Place

Devils Courthouse Overlook

Devils Courthouse with fall foliage
Fall Colors at Devils Courthouse

NPS Photo / A. Armstrong

Quick Facts

Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits, Parking - Auto, Picnic Table, Scenic View/Photo Spot, Trailhead, Trash/Litter Receptacles

There’s no missing Devils Courthouse.

Rising above the surrounding spruce forest at an imposing 5,720 feet, this dark mass of exposed rock seems to almost hang over its surroundings. According to Cherokee legend, a powerful mountain giant named Judaculla danced and held court in an underground chamber beneath the rock. A strenuous half-mile trail leads visitors to the very top of this fabled dance hall, where, on a clear day, sweeping views stretch into North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee.

But it’s not just a pretty view. Devils Courthouse also provides habitat for a variety of rare, high-altitude species that migrated here during the last Ice Age. With ample heat rising from the valley, it’s also the perfect territory for birds of prey, including peregrine falcons who nest on the side of the rock’s face—but they’ll only return if their home is left undisturbed. Due to this area’s unique ecology, it is critical that casual visitors and serious hikers alike follow all posted signs and trail regulations, like no climbing on the rock outcroppings and remaining behind the established wall at the trail’s end. By staying on the trail, we can ensure that these natural wonders remain protected for years to come.

Blue Ridge Parkway

Last updated: November 7, 2021