Day 154: Peaking On The Blue Ridge Parkway


time of year

Soco Falls, Maggie Valley, NC. This one is right off the road with a slightly treacherous decent. Cool double waterfall, overcrowded.



Waterrock Knob Trail (1 mile total out and back, 426’ elevation). This trail starts at the highest visitor’s center on the Blue Ridge Parkway at 5830’ above sea level. Waterrock Knob is the highest peak in the Plott Balsams range and is the 16th-highest mountain in the Eastern United States. The trail up is partly paved, partly rock and dirt, with gorgeous wildflowers the whole way up. The views from the top are outstanding.


difficulty: 4

This part of the parkway has wildflowers blooming everywhere, it’s absolutely beautiful. It’s one of our favorite sections of the parkway with stunning views, and a unique, high elevation ecosystem.

Richland Balsam Mountain Nature Loop to the Summit. (1.5 mile loop, 383’ elevation). This hidden gem is one of the highest elevations trails on the Parkway at over 6,000’. It passes through moss covered spruce-fir forest along a ridge to the summit of highest of the Great Balsam Mountains.

How about this spot for a picnic? Right next to the trailhead for Richland Balsam Loop.


difficulty: 2

We stopped at several overlooks to watch the clouds and appreciate the incredible natural beauty of this area.

Castlewood Inn. Maggie Valley, NC. The towels are old and the internet can be spotty but otherwise it’s very comfortable and in a great location.

Price: $170/2 nights


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