Don’t let the Blue Ridge Parkway closing in the Winter keep you from hiking! This 4ish mile hike will take you from Hwy 215 to Devil’s Courthouse and back. Enjoy amazing long-range views and access to the Parkway with no cars! This hike is pet-friendly as long as they are on a leash.
From Lake Logan take Highway 215 South to the Devil’s Courthouse/Sam’s Knob trailhead. The gravel parking area is 8 miles after the Sunburst campground & picnic area, on the right. The trailhead for the Mountains to Sea Trail is 0.1 mi back downhill, to your left.
Begin on the Mountains to Sea trail and follow the white circle blazes. The first few feet can get muddy and stay muddy for a few days after a rain shower so wear proper hiking shoes. See if you can spot a few Eastern Hemlocks and enjoy a beautiful section of forest devoid of ground-level shrubs and carpeted in a blanket of spruce needles and green moss. The trail climbs about 0.5 mi before appearing to swerve left over a creek but stay right and follow the white circle blazes. You will pass a large upturned red spruce rootball on your right and then the trail swings left again to cross the creek on a footbridge. The trail will lead you up to a flat ridgeline that opens up to some pretty views. You will pass over a few streams that are easy to rock-hop and cross on provided wooden bridges.
Just past the second stream look for the junction with the Devil’s Courthouse Connector trail on the right and take that trail, there is a wooden post with a white blaze on it pointing to the left but you will follow the trail to the right. If you missed the trail post and end up at Little Sam Knob marker just turn back around to find the junction. This connector will lead you up to the main Devils Courthouse trail which takes you over the Devils Courthouse Tunnel on the Blue Ridge Parkway (which you would only notice if the BRP is open and you hear cars). The connector meets the Devils Courthouse trail which you will follow uphill to the main overlook.
Enjoy 180* views from South to West to North. Plaques mounted along the overlook will tell you the names of the mountains you are seeing. Please stay within the boundaries of the overlook – due to peregrine falcon nesting sites present on the cliffs, it is illegal to leave the trail or overlook on Devils Courthouse.
You can return the way you came (blue dots on the map below), or you can make a loop (yellow dots) by following the Devil’s Courthouse trail down to the Blue Ridge Parkway and walking left until you get to the bridge over Hwy 215. Just before the bridge you can walk down to Hwy 215 on the right side of the bridge and take a right on the Hwy to return to where you parked your car. Shoulders are small in areas so best not to do this during busy traffic times.