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5 Must-Do Blue Ridge Parkway Hikes in North Carolina

Updated: Jun 23, 2023

Is there anything more freeing than the idea of driving down a scenic road with the windows down? Y'all, it makes me want to hop in the car right now just thinking about it. A fresh mountain breeze, awe-inspiring views, blasting your favorite songs ... I can't think of anything better. It makes me downright emotional.

Obviously, one of (if not the most) famous scenic drives in all of Appalachia is the Blue Ridge Parkway. Millions of people hit up this spectacular drive each year, and if you're reading this, my guess is that you're one of them. If that's the case, you're probably also interested in some of those top-tier hikes on the parkway. Fellow wanderer, I do not blame you. Let's take a look at 5 of my top must-do hikes on the Blue Ridge Parkway -- on the North Carolina side!

Sam Knob Trail

Length: 2.5 miles

Difficulty: Moderate/Hard

Sam Knob hike on the Blue Ridge Parkway

This is an absolute stunner of a trail. The Sam Knob Trail is a perfect length to get your blood pumping without being so strenuous that you want to jump off the edge of the mountain, not to be dramatic or anything. This trail has gorgeous views of the Black Balsams and is just a short drive away from some great breweries and restaurants in Brevard, NC.

Glassmine Falls Overlook to Locust Knob

Length: 1.6 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Glassmine Falls Overlook Blue Ridge Parkway

The view on this trail is just *chef's kiss*. This hike follows the Mountains to Sea Trail to a sweeping view from Locust Knob that is just glorious. If you find yourself in the Asheville, NC area, make sure to put this one on your list -- y'all can thank me later!

Devil's Courthouse Overlook Trail

Length: 0.8 miles

Difficulty: Moderate/Hard

Devils Courthouse Overlook Blue Ridge Parkway

The short path that leads from the parking area to the top of Devil's Courthouse may be short, but don't underestimate it, y'all. It is STEEP. But, the climb is worth the incredible views from the top!

One very cool thing about Devil's Courthouse is that it has been known as a nesting site for peregrine falcons. That being said, when venturing in this area, do NOT go past the retaining walls at the top! The retaining walls are there to keep pesky humans from possible nesting sites. Getting too close to these areas discourages nesting and negatively impacts these creatures. Just don't be that guy. Nobody likes that guy.

Mount Pisgah Trail

Length: 2.8 miles

Difficulty: Hard

Mount Pisgah Blue Ridge Parkway

The Mount Pisgah Trail is not for the faint of heart! Even for experienced hikers, this trek can prove to be challenging. However, hiking to the top of one of North Carolina's most iconic peaks is an experience that you just can't beat.

Waterrock Knob Trail

Length: 0.9 miles

Difficulty: Hard

Waterrock Knob Blue Ridge Parkway

Much like Devil's Courthouse, the length of this hike can be deceptive. Luckily, there was a stiff breeze the day that I hiked Waterrock Knob, so my heavy breathing was not as noticeable to my fellow hikers, or at least, that's what I'm going to keep telling myself. This trail is very clearly marked and heavily trafficked, so it's unlikely that you'll find yourself alone on this trail unless you come at like, 2 a.m. If that's your jam, there's no judgement here. Carry on, night hiker.

There are so many more hikes on the Blue Ridge Parkway, but if you're unsure where to start, this is a great list to get your exploring started!

For more photos and explorations, be sure to follow The Wandering Appalachian on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest! Be sure when you're discovering new places to practice Leave No Trace principles. Take only pictures, and leave only footprints. Happy wandering, y'all!


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