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Devil’s Courthouse – Blue Ridge Parkway

Devil's Courthouse is a popular overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina, at MP422.  From the overlook, you can see beautiful long distance views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and see Devil's Courthouse itself.  In additional to the views, you can also hike up to the top of Devil's Courthouse for high elevation and nearly 360 degree views.

What you need to know

Location: MP422.4 on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina

Distance: 0.5 miles (1 mile roundtrip)

Difficulty: Strenuous

Handicap Accessible: The overlook and parking area is full handicap accessible.  The trail up to the top.

Dog Friendly: Yes

Features: Incredible scenic views, unique geological features, rare and protected plants and wildflowers, beautiful forest.

Directions: From Asheville, enter the Parkway at NC 191 (at the NC Arboretum).   MP422.4 is about 26 miles from Asheville.

Recommended Gear: Camera, water, comfortable shoes or hiking boots.

About Devil's Courthouse

Devil's Courthouse View

Long before the parkway, roads, or even cars existed, the Cherokee lived, hunted and traded in the surrounding mountains of Devil's Courthouse.   The mountain itself was believed by the Cherokee to be where the devil (Judaculla in english, and Tsul'Kalu in Cherokee) held court in the caves below the mountain.

Today, the mountain is a popular stopping point and overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway.   The overlook as a large parking area, that provides exceptional views of the towering mountain and bare cliffs near the top.  There is also a picnic table here as well.  

Hiking to the top of Devil's Courthouse

For those looking for a more adventurous challenge, you'll want to hike up tp the very top where there is an observation deck that provides incredible high elevation, and early 360 degree scenic views of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains.  Devil’s Courthouse is 5,720 feet at the summit.

We say "challenge", because the trail is short, but very steep.  Going to the top is definitely a workout, but beautiful.

From the parking area, the trail begins in the corner of the parking area closest to the Parkway and the mountain.  The trail is paved most of the way up, then turns to gravel with some stairs on the final stretch.  

The scenery along the trail, as you can see if our video, is just beautiful.   Devil's Courthouse is home to many rare high-altitude plants, so please stay on the trail to avoid damaging them.   Some of these plants are what remains of plants from the glacial period.   So yea, they're old.

View from Devil's Courthouse

The views from the top are nearly 360 degrees, and panoramic.   From the summit you can see North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee.

While tough, the hike up is definitely worth it.   Please be sure to stay within the overlook walls, as the drops at the summit are significant and would be fatal.

About the author

Larry Deane is co-owner of Blue Ridge Mountain Life. He has spent more than 20 years exploring the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and has a deep passion for nature, history, storytelling, and adventure. Along with his wife Jenn, they combined these passions to create Blue Ridge Mountain Life, a travel guide to these stunning mountains they are fortunate to call home.

Larry has more than 20 years of experience as a writer and journalist, and has established himself as a leading voice and expert for Blue Ridge Mountains. He is also an avid hiker, photographer, and videographer. He loves sharing his mountain adventures and knowledge with more than 500,000 people per month on Blue Ridge Mountain Life.


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