November 2014 Update: The Blue Ridge Parkway will be closed at Devil's Courthouse on November 3, 2014 through May 2015. It will be closed between existing gates at Milepost 420.3 near US Forest Service Road 816 (Black Balsam Road) and Milepost 423.3 at NC Highway 215, for repairs to the tunnel. During this closure, Devil’s Courthouse Overlook at Milepost 422.4 will be accessible from the south by foot, bicycle or skis at NC Highway 215.
Located at milepost 422.4 of the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Devil's Courthouse has a short but strenuous trail climbing a half mile to its peak with wonderful panoramic mountain views (see photo above). The mostly paved trail starts from the overlook parking area beside the mountain.
According to the sign at the overlook, the bare rock profile named Devil's Courthouse is sinister in appearance and legend. Its "devilish" look has contributed to the many folk tales surrounding this mountain. Within the mountain is a cave where, legend claims, the devil holds court. In Cherokee lore, this cave is the private dancing chamber and dwelling place of the slant-eyed giant, Judaculla. Despite its name and reputation, Devil's Courthouse is home to rare and delicate high-altitude plants.
If you walk the one-half-mile route to the summit, please stay on the trail to protect rare plants, like the Rock Gnome Lichen and the Spreading Avens. Some of these alpine species may be remnants from the last glacial period. The panoramic view from the summit includes four states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee.
The Devil’s Courthouse is 5,720 feet at the peak. Nearby on the Blue Ridge Parkway are Graveyard Fields, Black Balsam Knob and Richland Balsam. On the back side of the mountain is beautiful Courthouse Falls, an easy hike from NC Highway 215.