Hike to Rough Ridge on the Tanawha Trail from Beacon Heights

Beacon Heights Parking Area

An easy day hike that parallels the Blue Ridge Parkway along the Tanawha Trail starting at Beacon Heights (Mile Post 305.5).

If you're feeling frisky, set your alarm for the early am and park at the Beacon Heights Parking area about 30 minutes before dawn. Put on your head lamp and hike the short trip to Beacon Heights, bask in the glory of the warm morning sun, then head back down and connect with the Tanawha Trail. As you leave Beacon Heights be sure to look up and see Grandfather Mountain smiling down on you - he's happy you're out enjoying the earth.

At about 1.5 miles you will pass under the Linn Cove Viaduct and then hike steeply up, past a boulder wall. You will come to the Wilson's Creek area next and signage letting you know to head right for Rough Ridge or left for Beacon Heights. Cross the Creek on the wooden bridge and then parallel the parkway for about a mile and a half until you reach Rough Ridge. There are several boulders to hike around and plenty of water should you need a refill. Spend your half way point on Rough Ridge eating lunch and enjoying the views all the way to Linville Gorge. If you're still feeling frisky, get a picture on the granite outcropping that'll make your mom want to faint. Pack it all up and head back the way you came.

This is a delicate ecosystem area with signage to remind you to stay on the trail - please do so. 

For details on doing the full Tanawha Trail click the link.

Pack List

  • Head Lamp if you're doing sunrise
  • Water and/or filter
  • Trail meal
  • Camera
  • Hiking Poles
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RT Distance 8.2 Miles
Activities Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Dog Friendly
Family Friendly
Forest
Picnic Area
River
Romantic
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Quick Little Hike with Great Views! (MP 302)

Thanks to the reviewer who mentioned that you can get a great, short hike out of this by going to MP 302 and taking a short hike straight to the top. This place was CROWDED on the beautiful weekend we went. It's lovely at the top and definitely worth the short hike to the top but if you are looking to escape the crowds - this is not the one for you. I'd like to go back sometime and do the full day hike as described but we had limited time. Really great if you are driving the Blue Ridge looking for short hikes along the way.

Great Hike!

So I did a different version of this hike and it was only about a mile long from the parking are at MP 302 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Short but sweet, I did this hike on a day I was driving back home; I took the BRP and stopped for a little to hike up to the summit right after sunrise. The views are incredible and the rock you can sit on makes you look like you're hanging off the edge of the world (you're not, it's quite safe). Overall I recommend this hike!


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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