Top 10 Breathtaking Overlooks in the Blue Ridge Mountains
The Blue Ridge Mountains are a beautiful sight to behold, with steep slopes and picturesque valleys. There are many overlooks with views that go on for miles and provide an excellent opportunity to take in the natural beauty of the mountains.
The Blue Ridge Mountains have formed a splendid connection between two of America’s most renowned national parks – Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.
The natural beauty of the mountains and the views they offer is something that everyone should experience at least once in their lives. These areas offer sweeping vistas that are sure to leave an impression on anyone who sees them.
Amazing Scenic Overlooks in the Blue Ridge Mountains
This list of 25 overlooks is a good starting point for finding overlooks with spectacular views. Some are located along the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is nicknamed America’s Favorite Drive for good reason! Others are located in North Georgia and require a bit of hiking to reach the overlook. There are many more than just these 25, but at least these offer stunning views to enjoy while on the trail.
1) Mount Mitchell
If you want to see the highest peak along the Blue Ridge Parkway, head to Mount Mitchell. At 6,684 ft elevation, you can see for miles. The summit is easily accessible, making it an excellent spot to explore. It’s also free to enjoy for everyone, making it a great place to spend a day hiking or exploring.
Location: Mount Mitchell Summit Trail, Burnsville, NC 28714
Related: 15 Amazing Blue Ridge Sunrise Spots with Mountain Views
2) Grandfather Mountain
Grandfather Mountain is one of the highest peaks in the Blue Ridge Mountains, located 70 miles from Asheville. The peak offers rugged terrain and dramatic vistas from its rocky summit. If you are planning on hiking, wear proper hiking shoes because the terrain is very rocky.
Grandfather Mountain is open daily for visitors, except on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Admission for adults (ages 13-59) is $22, seniors $18, and children (ages 4-12) are $9 each. Children under the age of four are always free to visit Grandfather Mountain. Tickets can be purchased at the gate.
Location: 9872 Highway 105 South, Banner Elk, NC 28604
3) Waterrock Knob
Waterrock Knob is a mountain located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, and it offers some of the most stunning views. The visitor center is located at almost 6,000 feet, and from there you can see views of several major mountain chains including the Allegheny Mountains, Shenandoah Valley, and Appalachian Trail.
Location: Waterrock Knob Visitor Center, Rd to Waterrock Knob, Sylva, NC 2877
4) The Devil’s Courthouse
The Devil’s Courthouse is located at milepost 422.4 of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The paved trail starts from the overlook parking lot beside the mountain, providing a strenuous but short hike to its peak with fantastic panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.
Location: MP 422.4, North Carolina 28708
5) Ravens Roost Overlook
The Ravens Roost Overlook is located in Lyndhurst, Virginia. It offers breathtaking views of the Shenandoah Valley and Torrey Ridge. If you’re driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia, this overlook is a must-see. It has a beautiful view and you may be able to catch people hang gliding off the top!
Location: MP 10.7, Blue Ridge Pkwy, Lyndhurst, VA 22952
Related: Not sure what to bring? Here is my packing list for hiking!
6) Rough Ridge Overlook
If you’re looking for a short hike with a big payoff, Rough Ridge Overlook is the place to go. This overlook located in Linville, North Carolina provides outstanding views of the Linn Cove Viaduct, Grandfather Mountain, and forested hills.
Location: 3218 Blue Ridge Pkwy, Linville, NC 28646
7) Thunder Ridge Overlook
Thunder Ridge is a great spot to take a break when traveling on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The trail loops around the parking lot at Milepost 74.7. It is a short walk that takes about 10 minutes to complete.
There is a stone observation deck that offers views of Arnold Valley, named after the man who first settled the area around 1750. The deck provides an excellent vantage point to view the valley and its surrounding countryside.
Location: MP 74.7, Bedford, Virginia 24579
8) Graveyard Fields
Some of the waterfalls in this area are worth exploring if you’re interested in nature. It’s not difficult to find trails, and the scenery is lovely. The Yellowstone Prong is the main water source for two waterfalls in a mile-high valley filled with wildflowers. The valley is surrounded by the 6,000-ft. peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Location: MP 418.8, Graveyard Fields, Canton, NC 28716
Related: Top 10 Easy Hiking Trails in Gatlinburg
9) Rockfish Valley Overlook
The overlook offers a great spot to pull over with plenty of room for personal vehicles, travel trailers, and RVs. There is no need to hike or even leave your car to see the mountains here.
Location: MP 1.5, Blue Ridge Pkwy, Afton, VA 22920
10) Cowee Mountain Overlook
The views at Cowee Mountain Overlook extend over 180 degrees and the mountain ridges stretch on for miles westward. The lookout is one of the most scenic areas on the parkway, and it is also one of the highest elevations.
Location: Blue Ridge Pkwy, Canton, NC 28716
11) Rockfish Valley Overlook
Almost as soon as the tour begins, visitors are greeted with a beautiful view of Rockfish Valley. The panoramic vista at the overlook offers an impressive view of the valley, which is between two mountain ranges.
Location: Blue Ridge Pkwy, Afton, VA 22920
12) Craggy Gardens
To get to Craggy Gardens, it’s actually a short drive up the mountain from Ashville. The drive up to the top is scenic with great views of the mountains. It’s a bit of a steep trail, so bring some decent hiking shoes. The visitor center has a gift shop and restrooms, so it’s also a convenient stop if you’re driving along the parkway. You can also stop and have lunch at a picnic table and enjoy the nature around you!
Location: 364 Blue Ridge Pkwy, Black Mountain, NC 28711
13) Craggy Pinnacle
The short hike to the top of Craggy Pinnacle offers stunning rewards. It’s only a 1.4-mile roundtrip hike, so reaching the summit is straightforward. The views from the top are amazing, and you’ll be able to see 360 degrees of views of the surrounding mountains.
Location: Craggy Pinnacle Trail, 3641 Blue Ridge Pkwy, Barnardsville, NC 28709
14) Woolyback Overlook
The beauty of Blue Ridge Parkway can be seen at Woolyback Overlook. It’s located in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. The view from the overlook is not the widest you will get on the Blue Ridge Parkway, but it is a magical sight to see the misty mountains in the distance.
Location: Blue Ridge Pkwy, Maggie Valley, NC 28751
15) Black Balsam Knob
If you’re looking to take in some incredible views of the surrounding countryside while enjoying a challenging hike, hiking the Art Loeb Trail to the summit of Black Balsam Knob is a great option. The trail is relatively short and easy enough for most people, but it does gain quite a bit of elevation.
Location: Art Loeb & Black Balsam Knob Trailhead, Black Balsam Knob Rd, Canton, NC 28716
16) Chimney Rock Mountain Overlook
Chimney Rock Mountain Overlook provides a great view of the Hazey Mountains, as well as a wide range of vegetation at Chimney Rock Mountain. The overlook is located over 2,400 feet up, giving you an excellent perspective on the valleys below.
Location: MP 44.9, Blue Ridge Pkwy, Buena Vista, VA 24416
17) Mills River Valley Overlook
The scenic overlook provides a clear view of the valleys on either side. It is a popular spot for sunrise and sunset, and hikers can choose to continue walking along the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, which stretches as far in either direction as possible.
Location: Mills River Valley Overlook, Blue Ridge Pkwy, Candler, NC 28715
18) Pickens Nose
Pickens Nose, a prominent mountain peak in the Standing Indian Basin of North Carolina, stands out prominently against the surrounding valleys. The mountain has multiple overlooks that provide excellent views of the Southern Nantahala Wilderness and other surrounding areas.
The trail quickly gains elevation over a wide rocky path before leveling out after a quarter-mile. Look for the narrow side trail on the left that leads to an open rock outcropping with a spectacular view of the surrounding area.
Location: Pickens Nose Trailhead, Ball Creek Rd, Otto, NC 28763
19) Richland Balsam Overlook
At 6,053’ above sea level, the Richland Balsam Overlook is the highest point on the Blue Ridge Parkway. There is a large sign on the side of the road announcing the point of interest that makes a perfect backdrop for a portrait or selfie.
The overlook itself doesn’t offer a spectacular view, with trees blocking much of the panorama, but it’s still nice enough to wander around for a moment to enjoy the overlook.
Location: Blue Ridge Pkwy, Canton, NC 28716
20) Cowee Mountain Overlook
The Cowee Mountain Overlook is my favorite Blue Ridge Parkway overlook. The extended parking lot offers endless opportunities for panoramic views of the mountains. To the right, the Great Smoky Mountains rise on the horizon. To the left, the mountains of northern Georgia. It’s my favorite place to capture summer sunset photos because of the uninterrupted view and utter peacefulness.
The parking lot at this overlook is just about the largest on the Parkway with plenty of room for all kinds of vehicles.
21) Brasstown Bald
The Brasstown Bald Visitors Center sits atop Georgia’s highest mountain, 4,784 feet above sea level. It offers a panoramic view of the surrounding area and provides information about the mountain and its ecology. Visitors can see Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina on a clear day from the center.
Location: Brasstown Bald Visitors Center, 2941 GA-180 Spur, Hiawassee, GA 30546
22) Blood Mountain Overlook
The hike to the overlook is not an easy one, but it’s definitely worth it once you reach the overlook. The view is stunning and the breeze is refreshing, making it a perfect place to take in a few minutes of peace and quiet.
Location: Appalachian National Scenic Trail, Blairsville, GA 30512
23) Popcorn Overlook
Popcorn Overlook offers scenic views of the North Georgia and North Carolina mountains year-round. There are a few picnic tables available for use here, so you can pack a lunch and take in the views for a while.
Location: Hiawassee Clayton Hwy, Clayton, GA 30525
24) Preacher’s Rock
This well-known hiking trail is one of the more popular hikes in north Georgia, and its relatively short length makes it an ideal choice for a scenic day trip. The beautiful overlook is fun to visit at any time of year, but they’re especially stunning during autumn when the trees change color and in springtime when the flowers are blooming. This easy hike is perfect for anyone looking to take a beautiful break from their busy day.
Location: Preacher’s Rock Trailhead, Cleveland, GA 30528
25) Bell Mountain
The observation deck erected by the county was named in honor of Hal Herrin, and it offers views of the surrounding lake and mountains. In addition, a second platform was built to provide even more stunning views.
Location: 1925 Old 41 Hwy NW, Kennesaw, GA 30152
The Blue Ridge Mountains offer some of the most stunning overlooks in all of America. Spanning from Virginia to Georgia, these mountains offer visitors a chance to see some of the most breathtaking views in the country. From lofty mountaintops to valley floors, there are many wonderful places to take in a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
If you’re looking for a scenic drive or an opportunity to take in some amazing scenery, make sure to check out some of these amazing viewpoints!