Beacon Heights is a short one-mile round-trip hike at Milepost 305.2 on the Blue Ridge Parkway offering a big pay-off with spectacular views from several rock platforms that you can explore safely. It's a best-kept secret for sure since most Parkway visitors do not know about it.
The trailhead at this parking area crosses a small road and then heads up the mountain to Beacon Heights. About 2/10-mile up the trail, it forks to the left as the Tanawha Trail and represents the start point of this 13-mile trail to the Linn Cove Viaduct and beyond (four miles to Rough Ridge). (This is the Mountains-to-Sea Trail also.) Turn right to reach the top of Beacon Heights.
Near the summit, the trail splits again. To the right, the trail leads you to the south-facing rock face with plenty of room to sit on the smooth rock face and enjoy the beautiful views of multiple mountain ranges. To the left, the trail climbs a bit to another rock dome with great views of Grandfather Mountain to the west and more peaks to the north and east. Elevation at the top is around 4,340 feet. What a great spot for a picnic!
Looking toward Grandfather Mountain from the top.
Fall color arrives in early October.
See the Tanawha Trail Map to hike more of this super scenic trail beyond Beacon Heights.