Day 151: Hiking Away From the Blue Ridge Parkway


time of year

We recently spent 4 days in the Shenandoah National Park and today we’re traveling on the Blue Ridge Parkway. While very similar in many ways, they’re also quite different from each other. Shenandoah had wildflowers all along the road and on every hike we did. The Blue Ridge Parkway has mowed grass along the roadside and we saw fewer flowers on trail as well. That said, the Blue Ridge Parkway is where we first discovered our love of hiking and mountains and will always be a favorite place to explore.

Big Lost Cove Cliffs, Newland, NC. (3.4 miles total out and back, 670’ elevation). This one goes up both ways! A beautiful hike with plenty of gentle breaks between efforts. The view at the cliffs is spectacular, encompassing the uninhabited valley below and Grandfather Mountain.


difficulty: 3.5

North Harper Creek Falls, Newland, NC. (2.4 miles total out and back, 400’ elevation). Fairly level until the falls which felt pretty vertical. Super cool water slide waterfall with rock pools and a view out to the mountain across. We went to the top and then down to the lower falls area.


difficulty: 3

Check into Mountainaire Inn, Blowing Rock, NC. Expensive for us but we really wanted to be in Blowing Rock for these days.

Price: $387/2 nights


Blowing Rock Horse Show, Blowing Rock, NC. This horse show has been held on this property for 100 years, uninterrupted by recessions, depressions, foul weather, or even World War II. The show is bigger and better than ever with some of the best horses on the East Coast competing for top honors. It’s definitely worth coming to walk around the show grounds even if you aren’t interested in the horses. There’s food, fancy shopping and Lamborghini’s parked by the show ring.


We came back to the hotel to park and walked to town for Kilwin’s ice cream to eat in the park. This has become a favorite tradition for us when we visit Blowing Rock.


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