Waterrock Knob is a must-stop along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Located at Milepost 451.2, it features the last hiking trail along the Parkway as you travel toward the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This peak (6,292 feet) is the 16th highest mountain in the Eastern United States and the the 15th highest of the 40 mountains in North Carolina over 6,000 feet. There are fantastic views both east and west from the parking area, home to a Visitors Center and restrooms. It’s one of the best places in the North Carolina mountains to watch a sunrise or sunset.
A 1.2-mile roundtrip hike will take you to the top of the summit. The steep climb gains 412 feet in elevation. There are more great views along the way. The first 1/4 mile of the trail is paved, ending at a nice overlook. At the top, there are several vantage points for distant views. On a clear day, you have 50-mile views, including the highest peaks in the Smokies. You don’t have to hike the trail to the summit to take in the excellent views of the surrounding mountains but if you’re capable of hiking a strenuous trail, then we strongly recommend it. If you can’t make the hike, take a picnic lunch and make use of the multiple tables that are provided in the “mile high” parking area