Linn Cove Viaduct/ Shutterstock Image

Linn Cove Viaduct/ Shutterstock Image

List of Blue Ridge Parkway Overlooks from VA to NC


In order to understand this guide, there are a few things that we need to let you know. 

What are the important features of Blue Ridge?

autumn trees beside the roadShutterstock Image

The Blue Ridge Parkway features over 200 scenic overlooks showcasing the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

These roadside pull-offs were designed as a work of art to reveal the charm of the American countryside as well as the most spectacular views of the Southern Appalachian mountains and valleys. 

During the construction of the 469-mile parkway, the mountain folk referred to the overlooks as “balconies.” Their perceptive description fits perfectly.

All along the scenic drive, these mountain balconies beckon riders to stop for a while and enjoy the views. They’re one of the features that make the Blue Ridge Parkway “America’s Favorite Drive.”

Scenic Overlooks in Blue Ridge Parkway by Region:

What is an overlook?

An overlook is an elevated space that allows visitors a spectacular view of natural scenery, man-made objects, or a combination of both.

They are also known as observation points, viewpoints, lookouts, and scenic viewpoints. Along the Parkway, there are over two hundred! 

What is a milepost? 

Mileposts (abbreviated MP) are how the Blue Ridge Parkway is organized. They run from MP 0 near Waynesboro Virginia all the way down to MP 469 near Cherokee, North Carolina.

In order to find the overlooks, we will be referring to them with the correct mileposts. 

How do I get to these Overlooks?

While there are several that you can hike to or from, this guide is based on driving the Blue Ridge Parkway. The overlooks will either be on your left-hand side or your right as you go. Each has a parking area.

They vary in size based on the popularity of the site. A popular overlook will typically have a bigger parking lot. 

Overlooks in Virginia from Waynesboro to Roanoke

blue ridge parkway virginia tour stops map

1. Afton Overlook (MP 0.2)

mountain overviewShutterstock Image

The northernmost overlook, just before MP 0. This is a great overlook for either starting or ending your day on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  

2. Raven’s Roost Overlook (MP 10.7)

Overview of a ValleyImage from Flickr by 

As the name suggests, this popular overlook is a great place to see ravens! 

A roost is a place where the birds will gather to rest overnight, so the later in the day you get there, the more likely you are to see them perched. It is also not uncommon for people to see Turkey Vultures from this overlook...

3. 20 Minute Cliff Overlook (MP 19)

mountain overlookImage from Flickr by 

Strange name, isn’t it? Twenty-minute Cliff is named because it can be used to tell the time in the summer. Farmers in the White Rock Valley below this overlook know that once the sun hits this cliff, there are twenty minutes left until sunset. 

4. Big Spy Mountain Overlook (MP 26.4)

There are two short walks available at this overlook, each about ten minutes. It makes for a great leg-stretcher, with an impressive view of Big Spy Mountain, which you can see if you face the road from the top of the hill. 

5. Irish Creek Valley Overlook (MP 42.2)

view of a valley on a cloudy dayImage from Flickr by 

A panoramic view of the Irish Creek Valley greets visitors at this overlook, named for the countless Irish immigrants who passed through this area. 

6. Chimney Rock Mountain Overlook (MP 44.9)

overlook of city and forestsShutterstock Image

You get two views for the price of one here at Chimney Rock Mountain Overlook. There is a large group of trees in the middle of the panorama, which gives viewers two options for pictures of the valley below. 

7. Thunder Ridge Overlook (MP 74)

overlook of green mountainsImage from Flickr by 

An uninterrupted panoramic view greets you here at Thunder Ridge Overlook, one of the most popular stops on the Parkway. There’s a pedestal for you to stand on that makes it easy to get views of the Arnold Valley below.

Additionally, there are two trails located at this Overlook. One is a short ten-minute leg stretcher, the other is an intersection with the  Appalachian Trail. 

8. Apple Orchard Mountain Overview (MP 76.5)

Despite the name, you won’t find any apples here in this overview! It turns out the name comes from how the trees here look like a gnarled old apple orchard.

On the other hand, this is the highest overlook on the Parkway in Virginia. On a clear day, you can see nearly 4000 feet down to the valley below!

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9. Pine Tree Overlook (MP 95.2)

valley overlookImage from Flickr by 

A beautiful 180-degree panorama of the valley below, broken only by a single pine tree in the middle. Is this the tree that gave this overlook its name? We’re not sure, but it makes for great pictures!

10. Montvale Overlook (MP 95.9)

This overlook gives a sweeping view of Goose Creek Valley. Off in the distance, you can see the small town of Montvale, VA.

Additionally, there are access points to two strenuous trails here: Spec Mine trail which is 5.6 miles out and back, as well as an entrance to the Appalachian Trail.

11. Great Valley Overlook (MP 99.6)

You might say that the view from this overlook is pretty… great! From here, you can see a section of the great valley, which runs from New York State down to Alabama.

The two mountain ranges that border the valley are Alleghenies to the west and, of course, the Blue Ridge mountains to the east. 

12. The Quarry Overlook (MP 100.9)

overview of mountain on a clear skyImage from Flickr by 

This is the only overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway that shows you a real, working Dolomite quarry. It produces millions of tons of the mineral, which is primarily used for building materials. 

Scenic Overlooks from Blowing Rock to Asheville

blue ridge parkway asheville tour stops map

Between Blowing Rock and Asheville, the Blue Ridge Parkway offers some of the most stunning views of the Southern Appalachian Mountains and nearby countryside. Here are ten of the most scenic overlooks along this stretch of the parkway:

13. Price Lake Overlook (MP 296.7)

lake overviewImage by Robin Montgomery

This overlook features a view of beautiful Price Lake, the only lake along this section of the parkway and a popular destination for kayaking. A nature trail that circles the shoreline can be accessed from the overlook.

14. Rough Ridge Lookout (MP 302.8)

mountains overviewImage by Robin Montgomery

Rough Ridge Lookout on the Tanawha Trail is a popular place to view fall colors. It’s a ? mile uphill hike to reach the beginning of the wooden boardwalk where the views begin.

Stairs and platforms offer multiple viewpoints including a view of the entire Linn Cove Viaduct and Grandfather Mountain. On a clear day, the towns of Hickory and Lenoir, and Charlotte can be seen in the distance.

The trail includes several large boulders that make great spots to sit and soak in the breathtaking views.

15. Beacon Heights (MP 305.2)

Beacon Heights by Patrick MuellerImage from Flickr by 

Beacon Heights Overlook offers spectacular views from large rock outcrops. The overlook requires a short, one-mile round-trip hike and shares the trail with the Tanawha Trail and the Mountains to Sea Trail. Bring along a picnic for an incredible outdoor dining experience. 

16. Flat Rock Overlook (MP 308.3)

forest with signboardImage by Robin Montgomery

Less crowded than other trails, Flat Rock Trail is one of the parkway's hidden gems. This short, easy 6-mile loop trail offers views of interesting trees, plants, and fascinating geological features called "bathtubs."

At the top, there are numerous large, flat rocks made of quartzite and sweeping panoramic views of Grandfather Mountain and Linville Valley below. 

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17. Heffner Gap Overlook (MP 325.9)

trees overviewImage by Robin Montgomery

The views from Heffner Gap Overlook include Linville Mountain, Honeycutt Mountain, and the flat-topped Table Rock Mountain. In the spring, the fragrance of apple blossoms from the hillside orchards fills the air.

During the Revolutionary War, the Overmountain Men crossed here on their way to the Battle of Kings Mountain. 

18. North Cove Valley Overlook (MP 327.3)

valley overlook with north cove signboardImage by Robin Montgomery

The North Cove Valley Overlook offers picturesque views of the valley and the orchards on the slopes of Altapass in the distance. 

19. Black Mountains Overlook (MP 342.2)

From this overlook, the entire Black Mountain Range is visible. This fifteen-mile stretch of peaks is a subrange of the Blue Ridge Mountains and features six of the tallest mountains east of the Mississippi, including the tallest, Mount Mitchell.

Over half its peaks are taller than 6,000 feet or 1800 meters. Their height makes the mountains the perfect home for high-elevation spruce-fir forests.

In fact, the deep green color of the red spruce and Fraser fir trees makes these slopes look dark and shadowy which is how the Black Mountains most likely got their name.

20. Laurel Knob Overlook (MP 349.2)

mountain overlook with dead branch on the sidesImage by Robin Montgomery

Not only does this overlook offer more stunning views of distant mountains and valleys, it also features a really cool, gnarly dead tree.

The overlook used to be called “Licklog Ridge,” a name that sometimes still appears on maps. It’s where farmers used to lay down logs filled with salt for their cattle.

21. Green Knob Overlook (MP 350.5)

valley overlookImage by Robin Montgomery

In the early 1990s, filmmakers came to Green Knob Overlook to shoot part of the opening sequence for the epic film, The Last of the Mohicans. The overlook features spectacular views of the Catawba River Valley which is the traditional homeland of the Catawba people.

22. Tanbark Ridge Overlook (MP 376.7)

valley overlook with signboardImage by Robin Montgomery

Tanbark Ridge Overlook provides sweeping views of the hills and the small community in the valley below. The ridge was named after a tannery that once operated on the ridge.

Overlooks from Asheville heading South

blue ridge parkway south tour stops

The Blue Ridge Parkway between Asheville and Cherokee, North Carolina features some of the highest, grandest views on the entire Parkway. That means many of the overlooks here are some of the best along the whole 469-mile road.

Not all of them are winners, however, so check out this guide for what we think are the best overlooks on the Blue Ridge Parkway South Tour, starting from Asheville and heading south toward Great Smoky Mountain National Park. None of these overlooks require a hike for a spectacular view, and all are easily accessible by car. However, some of these overlooks do also have trailheads for some amazing hikes.

If you’d like to learn more about the best hikes on the Blue Ridge Parkway, check out our hiking guide.

23. Mills River Valley Overlook (MP 404.5)

valley overlook on clear skyShutterstock Image

This overlook is only about 20 minutes from Asheville and is one of the few overlooks that offer a view in two different directions. 

24. Pisgah Inn (MP 408.6)

Scenic Overlook in Mt. PisgahImage from Flickr by 

One of the best views along the Parkway is actually from the observation deck behind the Pisgah Inn.

Head toward the restaurant and follow the sidewalk behind the buildings to an observation deck and hillside, complete with rocking chairs.

And while you’re at it, grab a bite to eat at the restaurant! It’s the only one directly on the Parkway.

25. The Cradle of Forestry Overlook (MP 411)

mountain overviewImage from Flickr by 

The Vanderbilts owned all of Pisgah National Forest at one point, and this overlook stands above the forest managed by their old forestry school.

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26. Looking Glass Rock Overlook (MP 417)

The granite, oblong Looking Glass Rock stands out amongst the Blue Ridge Mountains. This overlook features the best view of the unusual mountain. It’s also the trailhead for Skinny Dip Falls.

27. Graveyard Fields Overlook (MP 418.8)

overlook of autumn treesImage from Flickr by 

Unlike most of the best overlooks on the Parkway, Graveyard Fields doesn’t overlook a sweeping mountain landscape.

Instead, it stands above a peculiar, spooky-looking forest grove that has been shaped by fire.

A loop trail to some waterfalls makes this one of the most popular overlooks on the entire Parkway.

28. Devil’s Courthouse Overlook (MP 422.4)

mountain overviewImage from Flickr by 

Devil’s Courthouse is also one of the most popular stops on the scenic drive. Legend has it that the Cherokee monster Judaculla used to ‘hold court’ in a cave under this cliff.

You can also climb to the summit for an astounding view of several states. But the overlook back on the Parkway is also impressive.

29. Cowee Mountain Overlook (MP 430.7)

overlook of mountains during sunsetImage from Flickr by 

In terms of open views and high elevation, Cowee Mountain Overlook is one of the best on the Parkway.

It’s near the highest point on the entire Parkway, over 6,000 feet up, or 1800 meters.

From that high, there’s not much to obstruct the scenery, and on clear days, the view really seems to go on forever. 

30. Lone Bald Overlook (MP 432.7)

Lone Bald Overlook is another high-elevation overlook, where there appears to be layer over layer of mountains as you look into the distance.

31. Waterrock Knob Overlook (MP 451.2)

waterrock knob overlook signboardImage from Flickr by 

This is one of the most impressive overlooks, due to its elevation of over 6,000 feet, or 1800 meters above sea level.

The views from up there are unobstructed, and the ample parking and picnic spots mean there’s plenty of space to enjoy the view.

A small visitor center sits up there, as does the hike to the top of Waterrock Knob.

32. Thunder Struck Ridge Overlook (MP 454.4)

Like Lone Bald Overlook, the Blue Ridge Mountains here seem to go on forever as layer over layer is visible from the overlook.

This is one of the last truly remarkable overlooks heading south before the road loses a lot of elevation on its way down to the town of Cherokee.

Of course, there are plenty of other overlooks on this stretch of the Parkway. And some of them are just as good as these! 

Explore Blue Ridge Parkway with Shaka Guide ?

But, you can get overlook fatigue pretty quickly, so we recommend saving time for hikes and other activities on Shaka Guide's Blue Ridge Parkway Tours

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We hope that we’ve given you all the information you need to make the most of your day. Your vacation is extremely important to us so if you have any questions feel free to reach out at aloha@shakaguide.com.

For more detailed information to help you plan, check out our Blue Ridge Parkway itinerary and Know Before You Go article.

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Know Before You Go, Blue Ridge Parkway Asheville

Know Before You Go, Blue Ridge Parkway South

Know Before You Go, Blue Ridge Parkway Virginia

Blue Ridge Parkway Asheville Itinerary

Blue Ridge Parkway South Itinerary

Blue Ridge Parkway Virginia Itinerary


29 Best Blue Ridge Parkway Hikes

The Story of the Blue Ridge Parkway

A Guide to Blue Ridge Parkway Entrances

Blue Ridge Parkway Asheville: The Ultimate Tourist's Guide

Blue Ridge Parkway Virginia: Ultimate Travel Guide


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