) Peaks of Otter features Abbott Lake with three dramatic peaks as a backdrop. There’s also a spiffy lodge, restaurant, and a historic farm.
8. Roanoke Valley Overlook (MP 129.6) Pull over for a big view of Roanoke, the largest city adjacent to the Parkway.
9. Floyd, Va. (MP 160.9) Take Va. 615 for a trip to this mountain town.
10. Mabry Mill (MP 176.1) The restored mill highlights rural life in Appalachia (there’s even a whiskey still) while also serving pancakes that cyclists rave about.
11. Meadows of Dan (MP 177.7) A mountain community sitting on the Parkway, MOD is part of the Crooked Road music trail, and has its own fudge factory.
12. Groundhog Mountain Overlook (MP 188.8) The 360-degree view from this observation tower is one of the best on the entire Parkway.
13. Blue Ridge Music Center (MP 213) This brand new outdoor stage hosts regular old-time and bluegrass concerts.
14. State Line (MP 216.9) Welcome to North Carolina.
15. Doughton Park (MP 238) 5,000 acres of public land, 30 miles of hiking trails, camping, and restored historic mountain cabins.
16. Mountain Music Jamboree (MP 261) Friday and Saturday nights, this hall has live music and square dancing.
17. Blowing Rock (MP 291) Bike shop, cafes, B&Bs, wine…everything you need just off the Parkway in this picturesque, small mountain town.
18. Linn Cove Viaduct (MP 304.4) Hanging on the flanks of Grandfather Mountain, this is one of the most beautiful and expensive bridges in the country.
19. Grandfather Mountain (MP 305) Take US 221 south of the Parkway to hike this gnarly knob. Hiking the mile-high bridge is a must.
20. Linville Falls (MP 316.3) An easy trail leads to an overlook of this dramatic waterfall that marks the beginning of the even more dramatic Linville Gorge.
21. Orchard at Altapass (MP 330) This century-old apple orchard has evolved into an Appalachian Cultural Center with live music and storytelling. The ice cream is good too.
22. Little Switzerland (MP 334) If you’re looking to splurge, consider a night in the Switzerland Inn, the swankiest digs on the Parkway, and the epicenter of this tiny town.
23. Crabtree Falls (MP 339.5) A two-mile loop takes you to this 70-footer just beyond a cozy campground.
24. Mount Mitchell State Park (MP 355.4) Take the spur road five miles to the top of Mount Mitchell (6,684 feet). It’s a burly climb, but you’ll have ridden to the highest mountain east of the Mississippi. Camping and a restaurant too.
25. Craggy Gardens (MP 364.4) Catch the blooming rhodo in June at the gardens, or hike 1.5-miles roundtrip and enjoy the view all season long from the Craggy Pinnacle, elevation 5,892 feet.
26. Southern Highland Folk Art Center (MP 382) A showcase of traditional and contemporary crafts associated with the Southern Appalachians.
27. Asheville (MP 388.5) Take US 25 into Asheville (see Side Show).
28. Pisgah Inn (MP 408.6) The lodge sits on the edge of Mount Pisgah. Crash for the night, hike to Mount Pisgah, or grab some grub and enjoy the view.
29. Looking Glass Rock Overlook (MP 417) This view of the 3,969-foot granite monolith is one of the most picturesque along the Parkway.
30. Graveyard Fields (MP 418.8) Camping, swimming holes, waterfalls, berry-picking, hiking—this high-elevation valley is a destination all on its own.
31. Richland Balsam Overlook (MP 431.4) At 6,053 feet, this is the high point on the Parkway, with the expansive view to prove it.
32. Waterrock Knob (MP 451.2) Take the 1.2-mile round trip hike to the top of the Southern Sixer for a panorama of the Smokies. At the visitor’s center, you’ve also completed the steepest climb on the Parkway.
33. Parkway Terminus (MP 469.1) This is the end of your trip. Check out the Museum of the Cherokee Indian nearby.