Rough Ridge on the Tanawha Trail

  • Highlights: Great views, rock scrambles, wildflowers
  • Distance: 1.2 miles out and back 
  • Elevation Change 367 feet
  • Trail Surface: Dirt with lots of rocks, wood boardwalk
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Trailhead Parking: Rough Ridge Overlook, Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 302.8, Blowing Rock NC
  • Trail Markings: No blazes, signs at trail junctions
  • Website: AllTrails
  • Beer Pairings: Blowing Rock Brewery—Meadow Mist Hazy IPA & 321 Crushable IPA

Trail Map:

The Hike:

This short hike on the Tanawha Trail has some amazing views. It’s rocky and steep, but the views are well worth the effort. The trail leads through a dense thicket of mountain laurel and rhododendron and reaches a boardwalk and wood observation platform. The Rough Ridge Lookout has some of the best views on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Continue past the the boardwalk through more mountain laurel and rhododendron. The rocky trail passes through several switchbacks and reaches the summit area. Anchored cables guide the way to the summit’s enormous rock outcrop. Abundant views of , stretching northwest to Grandfather Mountain’s Calloway Peak, the Linn Cove Viaduct, Linville Gorge, and Beacon Heights. Savor the views and enjoy a snack. It’s just a short hike back to the Parkway and your vehicle.

Hike Photos:

Click on an image below for an enlarged view.

Beer Pairing:

Blowing Rock Brewery and Ale House is about 10 miles north of the trailhead on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The brewery has great food, 15 taps of craft beer, a full food menu, indoor and outdoor seating, and they are kid and dog friendly. 

Kathy really loved Meadow Mist (6.5% ABV • 40 IBU), a hazy IPA brewed with new-age hops and a unique malt profile of barley and triticale. It was one of her favorite beers of this hiking trip. Pete gave high marks to 321 Crushable IPA (4.8% ABV • 20 IBU) a west-coast style IPA brewed with Mosaic and El Dorado hops. Good food. Good beer. Great location.

Hike and drink responsibly. Never drink and drive. Stay safe, be responsible, and leave no trace.