Here is a list of our favorite spots (sorted by drive time) within an hour’s drive of Parkway Peek. ***REMEMBER, LEAVE NO TRACE: take your trash with you, be respectful of wild animals and plant life and DO NOT light fires of any kind.***  

The Altapass Orchard – 10min – located just off the BRP at MM328; multiple easy trails, up to 2miles through the beautiful orchards

Riverside Park – 10min – downtown Spruce Pine on the North Toe River; beach area for swimming, fishing or picnicking, paved path along the river & a great playground

Chestoa Overlook – 10min – located at MM320 on BRP; flat, easy loop with great views of Table Rock Mountain across Linville Gorge

Linville Falls – 20min – enjoy an easy-to moderate hike from the Visitors Center with multiple views of the falls; for a more strenuous hike, take the Plunge Basin trail to the bottom

Linville Gorge Wilderness Area – 20-45min – longer, more strenuous trails for experienced hikers; includes TableRock & Hawksbill mountains as well as trails into Linville Gorge


Grassy Creek Falls – 20min – just off the BRP at Little Switzerland; moderate 2mile (r/t) hike to beautiful, little-known falls; eat at the nearby Switzerland Cafe

Crabtree Falls – 30min – MM 339 on BRP, moderate-to-strenuous hike, depending on route back from the falls (round-trip loop is more difficult than out-and-back)

Upper Creek Falls – 30min – gorgeous falls just off NC181; moderate hike with multiple swimming holes and natural waterslide from THE LOWER FALLS ONLY; do not climb onto rocks at the upper falls

Wilson Creek Wilderness Area – 30-45min – multiple trails of varying lengths; several falls & swimming holes located off long, gravel Forest Service road

Flat Rock Loop – 30min – MM308 on BRP, easy ¾ mile loop with outstanding views from rock outcroppings; great place for a picnic

Beacon Heights – 35min – MM305 on BRP, moderate 2mile (r/t) hike with incredible views from rocky top; you can see Charlotte skyline on a clear day

Linn Cove Viaduct – 40min – at MM 304 on the BRP, this is the iconic bridge featured in all BRP publications; park at the Visitors Center to access trailheads in either direction, including the Mountains-to-Sea trail (trails are moderate to strenuous)

Grandfather Mountain – 45min – park requires an entrance fee of $22 per adult (discounts for seniors & kids); features mile-high swinging bridge, wild-life habitats, museum and multiple trails of varying distance/skill level; free access to top via the very difficult Profile Trail from Hwy 105

Julian Price Park – 45min – MM297 on BRP, offers multiple length hiking trails, canoeing, fishing & picnicking; be sure to visit Hebron Falls for some bouldering while here

Moses Cone Manor – 50min – MM294 on BRP, this historic property features a museum, tour of the historic home & easy walking trails

Roaring Creek Falls – 45-50min – just off NC80 near the base of Mt. Mitchell, this easy 2mile (r/t) hike leads to a beautiful waterfall


Mount Mitchell – 45-50min – MM355 off BRP, this is the highest mountain peak east of the Mississippi River at 6684ft; no fee to use the trails, which vary in distance and skill level; restaurant on-site

Roan Mountain – 45-50min – on the TN/NC border & part of the Appalachian Trail, easy hike to 360° views; hike the AT in either direction for longer distance


Elk River Falls – 45-50min - off NC194, easy hike to this beautiful waterfall; huge swimming hole at the base BUT DO NOT JUMP from the top nor swim during high-water conditions; many people have died here and you will see others jumping; DON’T DO IT!!!

Craggy Gardens – 50min – MM364 on BRP, multiple trails of varying length & difficulty; gorgeous views with access to the Mountains-to-Sea trail

Catawba Falls – 50min – off I-40, easy 2mile (r/t) hike through lush forest and building relics to the falls; there is a nice swimming hole at the base of the falls

Lost Cove Colony – 50min – this is a very strenuous hike to an old moonshining, ghost town; 5miles (r/t) and worth the effort