Finding the best Blue Ridge Parkway overlooks is made easy with this list! If you are looking for an easy stroll or an epic hike, there is an overlook just for you.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is most popular for the vast forests and rolling mountains that are seen best from the overlooks. You will find most of the overlooks on Blue Ridge Parkway hikes.
Getting to each of these varies in difficulty and each holds its own treasures to be found! Don’t worry. If you are not embodying the inner Indiana Jones you will still love adventuring as you make your way to the overlooks. Your adventures are endless along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Experiencing the enchantment of the 469-mile-long Blue Ridge Parkway is best atop an overlook. The endless sea of trees and mountains is impressive no matter the time of year, but is especially awe-inspiring with fall foliage!
With so many places to choose from, you may need to add more than one to your list! Camping, day trips, and vacations along the gorgeous parkway will have you reimagining nature with each overlook you visit.
Bring some water, hiking boots, and a camera, and let us start our journey to epic views!
20 Best Blue Ridge Parkway Overlooks And Views In NC And VA
Raven’s Roost Overlook
Perched 3,200 feet above sea level is Raven’s Roost Overlook. You will find the epic views of this overlook in Lyndhurst, Virginia. The views at the overlook are breathtaking!
From Raven’s Roost Overlook, you will see the vast Shenandoah Valley and Torrey Ridge. Located at milepost 10.7, you will venture on an easy to moderate walk that is about 3 miles round trip.
If birding is a hobby you enjoy, then Raven’s Roost Overlook is a supreme spot for you! As the name suggests, there are many large birds that soar through the mountain air around this area.
The picture-perfect overlook offers memories with every glance. The panoramic views from this Blue Ridge Parkway overlook provide an excellent backdrop! Come here if driving the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia.
Rough Ridge Overlook
For a short hike with a big payoff, Rough Ridge Overlook is for you! Getting to the overlook is only about a mile stroll along the Rough Ridge Hike at milepost 302.8 which is part of the massive Tanawha Trail system.
Rough Ridge Overlook is located in Linville, North Carolina. The ever-giving overlook gifts views of the Linn Cove Viaduct, Grandfather Mountain, and forested hills.
Rough Ridge Hike is within the Pisgah National Forest which has unique ecosystems that even this short hike allows you to see. There are different terrains like stone steps and boardwalks to get to the overlook so hiking boots are advised to get to the overlook.
Breath in the fresh mountain from one of the best Blue Ridge Parkway overlooks for sunrise!
Thunder Ridge Overlook
You will want to race to the top of Thunder Ridge Overlook for one of the most impressive views! This quarter-of-a-mile loop is located near Buchanan, Virginia, at milepost 74.7.
You will feel like you are in a fairy tale as you walk up the steps of the stone observation deck overlooking your kingdom of impeccable trees, hills, and mountains.
Blue Ridge Parkway overlooks never disappoint and Thunder Ridge Overlook is top-tier material! The Arnold Valley lays below at about 2,600 feet! The wide views will surely take your breath away and not because of the elevation! The magic of Thunder Ridge Overlook is accessible for all skill levels of hikers.
Thunder Hill Overlook
For one of the most spectacular views, head to Thunder Hill Overlook! Blowing Rock, North Carolina is home to this popular perch that provides you with one of the farthest views.
The horizon is laid with rolling mountains and impressive valleys. With nearly a 180-degree view, it is no wonder this is one of the best overlooks on Blue Ridge Parkway!
The vantage point is a great place to watch fireworks on holidays and is also a sweet spot for novice astronomers! While sunrises are popular to view from overlooks, it is recommended to come to Thunder Hill Overlook in the afternoon since this is an east-facing view. The sun will say hello very aggressively there early in the morning!
On the other hand, this is one of the best sunset views on the Blue Ridge Parkway!
Cowee Mountain Overlook
Cowee Mountain Overlook is a lovely location to visit! Canton, North Carolina, holds this majestic view at milepost 430. The sea of mountain ridges seems to roll like waves over the Blue Ridge Parkway. This is an easily accessible overlook that gives you a first-hand look at the glory of nature.
You will see Nantahala National Forest down below with the mountains of the parkway peaking at you. While you can visit for a glorious view at any time of the year, autumn provides warm colors of the turning leaves and is jaw-dropping.
The sunset over the horizon is one you do not want to miss out on either as is the case for all of the Blue Ridge Parkway overlooks!
Chestoa View Overlook
Linville, North Carolina, is home to one of the best Blue Ridge Overlooks, Chestoa View Overlook. Do not be distraught when you find that the elevation is 4,090 feet! From the parking area, it is only a short stroll of 1/4 a mile. This overlook at the Blue Ridge Parkway is at milepost 320.
The stone steps lead you down to the overlook and allow you to see the famed Lineville Gorge and its wilderness. Grandfather Mountain and Table Rock are visible among the miles of mountains.
Whether you are looking to pack a picnic or snap a quick picture, Chestoa Overlook makes for a nice trip! You will love taking in the best views on Blue Ridge Parkway!
Linn Cove Viaduct Overlook
The Linn Cove Viaduct is known as the best section of the Blue Ridge Parkway and photos of it looping along the edge of the mountain are popular. Of course, you will want to stop and see it on your Blue Ridge Parkway road trip!
The viaduct is found at Blue Ridge Parkway milepost 304 just outside of Linville, NC. You cannot stop or walk on this section of road, but there are plenty of overlooks to explore.
Park at the Linn Cove Visitor Center on the western side of the viaduct. From there, you can hike onto the Tanawha Trail. This trail is over 13 miles, stretching from Julian Price Park to Beacon Heights, but you only need to traverse a short portion to see the viaduct and even hike under it.
The trail can be difficult, especially when the rocks are wet. Make sure to stay on the marked path to protect the delicate ecosystem.
Buck Springs Gap Overlook
Most of the Blue Ridge Parkway overlooks offer stunning sunrise areas and Buck Springs Gap Overlook is one of them! Located at Blue Ridge Parkway milepost 407.6 on the Buck Spring Trail, it’s a 2.5-mile trail that is a moderately difficult hike near the Pisgah Forest in North Carolina. Along the trail, there are several types of pretty wildflowers, trees, and wildlife!
When you reach the overlook, you will see the beautiful valley below. The views are so spectacular that it is a coveted spot for weddings and ceremonies. A natural backdrop for a wedding? Yes, please!
The peaceful views and fresh mountain air at Buck Spring Gap Overlook will surely provide a zen moment.
Craggy Dome Overlook
Tucked into the Blue Ridge Parkway in Barnardsville, North Carolina, is the impeccable Craggy Dome Overlook near the Craggy Gardens.
The Craggy Pinnacle Hike is the one you will want to trek to reach this overlook. It is only a .8-mile hike to the Craggy Dome Overlook at milepost 364. This is rated as a difficult hike, however, well worth it!
In June and July, you will see the most color on this side of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The wildflowers bloom throughout the valley and up the mountainsides. The view of wildflowers is enough to make even a fairy swoon!
You will also get to experience the rhododendrons in bloom which is a glorious sight. The Blue Ridge Parkway overlooks are lovely any time of year and while Craggy Dome Overlook is best when in full bloom you can visit year-round for a beautiful scene!
This is the best of the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, NC. It is also near the pretty Glassmine Falls.
Beacon Heights Overlook
Jaw-dropping views await you at Beacon Heights Overlook! Rightly named, this overlook sits like a beacon towering over the Blue Ridge Parkway at about 4,000 feet! This Linville, North Carolina gem is at milepost 305.2 and off the Beacon Heights Hike.
Your eyes won’t know where to begin to take in the views from this overlook. Will it be down onto the forested hills and mountain peaks? Or will it be straight to the horizon feeling an overwhelming sense of freedom from high above the ground?
When the trees turn color in the autumn months, this popular overlook provides some of the best glamorous places to take pictures. Both sunrises and sunsets are enjoyed by visitors of the Beacon Heights Overlook.
You will agree this is one of the best overlooks on Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina!
Waterrock Knob Overlook
Unforgettable is only one adjective to describe Waterrock Knob Overlook. Towering over the valleys and hills of the Blue Ridge Parkway, the overlook sits near Waynesville, North Carolina.
You will hike along Waterrock Knob Trail which is 1.2 miles round trip. It is moderately difficult with weather that can change drastically from the start of your journey to overlook and summit.
The views include the famed Smokey Mountains and several other mountain ranges that will have you craving another trip before you drive away! You will have a nearly 360-degree panoramic look at the wonders of nature.
There are even picnic spots to sit and take it all in! Of all the Blue Ridge Mountain overlooks you do not want to miss a sunrise offered at Waterrock Knob Overlook.
The marvel of the Blue Ridge Parkway can be seen at Woolyback Overlook. You can find it in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. While it is not the widest view you will get from the Blue Ridge Parkway overlooks, the misty mountains in the distance are a magical sight to see.
When you are standing at the edge of the overlook, you will feel as though you have slipped into a painting. The mountains in the distance fade into the skyline and the trees brushed through the valley provide a serene moment for visitors.
Woolyback Overlook is an ideal place to escape the city’s hustle and bustle and wind down.
Fork Ridge Overlook
The unique landscape you will experience at Fork Ridge Overlook is well worth a trip! From the ecosystems you see from any of the Blue Ridge Parkway overlooks to the valleys of wildflowers, you are sure to experience the wonders of nature in Sylva, North Carolina.
Getting to the splendor of Fork Ridge Overlook is done from the moderately strenuous Mountain-to-Sea Trail. This is a backpacker’s dream spot as the terrain and views leave your craving for adventure satisfied!
The taste of the fresh mountain air and seeing the mountains that hold a history of growth will make you want to return time and time again!
There is something wholesome about the Afton Overlook. Whether it is the long views of Afton, Virginia below, or the mesmerizing forested mountains, Afton Overlook will draw you in. At over 1,800 feet in elevation, your vantage point is remarkable. You will not want to forget your camera on this trip!
Getting to the overlook is an easy route to drive. The horizon provides a never-ending sea of valleys and mountains best enjoyed when painted with the colors of autumn. Blue Ridge Parkway overlooks can be jaw-dropping places to gander upon the marvel of the Parkway.
Do not miss the Afton Overlook! It is easily one of the best Blue Ridge Parkway stops!
Chimney Rock Mountain Overlook
Hazey mountains in the distance with a wide range of vegetation at Chimney Rock Mountain Overlook make this one of the best Blue Ridge Parkway overlooks! Gathering to see the sunsets are day-trippers and locals of the town of Chimney Rock, North Carolina.
The Chimney Rock Mountain Overlook is where you will be above the valleys at over 2,400 feet! Look over Lake Lure, Carolina Piedmont, and the mountains of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
This overlook is the perfect place for birding, snapping pictures, and just taking in the mountain air. You may even see low-hanging clouds creating a small pool between mountains. You can really envision a ship sailing across the thick clouds!
Framed with ever-growing forest and hills, Chimney Rock Mountain Overlook is truly a must-see along the Parkway!
Thomas Divide Overlook
If you are a fan of mystery or natural phenomena then head over to Thomas Divide Overlook as soon as possible! You can find this mysterious landing near Swain County, North Carolina, at milepost 463.9.
You will drive right up to this spot so you do not have to worry about a strenuous hike. If you go during daylight hours there is a picnic spot down a steep walk near the overlook.
At night is when the real magic can be seen! The reserved and protected mountain range may provide a light show that has many wondering what causes it. Some people believe in ancient folklore of a witch doctor haunting the land and others conclude it to be a natural occurrence. In any case, the sight at Thomas Divide Overlook makes this one of the most epic Blue Ridge Parkway overlooks.
Pounding Mill Overlook
Pounding Mill Overlook at milepost 413.2 is one of the best stops on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Since it faces the east, it is an amazing pull-off to watch the sunrise over the mountains. Arrive before the sun peaks over the horizon to avoid the brighter light.
The name of this overlook comes from the old mills that were used to grind corn along the mountain streams.
With the Pisgah National Forest on all sides, you will enjoy unobstructed views perfect for photos. On a clear day, you can see the Fryingpan Mountain Lookout Tower to the north and Looking Glass Rock to the south.
Looking Glass Rock is a granite monolith named after the way it reflects the sun when it is covered in rain or ice. Stop at Pounding Mill Overlook on Blue Ridge Parkway to witness this cool effect.
Head to the quaint mountain town of Little Switzerland, North Carolina, to see more beautiful overlooks of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This is a hidden gem view, so you do not need to worry about crowds blocking your sight.
There are many places in this small town where you can enjoy views of the mountains, but one of the best spots is from the lawn of the Switzerland Inn. Even if you don’t stay here, you can enjoy dinner with a view at the hotel’s Chalet Restaurant.
Another way to soak in the scenery is by driving 226A. Also known as the Diamondback, this twisty road will provide jaw-dropping views around every corner. The switchbacks make it a difficult drive, but it is so worth it!
At milepost 281.4 and an elevation of 3240 feet, you will find the Grandview Overlook. It is just a few minutes east of Boone, NC, and there is no hiking needed. Get there early in the morning to watch the sunrise paint the valley in gorgeous colors.
Spend time admiring the green rolling mountains and the town of Triplett nestled below. This area is known for being the hunting grounds of frontiersman Daniel Boone.
When you are done soaking in the view, head to the nearby Blue Ridge Diner for a tasty meal. Breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you are in for some yummy, classic Southern food.
These Blue Ridge Parkway scenic overlooks will get you stopping every few minutes for photos as you drive one of the best routes in the U.S.