Be sure to stop at the highest point on the Blue Ridge Parkway! and also there"s a good highland hike that offers a cool hiking alternative on hot summer days. There space two overlooks because that Richland Balsam, near Milepost 431 (about 45 miles from downtown Asheville). Driving south on the Blue Ridge Parkway, you will certainly reach the parking area top top the appropriate first, signed "Haywood-Jackson Overlook." This is wherein you park because that the 1.5-mile loop hike to the height of Richland Balsam (read an ext below). Continue south top top the Parkway about 1/3 mile come the overlook on the left v the big sign proclaiming "Highest Elevation" on the Parkway (6,053 feet). Enjoy the views from the parking area and also snap a photo of you v the sign.

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Richland Balsam HikeRichland Balsam hill rises come 6,410 feet and is the highest possible peak on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The 1.5-mile self-guided loop follow passes v a spruce-fir woodland (best smelling trace on the Parkway) and passes end the summit that the 10th highest possible in the eastern unified States. You climb around 700 vertical feet, yet it"s not overly strenuous. Because this is among the greatest elevation hikes in the East, it"s a good spot for a refresh hike top top the hot summer day in the reduced elevations. However, the winter right here is brutal, for this reason the Parkway is close up door in the area because that the winter - and also sometimes so late fall and also early Spring. Richland Balsam is right now the step of a struggle in between the Fraser Fir and also the balsam woolly adelgids. By chance introduced into the U. S. Roughly 1900, the adelgid an initial appeared in ~ this site in the so late 1970"s. Once infested, most firs die, leave the gray "snags" as mute testimony. The key at the start of the follow is 6020".

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Summer wildflowers abound in ~ the Richland Balsam overlook. 

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This great picnic point out is in ~ the Haywood Jackson Overlook, Milepost 431 and elevation 6,020 feet.

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Directions: Located at Milepost 431 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Richland Balsam area is about 36 miles from Asheville’s leave on the Parkway in ~ NC Highway 191. When the drive on the Parkway is one of the many scenic in the country, intend slower traffic and plenty the curves. Permit 1.5 hours to drive. This section of the Parkway closes typically during the winter for snow and also ice. Read more about existing Parkway closures. Over there is no street deal with for GPS.