Sunset at North Carolina’s Waterrock Knob makes a worthy and easily obtainable bucket list item for Upstate residents. In addition to holding the highest visitors center on the Blue Ridge Parkway, this breathtaking pinnacle also offers a rare panoramic view, perhaps the best along the iconic mountain thruway.
Sited near the parkway’s southern tail and the Tennessee–North Carolina line, Waterrock Knob beckons its visitors to bring a chair and sit a spell. Look closely and you’ll spy Harrah’s Cherokee Casino to the west, but a magnificent mountain landscape in all directions will be your focus (and your reward).
From your mile-high perch, you’ll have stunning views of several southern mountain ranges, including some you’ve heard of (Great Smokies, Nantahalas) and others you’ve possibly never heard of (the Newfound Mountains, the Blacks, the Craggies). Expect an unparalleled day’s end if you come early enough to enjoy sunset. Bring a blanket and picnic dinner, and spread out under the stars.
The Waterrock Knob Visitor Center at Milepost 451.2 is open from April 13 to November 11. A steep 1.2 mile trail leads to the peak, but don’t despair: you can drive up, too.