Rough Ridge

Sunday afternoon I headed out with my roommates for a beautiful afternoon hike. Gotta take advantage of the beautiful fall weather while it lasts. And enjoy the Parkway before all the Floridians come and clog it up. I’m talking to you leaf-lookers.

We decided to tackle the Rough Ridge Trail just off the Blue Ridge Parkway (mile marker 302.5 if you’re interested!). Rough Ridge is one of my trails. It’s difficult, but fairly short, so you’re not dead by the time you reach the top.

And the view are AMAZING.

The hike begins with a small bridge over a waterfall.

Not a shabby way to start a hike.

The trail to the top is completely uphill and a little rough, hence the name. But it’s one of those hikes that looks far more intimidating than it really is. The trail is covered in large rocks which are kind of like stairs all the way to the top, which makes things pretty navigable.

About a third of the way in you reach a boardwalk which leads you out onto some large rocks. Oh yeah, and this view:

I spy an old man mountain, which is actually Table Rock Mountain. It looks so close but it’s actually two counties away, it’s amazing how far you can see. Apparently on a really clear day you can see all the way to Charlotte. Which is a 2 hour drive on the interstate from where we were.

This rock reminded me of the Lion King (:

The road is level with the parking lot you start at, and we’re not even halfway to the top yet!

After a quick photo break we continued our way up the trail. There’s a second amazing overlook about 2/3 of the way to the top, this overlook was much less crowded than the one closer to the bottom (apparently we weren’t the only ones taking advantage of the beautiful weather) so we took a moment to soak it all in.

Roommates! Minus one who was being responsible and doing homework.

We peeled ourselves away from the beautiful views and headed the rest of the way up the trails. Even though there are so beautiful stops along the way to the top, making it to the top is so worth it. Plus you feel pretty awesome when you look down and see how far up you are from where you started. You end up climbing about 480 ft from the start of the trail.

What’s up mountains?

They’re definitely called the Blue Ridge Mountains for a reason. Fun fact: the mountains are blue because the trees release hydrocarbons into the air which causes a bluish haze to form around them. You learn something new everyday. I love the blue, it makes the mountains looks like an ocean.

That’s small looking bridge is actually the Grandfather Mountain swinging bridge, which is in the next county over.

Fuzzy caterpillar! This was as close as I could get with my zoom lens.

We eventually worked our way back down the trail, which is about twice as fast as walking up and headed back to Boone. I need to come back when the leaves start to change, I can’t even imagine how amazing the views will look. If I can make it past all the Floridians that is (no offense to Floridians, we just get a lot of tourists this time of year because we have actual seasons, and I’m just lucky to live in a really beautiful area. But really, drive the speed limit).

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