One of the things I do when planning my itinerary, is to create a loop in order to end up back at the hotel at the end of the day. I try to find as many things to do along that route and there's no shortage of things to do in NC! Two of my days allowed me to explore the Blueridge Parkway. On day 2, after visiting Looking Glass Falls, I jumped on the parkway around the Pounding Mill Overlook. I went in one direction as far as Looking Glass Rock Overlook and then headed north as far as the Cradle of Forestry Overlook. The weather took a turn and made for some beautiful images, but I didn't stay long and headed back to my hotel for some dinner.
Fryingpan Tunnel - Galaxy S22 Ultra On my 3rd day, I had started with a sunrise down at Pretty Place, SC. If you have seen my other blog posts, you know that the next few hours this day I had spent hiking the 3 waterfalls at Dupont Forest. From there, I drove the Blueridge Parkway from Thunder Struck Ridge all the way up to Waterrock Knob. My plan was to hike to the shortest distance waterfall at Graveyard Fields, but I couldn't even find a parking space, so I moved on. I did get one photo of the waterfall from the road though. I had seen online how colorful this area was and it did not disappoint!
Below are some of the other images I took along the way, as I headed towards Waterrock Knob. Although it was mid-day and very bright, I was able to capture the peak foliage in all its splendor.
As tired as I was from my earlier waterfall hikes, I never expected to exert any more energy that day. My plan was to stop at the overlooks and then at the visitor center at Waterrock Knob. I parked at the large visitor center parking lot and then something caught my eye. To my left was a very steep looking trail and a sign that said Waterrock Knob Trail .5 Miles. So I grabbed my gear, tripod and my lunch and headed up! It was the steepest hike all the way up and I had to stop several times to catch my breath! It starts on a steep inclined, paved path and then turns into a climb over rocks, logs and stairs. Did I mention it was steep? It's probably obvious, but the photos of the trail I took with my phone.
Waterrock Knob Trail - Galaxy S22 Ultra Waterrock Knob Trail - Galaxy S22 Ultra Waterrock Knob Trail - Galaxy S22 Ultra Waterrock Knob Trail - Galaxy S22 Ultra
I honestly didn't keep track, but I think it took me about 45 minutes to reach the summit. Up there, I enjoyed my lunch, chatted with other people (and even took their photos), and then took some selfies for memory. I also had signal up there and was able to video chat my daughter and show her the view! I should also mention that on Monday, the higher elevations here along the BRP and in the Smoky Mountains saw snow! There was remnants of snow along the path as I neared the top of the summit. You would think coming down would have been easier, but the melting snow made it very slick. I slipped on my butt at one point, but wasn't hurt.
Waterrock Knob Trail Snow - Galaxy S22 Ultra
Waterrock Knob Trail Snow - Galaxy S22 Ultra Waterrock Knob Trail Snow - Galaxy S22 Ultra Waterrock Knob Trail - Galaxy S22 Ultra Waterrock Knob Trail Summit - Galaxy S22 Ultra Waterrock Knob Trail Summit - Galaxy S22 Ultra Waterrock Knob Trail Summit - Galaxy S22 Ultra Beautiful views continued as I descended and the beauty was all right there in front of me. The last 2 photos were taken at the last overlook I stopped at just before I headed back to the hotel.