Waterrock Knob – Blue Ridge Parkway

Waterrock Knob is a mountain peak located off The Blue Ridge Parkway.  Waterrock Knob is the 16th highest mountain peak in the Eastern United States and is 6,292 feet high.  Waterrock Knob is a popular destination on the parkway due to it’s almost 360 degree view from the parking lot, and the short and moderate hike to the peak.

Waterrock Knob gets it’s name from a cool stream where hunters, traders and farmers used to stop to get a cool drink of water.

Water Rock Knob View

View from Water Rock Knob

We first visited Waterrock Knob in June 2009 with our kids and have been there many times since.  We spent time enjoying the view from the parking lot and then decided to hike up to the peak.  The view from the parking lot is one of the best on the Parkway.  On a clear day, you can see for 50 miles.   We often drive up on the Parkway, and stop by just for the view.  I’d highly recommend viewing it just after a big storm, the clouds and mist flowing across the Great Smoky Mountains is a sight.

Parking Lot

Water Rock Knob Parking Lot

After pulling off the parkway, and driving up the short access road to Water Rock Knob, you’ll enter the large and often busy parking lot, which offers almost 360 views of the parkway and surrounding mountains.  The parking lot also offers amazing sunrise AND sunset views.  Most people visiting Water Rock Knob enjoy the view and picnic tables from the parking lot.  There is also a short but fairly strenuous 1 mile round trip hike to the top.   While it’s a bit of a steep hike, we highly recommend it, as the trail is very pretty, and the views even more amazing than from the parking lot.

Trail View

Coming down the trail to the parking area

Water Rock Knob View

One of the many views

Here’s a shot from the peak, with two of our boys sitting on the rock.

View from the top

Two of our boys sitting at the top

How to get to Waterrock Knob?

Waterrock Knob is located at milepost 451 on The Blue Ridge Parkway.  You will turn off the parkway onto a road leading up to Waterock Knob.

From Asheville:

  1. Take I-40 W to exit 27 for the Great Smoky Mountains Expy., which is also 19 S.
  2. Take exit 103 to stay on 19 S.
  3. After 12.1 miles, take the exit for The Blue Ridge Parkway.
  4. Turn right at the Blue Ridge Parkway.
  5. At milepost 451.2, turn left on Road to Waterrock Knob.

You can also just catch the Parkway from Asheville and follow it west to Waterrock Knob.  You can also catch the parkway from Maggie Valley and Cherokee as well.

We’ve been to Waterrock Knob a number of times, and never cease to be amazed by the breathtaking view.   This is definitely a place you need to stop when traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway, and well worth the short diversion to the parking lot.   Our kids have been a number of times with their church youth group as well.


Bathroom facilities

Parkway View

Looking down on The Blue Ridge Parkway

Leave a Comment:

Charles Keys says July 30, 2013

Another terrific post and beautiful scenery! Loving the mountains! 🙂

You guys must have some great camera’s!

    Larry says July 30, 2013

    Thank you Charles. We both have Canon EOS digital SLRs. We use the same camera type so we can share lenses and accessories. Been using Canon SLR cameras for my photography since the mid 80s.

    Which reminds me, I have a bunch of “retro” pics I took when my wife and I were visiting the mountains before we were married. I’ll have to scan them in and post them.

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