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Photo Gallery: Exploring North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains

Posted On September 10, 2017 at 3:12 am by / Comments Off on Photo Gallery: Exploring North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains

By Michael Lanza

Spanning Georgia to Pennsylvania, the Blue Ridge Mountains reach their apex in a rumpled carpet of forested mountains sprawling across western North Carolina. Scores of peaks over 5,000 and 6,000 feet—the highest east of the Mississippi—host craggy summits, hundreds of beautiful waterfalls, and more plant species than any other park in the country.

And, by the way, some of the nicest hiking in America.

The name “Blue Ridge” comes from the bluish tint of the mountains when seen from a distance (usually from a high overlook), caused by the trees releasing isoprene into the air, creating the blue haze. Trails often begin in the forest, but many ascend above treeline to expansive vistas and pass some of the prettiest waterfalls I’ve seen in more than three decades of hiking all over America and the world.

The Blue Ridge Parkway, which snakes for 469 miles along the spine of Blue Ridge Mountains from Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, provides a convenient and scenic base of travel for hitting many of the more than 100 trailheads and over 300 miles of trails along it. In North Carolina, many of the best hikes are protected within the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests.

 

The Big Outside is proud to partner with sponsors Backcountry.com and Visit North Carolina, who support the stories you read at this blog. Find out more about them and how to sponsor my blog at my sponsors page at The Big Outside. Click on the backcountry.com ad below for the best prices on great gear.

 

 

The photo gallery below shows the hikes I took during a week of hiking in western North Carolina; I think the images will show you the scenic quality of this area. Below the gallery, you’ll find links to stories I’ve published about hiking in backpacking there at The Big Outside.

Please leave a comment at the bottom of this story if you care to suggest a hike I didn’t get to, or have any ideas or feedback for other readers and me.

 

Get the right pack for you. See my picks for “The 10 Best Backpacking Packs” and 6 favorite daypacks.

 

Looking Glass Rock, Pisgah National Forest.
Linville Gorge, Pisgah National Forest.
Crabtree Falls, Pisgah National Forest.
A viewpoint along Blue Ridge Parkway, Pisgah National Forest.
Roaring Fork Falls, Pisgah National Forest.
Black Mountain Crest Trail to Mount Mitchell, Pisgah National Forest.
A viewpoint along Blue Ridge Parkway, Pisgah National Forest.
Black Mountain Crest Trail to Mount Mitchell, Pisgah National Forest.
Looking Glass Rock, Pisgah National Forest.
Looking Glass Rock, Pisgah National Forest.
Art Loeb Trail, Tennent Mountain, Pisgah National Forest.
A viewpoint along Blue Ridge Parkway, Pisgah National Forest.
View from the Art Loeb Trail, Pisgah National Forest.
Devils Courthouse, Pisgah National Forest.
Devils Courthouse, Pisgah National Forest.
Linville Falls, Pisgah National Forest.

A viewpoint along Blue Ridge Parkway, Pisgah National Forest.
A viewpoint along Blue Ridge Parkway, Pisgah National Forest.
Black Mountain Crest Trail to Mount Mitchell, Pisgah National Forest.
North Cove, Blue Ridge Parkway, Pisgah National Forest.

For detailed info, see all of my stories about hiking and backpacking in North Carolina, including “The 12 Best Dayhikes Along North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Parkway,” “Roof of the East: Hiking North Carolina’s Mount Mitchell,” and “Photo Gallery: Waterfalls of the North Carolina Mountains.” And look for my upcoming feature story about backpacking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

 

Find great deals and support my blog by buying your hiking and backpacking gear at backcountry.com.

 

Find more info at visitnc.com, and see this RomanticAsheville.com list of the top 60 waterfalls near Asheville (some of which are in my above photo gallery).

 

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Hi, I’m Michael Lanza, the creator of The Big Outside, recognized as a top outdoors blog by USA Today and others. I invite you to get email updates about new stories and gear giveaways by entering your email address in the box in the left sidebar, at the bottom of this post, or on my About page, and follow my adventures on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

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