For a more curated experience check out trail guides from our partner publishers.
Best Hikes with Dogs: North Carolina
by Karen Chavez (The Mountaineers Books)
The Richland Balsam Nature Loop Trail is relatively short, but combined with the Waterrock Knob Trail, another short but steep hike 20 miles farther south on the Blue Ridge Parkway, the two trails make a complete day of hiking and sightseeing. Starting at an already lofty elevation of 6020 feet, Richland Balsam is a great warm-weather hike since it tends to be cool even in summer, making it suitable for large or long-haired dogs. It is just about 0.5 mile north of the Richland Balsam Overlook, which is the highest point on the Blue Ridge Parkway at 6047 feet elevation.
Best Easy Day Hikes: Blue Ridge Parkway
by Randy Johnson (Falcon Guides)
Numbered posts keyed to an interpretive brochure describe the changing composition of a lofty spruce/fir forest at more than 6,000 feet—the highest elevation reached by a Parkway
Hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway
Numbered posts keyed to an interpretive brochure describe the changing composition of a lofty spruce-fir forest at 6,410 feet—the highest elevation reached by a Parkway trail. Here’s an oddity—a kind of rough, rooty trail a lot like the backcountry tracks that wind everywhere in western North Carolina’s national forests. The Richland Balsam Trail is the perfect counterpoint to the Parkway’s generally groomed paths. It’s also the Parkway’s best path to experience the aromatic lushness of the dripping, cloud-dampened spruce-fir forest.
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