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Rough Ridge on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Also See: Blue Ridge Parkway | Beacon Heights | Chestoa View | Linville Falls | Pisgah National Forest |
Asheville Hiking | Grandfather Mountain | Linn Cove Viaduct | Fall Color Guide | Favorite 15 Parkway Stops | Top 10 Parkway Hikes
Rough Ridge, NC
Rough Ridge typically has brilliant fall color in early October.

Enjoy spectacular mountain views of Grandfather Mountain, Linn Cove Viaduct and Linville Gorge, with distant views into the Piedmont, from the hike on Rough Ridge. Just a 1/3-mile uphill hike from the parking area (Milepost 302.8 on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina) is a boardwalk atop the rocky mountain that protects fragile vegetation. Continue hiking for another 1/2 mile to the Rough Ridge summit (4,773 feet elevation). The views keep getting better! There are several large boulders along the trail that you can stand on to take in the views. At the summit, the highest rock has cables to help you reach the top. Total elevation climb from the parking area is 480 feet.

This wonderful hike in the Pisgah National Forest is part of the 13-mile Tanawha Trail (download PDF of Tanawha Trail Map) and Mountains-to-Sea Trail that continues south to Beacon Heights along the Linn Cove Viaduct or north to Julian Price Park. To extend the hike, take two cars and leave one at the Beacon Heights parking area (Milepost 305.2) and hike from Rough Ridge (about four miles) or Price Lake.

Pets are prohibited on this section of the Tanawha Trail to protect a critical and highly vulnerable plant community

Park at the Parkway overlook at Milepost 302.8. If you don't hike, enjoy the creek cascading down the mountainside at the overlook. From the parking area, the trail starts on the right. Soon, you will reach an intersection with the Tanawha Trail. Turn left, following the direction on the sign toward Linn Cove. Cross the bridge over the tumbling creek, and climb through woodlands to the expansive views from the boardwalk. The climb is strenuous and rocky, often with muddy areas.

Rough Ridge, Blue Ridge Parkway
View of the cascading creek from the parking area at the overlook.

Nearby are other great Parkway hikes at the Linn Cove Viaduct, Chestoa View, Linville Falls and Beacon Heights.

Tanawha Trail, Rough Ridge
In addition to several benches on the boardwalk, find big boulders along the way for relaxing while enjoying the views.

Boardwalk on Rough Ridge
Boardwalk on Rough Ridge

View of Grandfather Mountain
Grandfather Mountain summit (right) with the Viaduct, middle left

Linn Cove Viaduct
Closer view of the Linn Cove Viaduct

Rough Ridge, Blue Ridge Parkway
The section of the Parkway is frequently closed in the winter months due to snow and ice.

Rough Ridge NC
The summit of Rough Ridge, with Grandfather Mountain in the background.

Rough Ridge, Blue Ridge Parkway NC
View from the summit of Rough Ridge

Rough Ridge, NC
Soak it all in!

Watch a video of the Linn Cove Viaduct and see the view from Rough Ridge.

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Writing & Photography By Mark File - ©2003-2015 File Investments, Inc - All Rights Reserved