Accessible trails for hiking
A hike is different for everyone. If you’re looking for a challenging trail, a shorter one,, and a drive with many views, the parkway provides many alternatives that meet your needs. The park has 280 pullouts as well as overlooks that give visitors the chance to enjoy scenic views. More than 120 trails also provide you with more possibilities to explore.
A thing to remember is that to locate a specific trail or overlook, it is necessary to know the milepost’s number. Therefore, be sure you’re keeping track of the mileposts you pass as you travel. To make it easier, miles are measured starting from zero from the northern end located at Rockfish Gap near Waynesboro, VA, and peaking at 269 at its southernmost entrance, near the Qualla Boundary in Cherokee, NC.
If you’re seeking an enjoyable driving experience…
To experience the parkway’s fall beauty while sitting in your vehicle,, Look no further than the Linn Cove Viaduct. The viaduct is located in Avery County, NC; the viaduct spans 1,243 feet. Segmental bridge that winds through and around Grandfather Mountain. A well-paved and easy-access trail that is accessible from Linn Cove Visitor Center. Linn Cove Visitor Center offers views from the underneath of the viaduct.
Looking Glass Rock Overlook, Haywood and Transylvania Counties, NC (Milepost 417)
Looking Glass Rock is considered one of the park’s most famous and photographed features. It is a pluton monolithic structure rising from an area of forest. You can undoubtedly climb 1,600 feet on the 2.75-mile trail full of twisting switches that take you to the summit of the rock with stunning panoramas of mountains and the surroundings from the top of the rock. In addition, as impressive perspectives of the rocks are available, the Looking Glass rock Overlook. The sunrise views when the sun’s light bounces off the massive round rock face are worth the trip.
Raven’s Roost Overlook, Lyndhurst, VA (Milepost 10.7)
A stop that is one of the very first along the parkway, starting from the northern entry point, Raven’s Roost Overlook should not be overlooked. A lone pine tree is an excellent photo opportunity, and visitors can take in autumn colors and stunning western-facing views.
Cowee Mountain Overlook, Jackson County, NC (Milepost 430)
With an elevation of 5,950 feet, The Cowee Mountain Overlook provides a stunning and unobstructed perspective over the Nantahala National Forest. Many consider it among the most stunning of all the parkway’s overlooks. This is the perfect spot to enjoy the stunning views while enjoying the evening for a picnic.
If you are in search of a more manageable distance
It is located in The Peaks of Otter located in Peaks of Otter located in the Peaks of Otter area; this is the parkway’s sole accessible trail that is an easy meandering 0.9-mile loop that circles a small mountain lake with beautiful views. For those who use wheelchairs or other mobility aids, It is important to note that while most of the trail has a 0.5 percent grade or less,, there areare some short downhill slopes ranging from 8 to 12 percent in certain portions. There are also fishing piers close by Otter Lake and Price Lake.
Mount Mitchell Summit Trail, Mount Mitchell State Park, NC (Milepost 355.3)
Perhaps the most popular trail in Mount Mitchell State Park, This 0.9-mile completely paved trail is accessible for wheelchairs and provides stunning views from the top of the highest point east of the Mississippi. Visiting the park in the early fall months is recommended to take advantage of the best foliage time and avoid closings during the summer months due to severe winter weather and massive amounts of snow.
Richland Balsam Trail, Jackson County, NC (Milepost 431)
The contrast of autumn leaves in the distance as you trek through sweet spruce and Fraser firs is simply unbeatable. Beat. Make sure to stop first at the Richland Balsam Overlook, the highest point of the parkway, which is 6,053 feet. The trailhead to this 1.3-mile loop is found at the neighboring Haywood-Jackson overlook, beginning with a paved beginning portion that transitions to a mossy–and at times rocky–high-elevation forest.