Buzzard Roost is an unofficial scenic overlooked, located in the Harmon Den area of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. The overlook provides very high elevation and scenic views of "the gorge" area of I-40.
Harmon Den, NC
Dogs are allowed, but not recommended
Scenic Views, nice backroads drive
Take the Harmon Den Exit (Exit 7) off I-40. If you are coming from Asheville, go left at the bottom of the off ramp. If you are coming from Tennessee, go right. Follow the gravel road for about 4.8 miles.
Just your camera and/or cell phone.
Buzzard's Roost North Carolina
A popular destination for locals and more adventurous visitors, is Buzzard's Roost, located in the Harmon Den area, off I-40 in North Carolina.
Buzzard's Roost (or Buzzard Roost as some call it), is a rustic, unofficial, and unmaintained scenic overlook, located off FR288 (Forest Service Road 288). The road up to Buzzard's Roost is rustic, and moderately maintained. The road is also fairly narrow, with steep drop-offs on the side.
Off road vehicles will be fine, as will most other other vehicles. Vehicles with lower ground clearance will want to be very careful or possibly pass on this destination.
FR288 will take you right to the trailhead, although calling the path a trail is a stretch.
The trail down to Buzzard's Roost is very short, but very steep. This is not a trail we would recommend for everyone, and only those comfortable with walking up and down a steep and worn path, that requires hanging onto small trees and branches as you go down and up. Our video below will show you the trail.
Buzzard's Roost Video
Come along with us, as we hike down and enjoy the view at Buzzard's Roost.
Buzzard's Roost Trailhead
From the exit off I-40, the trailhead is located almost exactly 4.8 miles up FR288. The trailhead is not marked, and is very easy to miss. We were able to maintain a cell phone connection, and Google Maps showed us the location for the trailhead.
There is a small pullover to the left, just past the trailhead. There is also some purple graffiti on the tree next to the trailhead, and we've been told by others, ribbons are often tied around the trees at the trailhead as well, to mark it. We did not see any when we were there.
Buzzard's Roost Overlook
The trail down to the overlook is very short, less than 500 feet, but again, very steep. As you reach the bottom, you'll clearly see the overlook and view ahead of you, and just to the right, between two trees.
At the overlook, you'll be looking east, and the view, as seen in the cover photo, is gorgeous. Below you, is I-40 and the Pigeon River. You'll clearly hear the cars and trucks driving along I-40, far below.
We cannot caution readers enough on how dangerous this place is. The view is stunning, but at the overlook, you are literally standing 1,000 foot or more above the I-40 corridor. The drop below you is a sheer cliff. People have died here, so be careful if you visit.
We do not recommend bringing small children or pets. But if you decide to do so, keep them very very close. We just cannot stress this enough.