Second Falls, Graveyard Fields - as seen from the BRP on 10-1-06
There are quite a few waterfalls along and around the North Carolina section of the Blue Ridge Parkway - most are towards the southern end. (I haven't had a chance to explore the Virginia section yet, so don't have any info on the waterfalls there.) If you are planning a trip to western North Carolina that includes travel on the Blue Ridge Parkway, the 1st thing you should do is call 828-298-0398 for current road closures. A lot of the Parkway closes during the winter and parts may be closed for repair in warmer weather. There is also an online map that shows current closures - click here for the map. For updated detailed weather reports for different sections of the NC mountains plus other mountain goodies, visit Ray's Weather Center.
If you've never been on the Parkway, here are a few tips. The maximum speed limit is 45 mph and some places are 35 mph. Commercial vehicles are not allowed, but RVs are and they can be very slow. There are stretches of the Parkway with passing zones, but don't speed! I've heard it's a hefty fine because it's federal property. Be patient and hope a slow driver will pull off at an overlook or anywhere to let others by. Also, don't pass bicycle riders in a curve. There actually might be a vehicle coming around the same curve from the other direction! Points of interest are listed by mile post (MP). These are small white markers every mile - the northern end of the BRP in NC begins around mile post 218 and it ends about mile post 470 in Cherokee. For more detailed info on things to see along the Parkway, you can visit the official National Park Service web site. Click on 'Directions' then 'Maps' for a detailed map showing mile posts and major roads. Or the Blue Ridge Parkway Association's website for more info. Also remember that a lot of the Parkway is closed in the winter. Please click on the links below for info and photos of some of the falls along the Parkway:
at MP248, exit this Parkway on Hwy 18 for 2 waterfalls and historic structures on the Basin Creek hike - this is considered part of Doughton Park
Cascade Falls is at mile post 272 - I've also included a couple of shots at The Lump which at MP 264.4.
Right around MP 292 is the Hwy 321 exit for Blowing Rock, NC. It's only a couple of miles to the parking area for Glen Burney and Glen Marie Falls.
The Boone Fork Trail is an excellent 5 mile loop and is accessed from the Julian Price Memorial Park picnic area at MP 296.5. Hebron Falls or Hebron Rock Colony is about a 1.5 mile hike in if you take the loop to the right.
At MP 305.2 is Beacon Heights. There's no waterfall here, but you get a great view of Grandfather Mountain -
Just past MP 311 (heading south) is SR1518, Old Jonas Ridge Rd. This is one way to get to some of the waterfalls in the Wilson Creek area. You can read more about these falls in this section of my site - Wilson Creek area waterfalls
The Linville Falls access is at MP 316.4. These falls attract a lot of people during tourist season, but they are worth seeing, especially if you take the trail to the river.
Duggers Creek Falls - accessed from the Linville Falls main parking area
I visited Crabtree Falls for the 1st time in October '01and have been back several times since. What a beautiful falls! The trail to the falls is at Crabtree Meadows at MP 339.5.
Setrock Creek and Roaring Fork Falls are in the area of MP 345. There are 2 ways to get here depending on which way you are coming from. Both of these can be accessed from Hwy 80 also if you happen to go in the winter when the Parkway is closed
A nice waterfall on Whiteoak Creek is in the area of Setrock Creek and Roaring Fork Falls
Grassy Creek Falls is just off the Parkway at the Little Switzerland exit around MP 335.
At MP351.9 you can access FR472. Head down this gravel road to see 3 waterfalls in the upper South Toe River area and more beautiful scenery.
Glassmine Falls is listed at MP 361.2. I've stopped at the overlook several times, but it's been nothing more than a view across a valley to a trickle coming down a rock face. Some day I might catch it after heavy rains and have a picture worth posting.
Around MP 365 is the Craggy Gardens area. There are roads off the Parkway into the Pisgah Forest that go to Walker, Douglas and some unnamed falls.
Near MP 412 is the Hwy 276 exit. There are numerous waterfalls off of Hwy 276 south of the Parkway heading towards Brevard. Please visit my Pisgah National Forest page for more details.
Skinny Dip Falls is at MP 417. Park at the overlook for Looking Glass Rock.
Graveyard Fields, at MP 418.8, is home to 3 waterfalls - Second, Yellowstone, and Upper Falls. This is a very popular place, so be prepared for crowds during tourist season.
Devil's Courthouse is at MP422. There's no waterfall, but you can hike up the moderate to strenuous trail to the top for an excellent view of the Pisgah Forest below you. Just south of Devil's Courthouse is the Hwy 215 exit. Please visit my Pisgah National Forest page for more details.
Bearpen Gap - in between MP 427 and 428 - these cascades aren't listed in any books or on any maps, but this is a nice area to spend a few hours in if you're up this way and looking for something new
The waterfall in the photo below is right next to the Parkway between MP 446 and 447. Pull into the Woodfin Cascades overlook then walk across the Parkway to see the waterfall. This isn't Woodfin Cascades and as far as I know, doesn't have a name.
At around MP 454 is Soco Gap and the intersection of Hwy 19. It's a very short drive on Hwy 19 towards Cherokee to Soco Falls. If you have the time, you can continue into Cherokee and on to Mingo Falls.