A beautiful sunrise near The Blowing Rock and the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina

Plan Your Trip to The Blowing Rock & Blue Ridge Parkway

Select Registry - February 17, 2022

North Carolina's Oldest Attraction!

A bridge on a foggy day near The Blowing Rock and the Blue Ridge Parkway

If you haven’t had the chance to visit The Blowing Rock near the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina, this spring presents you with the perfect opportunity! The Blowing Rock is North Carolina’s oldest attraction, and from there, you’ll enjoy sweeping views of the surrounding peaks, forests, and the Johns River Gorge.

The Blowing Rock, which towers an impressive 4,000 feet above sea level, is a cliff that hangs about 3,000 feet above the Johns River Gorge below. This immense cliff earned its name thanks to the unique effect on the winds that pass through the gorge. It’s one of the few places in the world where the snow can fall upside down!

Though taking in the views from the top of The Blowing Rock is undoubtedly a great reason to visit this part of North Carolina, it’s not the only great attraction worth seeing. In fact, The Blowing Rock is located near the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of the most popular scenic drives in the entire country. 

There are four Select Registry Bed and Breakfasts located within an easy drive of the Blowing Rock, and staying with any of them will give you ample time to explore this beautiful part of the world. Extend your road trip further and explore the length of the Blue Ridge Parkway, from Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the south all the way north to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. As you travel, enjoy the exceptional hospitality brought to you by our diverse collection of Select Registry Bed and Breakfasts

Spring is nearly here. Start planning your trip to The Blowing Rock and Blue Ridge Parkway today!

The Blowing rock near the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina

Why You Should See The Blowing Rock

The Blowing Rock is located in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. The same forces of nature that formed these mountains over millions of years created The Blowing Rock. Though the legends of The Blowing Rock are ancient, it wasn’t until 1933 that The Blowing Rock was turned into the attraction it is today. 

At the top of The Blowing Rock, you’ll find a network of trails that total approximately 1/2 mile in length, an observation deck from which to enjoy the view, gardens, and another overlook. 70% of the grounds are handicap accessible, too, including the lookouts. 

The view from the top of The Blowing Rock is pretty spectacular, and you can see for miles in either direction. Highlights of the view include Hawksbill Mountain and Table Rock to the southwest, Grandfather Mountain to the west, the highest peak in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and Mount Mitchell, which is the highest peak east of the Mississippi River. 

Depending on how long you marvel at the views, you can expect a visit to The Blowing Rock to take approximately 30 minutes. 

There are also two annual music festivals held at The Blowing Rock Each Year; The Annual Blowing Rock Music Festival in September and the Annual Shagging at The Rock Festival in June. These events haven’t been held since 2019, thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, but we hope to see them return in 2022. 

After you explore this beautiful area, we recommend you head into the town of Blowing Rock. There, you’ll find a fun mix of museums, galleries, restaurants, shops, wineries, and more to enjoy before you continue on your journey on the Blue Ridge Parkway. 

Come see The blowing Rock, near this beautiful part of the Blue Ridge Parkway

Don’t Miss the Blue Ridge Parkway

Driving the length of the Blue Ridge Parkway should be one of those “must-do” activities on your bucket list. Though it’s beautiful any time of year, it is especially magical in the fall, with the trees changing dramatically from their summer greens to the vibrant oranges, yellows, and reds of autumn.

The Blowing Rock is closest to the southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway. If you want to drive all 469 miles of this beautiful road, it’s best to start at the south end near Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As you reach Asheville, NC, you’ll detour west on I40 towards Morganton before heading east to The Blowing Rock. After you’ve gotten your fill of the area, it’s time to head back towards Asheville, where you can continue on the journey north towards Shenandoah National Park.

As you travel the Blue Ridge Parkway, here are a few of the top highlights to include on your itinerary, listed in order from south to north. We’ve included milepost numbers in parentheses for easy travel planning. 

  1. At 6,053′ above sea level, the Richland Balsam Overlook (431.4) is the highest point on the entire Blue Ridge Parkway
  2. On a warm day, few things are better than sliding down a waterfall, and the perfect place to do that is Sliding Rock (412). 
  3. Take in the majestic mountain views at Mount Pisgah State Park (405.5 & 411.8). It’s one of the most beautiful and busy parts of the Blue Ridge parkway. 
  4. Chimney Rock State Park (384.7) is another iconic stop to make on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Of course, the namesake of this park is Chimney Rock, a 500-million-year-old monolith.
  5. Don’t miss the incredible art and culture on display at the Folk Art Center (382.5). This is truly an excellent stop, as it exhibits, sells, and celebrates traditional and modern crafts of the Appalachians.
  6. Visit the beautiful Biltmore Estate (382), America’s largest home. You can take a self-guided or guided tour of the grand house with all the original preserved architecture and furnishings.
  7. One of the most popular hikes on the Blue Ridge Parkway is near Asheville, called the Craggy Gardens (367.6). The forested trail feels magical and is just about 2 miles long. But the real reward here is the sweeping 360-degree view you’ll enjoy at the Craggy Pinnacle.  
  8. Though you can see it from The blowing Rock, nothing compares to the experience of being on the top of Mount Mitchell at Mount Mitchell State Park (344, 376.6). At 6,684 feet, this mountain rises higher than any other Appalachians. From the top, you can see up to eighty-five miles into the distance. Though you can hike the mountain, you can also drive almost to the top to take in the views without breaking much of a sweat.
  9. One of the most famous waterfalls on the Blue Ridge Parkway is Linville Falls (305.1, 330.9). You can hike to one of three overlooks of the waterfall, or you can even take the Plunge Basin Trail to the bottom of the waterfall.
  10. One of the most photographed places on the Blue Ridge Parkway is the Linn Cove Viaduct at milepost 304. 
  11. Just past the Blowing Rock area of the Blue Ridge Parkway, you’ll find a trail to Rough Ridge (302.8), another great place to snap a photo as you take in the views. The highlight here is “Lion King rock,” which dangles 4,700 feet above the ground.
  12. Get a taste of the local culture at The Blue Ridge Music Center (213), a part of the music heritage-oriented Crooked Road. There is a fantastic outdoor concert venue here that hosts a variety of bands throughout much of the year. 
  13. The Mabry Mill (176) is one of the most photographed sites on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s a picturesque early 1900s wooden gristmill that sits beside a stream. The waterwheel still spins, and inside, the millers still grind flour. Don’t miss a meal at their restaurant!
  14. The Peaks of Otter area (85.6) is one of the most popular places on the Blue Ridge Parkway. There’s a lodge and restaurant here, but there are also great hiking trails. Favorites include The 1.8-mile Johnson Farm Loop Trail, the 3.3-mile Harkening Hill Trail that leads to a beautiful viewing area at Balance Rock, and the 1.5-mile Sharp Top Trail that ascends Sharp Top Mountain and rewards hikers with a stunning 360-degree overlook at the summit. 
  15. Natural Bridge (61.6) is one of the most unique stops on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s a natural rock formation that spans 90 feet at an impressive 200 feet in height. It’s one of many great photo ops along the Blue Ridge Parkway!
  16. The Humpback Gap Overlook (6.1) at the northern end of the trail is the gateway to Humpback Rocks and Humpback Mountain. The hike to the top is 2-mile roundtrip with a tough climb at the end that reveals a breathtaking view.

With this excellent guide to the Blue Ridge Parkway and The Blowing Rock in North Carolina, you do have a fantastic trip waiting for you this spring! Partner with our Select Registry Bed and Breakfasts in both North Carolina and Virginia for the journey of a lifetime. 

Best Places to Stay in North Carolina

Gideon Ridge Inn

Gideon Ridge Inn, a Blowing Rock, North Carolina bed and breakfast has ten delightful guest rooms with mountain breezes, French doors and stone terraces. Intimate walking paths through elegant gardens on the grounds of this beautiful Blowing Rock bed and breakfast. 

We serve fine breakfasts to linger over. Earl Grey Tea and fresh-baked shortbread cookies to savor. Bedrooms with warm fireplaces and comfortable sitting areas.  And in the library, a grand piano with a breathtaking view of the mountains. This Blowing Rock bed and breakfast must be experienced to be believed!

The Lodge at River Run

The Lodge at River Run offers five beautifully decorated bedrooms, all with private baths and modern amenities. The linens and beds are of the highest quality and every attention to detail has been well thought out. Each bedroom faces the beautiful Elk River where you can hear the sound of the rushing water as gentle breezes permeate your senses.

In the Smoky Mountains enjoy golfing, rafting, horseback riding and gem mining, Hiking, and more. Chase waterfalls at Linville Falls, Elk River Falls and Crabtree Falls, and in the winter enjoy skiing and snow tubing at Sugar and Beech Mountain which are just a few miles from the lodge.

Lazy Bear Lodge

Nestled on a mountaintop and surrounded by the glorious sounds of nature with gently cascading waterfalls, birdsong, and the peaceful rustling of the breeze through the trees. Lazy Bear Lodge exudes a quiet magnificence of mountain vistas to soothe and restore the hectic pace of life. Enjoy our gourmet breakfast as the morning mystic fog from the valley vanishes and the splendor of the Blue Ridge Mountains is revealed.

The Lodge is centrally located and only minutes from Boone, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, and Banner Elk. This custom-built log cabin features five comfortable and spacious guest rooms with en-suite bathrooms. Guests relax in the common areas where a wood-burning double-sided fireplace graces both the Great Room and Dining Room to create a warm and friendly atmosphere for socializing or simply relaxing. Enjoy the back veranda with ample seating to enjoy the surrounding beauty of the mountains.

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