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Blue Ridge Parkway

White Rocks


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On this moderate to strenuous 4.9 mile loop, enjoy lunch beside a boulder-lined creek then burn off your meal with a steep climb beside the White Rock Falls cascades.  There is an overall elevation gain of 860 feet for the whole loop.  The loop hike below starts from White Rocks Gap.  There is another option for those that would like a shorter option (further below).

For solitude on the northern stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway, skip the crowds at Humpback Rocks and drive south on the Parkway to MP 18.5. After parking, cross the parkway and look for the White Rock Falls trail marker. Follow the yellow-blazed trail as it unfurls beside lichen-covered rocks and gurgling White Rock Creek. The trail crosses the creek after 1.4 miles, where you’ll find boulder-lined pools ready-made for wading.

To finish the loop, rock-hop across the creek to switchbacks that travel close to the falls, tempering the scenic pay-off with a steep, 400-foot climb. An easy-to-miss side trail before the last switchback leads to hidden, but stellar views of the 35-foot falls. Once at the top, snap a photo of Priest Mountain then continue over rippling brooks and small wooden bridges. At the parkway, follow the trail across the road to Slacks Overlook, visible to your left. From the overlook, walk right to pick up the blue-blazed Slacks Overlook Trail, a narrow multi-use trail shared with mountain bikers. Turn right at White Rock Gap Trail (a left leads to Sherando Lake Campground) and continue for a half-mile back to your car.

A shorter option is to start at the Slacks Overlook and cross the parkway and descend to the falls for a shorter 1.3 mile moderate hike.  There is a side trail that leads to the best view of the falls that can be easily missed while doing this hike.

For more information on this hike, as well as many other hikes along the Parkway, get the hiking guide book Hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway. Look above for other great books featuring the Blue Ridge Parkway.

White Rock Falls along the Blue Ridge Parkway

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