A large sign welcomes visitors to the “Highest Elevation on the Blue Ridge Parkway Motor Road”. At 6,053′ above sea level the Richland Balsam Overlook is the highest point on the entire Parkway and provides a stunning view of the lower mountain landscapes surrounding the peak. Take a selfie with the sign, enjoy a picnic, or take a hike at this overlook.
Located at Milepost 431.4 the Richland Balsam Overlook is just an hour from Cherokee and Brevard via the Blue Ridge Parkway. The overlook consists of a large parking area with a beautiful view. The trees in front of the overlook block part of the view, preventing a sweeping panorama, but it’s still a nice area to visit.
Enthusiastic hikers can also embark on the Richland Balsam Trail to the summit of the mountain. The 1.5-mile loop trails takes hikers through a dense forest to the summit at 6,410′. It’s a gradual, but constant, ascent to the summit which makes for a strenuous hike there but easy return. Richland Balsam is one of the tallest mountains in the Southeastern United States so even on the hottest summer day a hike here would be cool and refreshing.
Be sure to read my Blue Ridge Parkway Guide for more information, amazing destinations, and photos.