Don’t Miss These Bucket List Views
Spy Rock: 360 Degrees of Grandeur
Described by some as “the best viewpoint in the central Blue Ridge” Spy Rock offers a fully panoramic view including the neighboring mountain summits of the Priest and the Three Ridges. At nearly 4,000 feet of elevation, visitors will breath fresh mountain air while “standing on top of the world.”
The traditional route rises approximately 2 miles up a strenuous climb from the Montebello Fish Hatchery. Or, take the alternative route up Meadows Lane which, while slightly longer, reduces the overall elevation gain and avoids skirting private property above the hatchery. Or combine it with a trip to Crabtree Falls, described by HikingUpward as “one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Virginia, and certainly the tallest.” Falling in series of cliffs and breaks, the water moving through Crabtree Falls has carved a rare hanging valley and plunges a total of 1,080 feet on its way to the Tye River.
Do Go Chasing Waterfalls
Wait, waterfalls?! If the magic of white brush strokes on outdoor photography is calling your name, the diversity of waterfalls views and experiences is as breathtaking as any mountain summit. Nestled in hollows, along the steep granite and limestone geographies of the Blue Ridge, nearby waterfalls are as stunning as they are variable. Heading south on the Blue Ridge Parkway, White Rock Falls sits at milepost 19.9, followed by Wigwam Falls (milepost 34.4), Apple Orchard Falls (milepost 78.4), and Fallingwater Cascades (milepost 83.1).
Humpback Rocks: The Destination for Sunsets and Mountain Vistas
Located at the very northern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Humpback Rocks has visitors scrambling for cameras and handholds as soon as they reach the summit, which arrives following a steep one-mile climb from the trailhead. Perfect for both the adventurous family picnic and the romantic sunset date, Humpback Rocks has been a beacon for travelers since at least the 1840s when it was a landmark guiding wagon trails over the Howardsville Turnpike. The trail gains a total of 800’ and includes views to the north (Shenandoah National Park) and west (the sweeping floor of the Shenandoah Valley).
Travelers can combine this vista with history lessons from the adjacent Outdoor Farm Museum, featuring costumed interpreters and historic log-cabin architecture to provide demonstrations on the once lifestyles of regional subsistence farmers.
Heart-opening views do not require heart-pounding hikes. This turn-by-turn list of overlooks by milepost number offer drivers the assurance of rolling ridgetops and mountain sceneries along the many pull-offs along the Blue Ridge Parkway. We recommend 20 Minute Cliff, Ravens Roost, and Chimney Rock Mountain overlooks as destinations sure to wow, with photography options morning, day, and evening.
For an 80-foot free-fall waterfall explorable by motorists, drive south and west towards Covington to take in Falling Spring Falls. Family and pet friendly, a picnic area offers visitors the chance to kick-back and relax amidst the joy of making memories.