In every walk with nature,
one receives far more than he seeks
~ John Muir
I have a long list of favorite hiking trails on the Blue Ridge Parkway. They range from easy to moderately strenuous. To put them all down in a single post would be too lengthy (you all know how much I love to take photos!) so I decided to break them up into sections. I guess I would consider this post or series of posts a work in progress because we will forever be hiking trails when we are around this area.
If you missed the first part, please click here.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is touted as one of America’s scenic roads spanning between two states and runs for 469 miles through Virginia and North Carolina. It is a part of the Appalachian mountain range connecting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina to the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.
Along with that you can find more than 100 trails for all skill levels from Virginia to North Carolina. How incredible it would be to do at least half of them!
Over the years, so far, these are what we have accomplished.
Our very first major road trip was in 2009. We took nine days off work and our goal was to see the Niagara Falls. We stopped at different states along the way and made sure to visit and explore a couple of cool and interesting tourist spots.
Cruising along the Blue Ridge Parkway, we chanced upon the Linville Falls sign along Mile Marker 316. I wanted to do something spontaneous and unplanned so we stopped to take a quick look. We had no idea at that time that the Linville Falls is the most popular waterfall in the Blue Ridge Mountains because of its accessibility along the Parkway. We just wanted to see some waterfalls.
Because this was a detour, we took the shortest and easiest trail which ended up in the first overlook with the small double falls. From the double falls, the water came in a swirling gush through a narrow channel of rocks down to a foaming pool. We didn’t know there was another big one after that! Take note, this was before smart phones so researching stuff on the internet was pretty much basically done at home on your desktop.
So, fast forward 2013, my parents came to visit us for three months. On one of our trips we took them to Asheville, North Carolina and the Blue Ridge Parkway was on our list. Naturally, we had to stop at Linville Falls again.
We followed the same route. This time we were more prepared gear wise but we couldn’t go very far because of my parents. They weren’t really physically prepared for this activity and we didn’t want to tire them out or much worse, get them sick! But if you want to hike some more, there are more beautiful trails where you can see the river, the falls from different angles and the Linville Gorge.
I couldn’t help but try to compare photos taken from the very first hike. Spot the (obvious) differences if you will.
Seventy miles North of Asheville, Grandfather Mountain is one of the highest peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountain range. Like Mt. Mitchell, you can also drive up almost to the top. It is close enough from Linville Falls so if you simply plan to sightsee and not to do some serious hiking, then you can probably do both attractions in one day.
When we came to Grandfather Mountain, hiking was not on our itinerary since we brought our parents along. We just decided to check this place out and after crossing the famous Mile High Swinging Bridge, we found out that they have a short “challenging” rocky trail to the very top of that peak.
Challenging because my mom can only see with one eye making her vision not as good. Eventually, all three of us ended up coercing her to go with us despite her unheard pleas of staying behind and waiting. My hubby promised my mom he wouldn’t let her hand go and guide her every step of the way.
So this was how it basically started and ended.
My dad and my hubby, both of them guiding and guarding her step by step till she reached the very top of the rocks.
By the looks of this photo, my mom was mighty proud of herself for getting up here, that is, after giving my hubby a very tight death grip which almost hurt his shoulder. Regardless, it was an accomplishment since she was never an adventurous person and led a very sheltered life growing up. So all these outdoor stuff is unfamiliar territory for her. We were all glad she came even if it was against her will initially.
Okay, so there was no true hiking done here to say the least but there are a couple of very challenging (for real this time) and strenuous trails going up to the mountain. Maybe, one day we happen to pass this way again.
**Is it legit to say that we adore Linville Falls so much that a couple of days ago we hiked it again? But this time it was totally different. We were there for the leaves. Plus, we got to go all the way up the overlooks!