Waterrock Knob - Milepost 451.2

View of mountains and Parkway from Waterrock Knob summit trail
The Blue Ridge Parkway reaches some of its highest points in the Waterrock Knob area, including Richland Balsam (highest point on the Parkway) and Waterrock Knob Visitor Center (highest visitor center on the Parkway).

Harold Blackwood photo


Located at 5,820 feet in elevation, Waterrock Knob is the Parkway's highest visitor center. Known for its beautiful long-range views of several major mountain chains in the Appalachians, Waterrock Knob is uniquely suited for viewing sunrises and sunsets. The visitor center introduces the area's rugged terrain and tremendous scenes. The Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians makes this section of North Carolina their home. The visitor center is open seasonally.

Learn more about the Native American culture and influence on the Parkway.

Dusting of snow lining the Waterrock Knob trail
The Waterrock Knob Trail leads from the Parkway's highest elevation visitor center.  The weather here is often completely different than lower elevations.

Robert Stephens photo

At a Glance:

  • Visitor Center
  • Hiking trails

Points of Interest:

Visitor Center: Talk to a ranger for information, explore the exhibits, and pick up a map. Open seasonally; check the opening schedule for specific dates.

Sleeping and Eating:

Waterrock Knob has no sleeping or eating options. See nearby towns for accommodations. On the Parkway, Mt. Pisgah is the closest campground.

Things to Do:

Hike to the Top: Take a brisk, steep walk from the visitor center to the top of Waterrock Knob. The trail is 1.2 miles round-trip. The summitt is 6,273 feet in elevation, and is the highest point on the parkway! (The highest point you can drive to on the parkway is located at Richland Balsam, elevation 6,047 feet. You can reach it by driving approximately 20 miles towards the north from Waterrock Knob.)

Watch the Sunrise or Sunset: Grab your camp chairs and relax! Enjoy the sunrise or sunset with stunning 360° views. Waterrock Knob is at high elevation, which means it can be chilly at night – dress accordingly!

Last updated: August 24, 2017

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

199 Hemphill Knob Rd
Asheville, NC 28803


828 348-3400

Contact Us