Grassy Ridge Mine Overlook Trailhead

Hiker walking along a narrow trail in a lush green forest
Hiking on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail

Laura White Photo

Quick Facts
Milepost 436.8
High Elevation Trailhead

Parking - Auto, Picnic Table, Scenic View/Photo Spot, Trailhead, Trash/Litter Receptacles

Get away from the hustle and bustle by heading toward Balsam Gap, down south on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Enjoy a relaxing and tranquil hike by accessing the Mountains-to-Sea Trail at Grassy Ridge Mine Overlook on the Parkway at Milepost 436.8. The name comes from an old mica mine that was located below the overlook. It operated from the mid-1800’s until the 1920’s.

Two different hiking options await you. Walk up behind the picnic table and the trail forks to the left. It traverses north 1.7-miles to Licklog Ridge Overlook. This leisurely walk takes you from the Grassy Ridge Mine Overlook parking area to the Licklog Ridge Overlook and returns for a total of 3.4 miles. A second option is to go straight at the trailhead fork where the trail bends to the right to follow the Mountains-to-Sea Trail south. On this path you can walk as far as you like and return the same way.

This part of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail does not stray far from the Parkway but still gives the illusion of being on an “off the grid” walk. The terrain is up and down, but not really steep for long periods. Parts of the trail are rocky, so sturdy footwear is necessary.

The trail provides a pleasant hike into the remnants of a high elevation oak forest that are found in spots along the parkway. Awaiting you is an overstory of oak and birch that was logged several years ago, but still has some older trees remaining. This walk is flush with spring and summer wildflowers and has fall color well into October. High elevation birds you may spot in summer include: veery, rose-breasted grosbeak, blue-headed vireo, dark-eyed junco, winter wren, scarlet tanager, black-and-white warbler, least flycatcher and golden-crowned kinglet.

This section of the Mountains-to Sea Trail is a pleasant foray into the high elevation forests not far from the Parkway itself that still puts you in a relatively secluded, easy to moderate hiking situation.

Blue Ridge Parkway

Last updated: October 20, 2020