Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Blue Ridge Parkway: Rough Ridge Overlook

Waterfall Walkway Photo Copyright © 2007 G. Kiser

As far as I know this waterfall is unnamed, if anyone can help me find a name for this waterfall, I will be very grateful.

Located at milepost 302.8 along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina is the Rough Ridge Overlook. If you are not looking for this spot, you are likely to drive right past without noticing what this small section of the Parkway has to offer. As you are driving South towards the Linn Cove Viaduct the overlook will be on your right. To the left is a pretty standard view of the Appalachian Mountains. However, to the right is something (actually several things) worth taking a look at.

Directly in front of the parking area you will see a rocky slope that is home to a very small water slide that drains below the parking area. At the top of the slope, you will see a bridge that is part of the hiking trails. It may be about 60 feet from the parking area to the bridge. As you can see from the picture above, there is very little water flow here. This is about as much water as I have seen come down the rocks, and this is just after a recent snow and several rains. The good news is, I've never seen it dry.

While this is not a spectacular waterfall, it is one that is easily accessible, even if you don't want to leave your car. However, since you are here, you might as well get out and stretch your legs for a few minutes. There is a section of stream that provides a bit of white water, although there is nothing particularly photogenic about it. The trail continues up to the top of Rough Ridge where you will get the opportunity to learn about some of the delicate ecosystems of the area and view the Linn Cove Viaduct from a boardwalk built along the side of the mountain. The hike is moderate to easy, but well worth the time.

A quick side note for this waterfall. As is the case with so many of these natural beauties that I have visited, there is evidence of vandals here. There are several places that have been spray painted. Again, the goal here is to enjoy the waterfalls, and leave no trace that we were ever there.