The non-commercialized 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway begins in Waynesboro, Virginia, and stretches all the way to Cherokee, North Carolina. Billed as "America's Favorite Drive," this one-of-a-kind stretch of road overflows with must-see sights and experiences.
From man-made to natural attractions to those that fall somewhere in between, ample adventure awaits you and your group.
Keep reading to discover several of the top Blue Ridge Parkway sights near Roanoke.
NOTE: Portions of the Parkway are occasionally closed due to inclement weather, road repairs, and improvement projects. Please check the National Park Service website to help plan your visit.
Peaks Of Otter | Milepost 85.6
The Peaks of Otter stand as a timeless testament to the region's natural beauty. These three prominent peaks—Sharp Top, Flat Top, and Harkening Hill—grace the landscape, offering visitors an unparalleled experience along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Harvey’s Knob Overlook | Milepost 95
Perched at an elevation of 2,580 feet along the Blue Ridge Parkway, Harvey's Knob Overlook offers a unique view of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountain. This ideal vantage point is perfect for birding enthusiasts and is known for the annual Hawk Watch. Whether you're seeking solitude and reflection or embarking on a scenic drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, Harvey's Knob is a worthy stop.
Roanoke River Overlook | Near Milepost 114
The Roanoke River Overlook, near milepost 114, is among the lower elevation overlooks along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Still, you wouldn’t know it with its irresistible views of the Niagara Dam and Roanoke River. The dam, constructed in 1906, still supplies the city of Roanoke with power.
Explore Park | Milepost 115
Explore Park is a nature lover’s playground with 1,200 acres of pristine beauty to check out. The park has over 14 miles of dual-use hiking and biking trails, with nine of those built for biking. Among the park’s other attractions are historical buildings, a brewery and restaurant, river frontage, canoeing, and overnight stays in cabins, yurts, or primitive campsites.
Additionally, for ages four and up, there’s Treetop Quest, an aerial obstacle course with zip lines, Tarzan swings, and other challenges.
Like many of the natural attractions in the area, Explore Park is one you can return to again and again and experience something new every time.
The Roanoke Star | Milepost 120
A longtime iconic symbol of the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Roanoke Star, which sits atop Mill Mountain, is the “world’s largest freestanding illuminated man-made star.” At the time of its construction in 1949, the idea was for the Roanoke Star to be a shining reminder of Christmas and the holiday shopping season.
Today, it is illuminated nightly until midnight and is one of the most photographed points of interest in the Roanoke region. Standing tall and stunning at 88.5 feet, this Blue Ridge Parkway attraction is more than worth your time.
Cahas Knob Overlook | Milepost 139
A fantastic way to lay eyes on the breathtaking Cahas Mountain is the Cahas Knob Overlook. The overlook rests at 3,013 feet and delivers an awe-inspiring view of the mountain. As you take in its glory, it’s exciting to recall the history of Cahas Mountain.
At the foot of the mountain is the Cahas Mountain Rural Historic District, which was along a main migration route. The majority of the historic structures were part of four farms, including the John and Susan Boon House and the Taylor-Price House.
Smart View Recreation Area | Milepost 154
At an elevation of 2,350 feet, Smart View Recreation Area provides a picturesque setting that captivates visitors throughout the year. The name "Smart View" aptly captures the essence of this recreation area, offering panoramic vistas that extend across the rolling hills and wooded valleys, providing an unobstructed view of the landscape that unfolds before you.
Rocky Knob Recreation Area - Milepost 167
The Rocky Knob Recreation Area spans 4,500 enchanting acres in the Blue Ridge Mountains. With 15 miles of hiking trails, camping sites, RV sites, and an abundance of picnic sites, this Blue Ridge Parkway attraction is a great place to spend a few hours or days. Plenty of spots within provide jaw-dropping views, and the area is home to the 3,500-acre Rock Castle Gorge.
The Rocky Knob Campground and its offerings are seasonal. You can learn more here.
Marby Mill | Milepost 176
Standing as an iconic testament to Appalachian craftsmanship and rural life, Mabry Mill is a jewel nestled along the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 176. This historic gristmill, sawmill, and blacksmith shop, dating back to the early 20th century, exude a rustic charm that draws visitors into the rich tapestry of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
To help you plan your next metro mountain adventure in Virginia's Blue Ridge, sign up to receive our monthly e-newsletter and request a copy of a free Visitor's Guide. You can also follow us on social media and check out our calendar of events for upcoming things to do.