Waterrock Knob
Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina
hike difficulty
hike difficulty
Duration 1 hour
Elevation Gain 454 ft.
State North Carolina
Park/Forest Blue Ridge Parkway
Parking Fee None
Blaze None
Nearby City Sylva, NC
Trailhead Coord. 35.460063, -83.140482

Massive views abound throughout this short hike to the top of Waterrock Knob, one of the easiest of the Southern Sixers to climb. A paved path leading to an overlook half way up make this trail more accessible than others. If planning a trip along the southern section of the Blue Ridge Parkway, make this a must to stop at.

The large parking lot itself is impressive, with extensive views from both sides. To the southeast you can see Mount Pisgah, Shining Rock, and other notable mountain tops. To the northwest you can see prominent mountains of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, including Clingman’s Dome and Mt. LeConte.

The trailhead starts at the end of the larger second parking lot near the restrooms. Don’t let the short distance fool you; this hike climbs 450 feet in just a half mile making it quite a challenge. Right from the start this elevation change will make itself know to you, steadily climbing above the parking lot. A couple side trails exist along this stretch, but navigating the main trail is easy. At .2 miles up, the paved trail ends at a short flight of stairs to a moderate sized stone overlook.

From here, the pavement ends, giving way to dirt and rock. Heavy erosion control has been placed along this section and thus is very rocky. The left side of the trail drops off steeply is some places. Several stone and wooden steps take you quickly up the mountain to the summit. Explore around, there are several good views. In the winter, the peak is often fog covered.

Click on the thumbnails below to view the full size image or video.
  • Waterrock Knob
Green MarkerTrailhead   Blue MarkerPoint of Interest   Yellow MarkerDirections

View Waterrock Knob in a larger map
0,5835:0.0118000453611794,5838:0.0230291076107592,5846:0.033075652379165,5860:0.0436167565339809,5871:0.0536451748353414,5883:0.0646566366221199,5890:0.0758646741970958,5895:0.0857012152578124,5908:0.0974892236096214,5917:0.116592741210982,5925:0.126485655201306,5928:0.137987140849244,5933:0.14964913267081,5944:0.162012543814203,5949:0.173921742606832,5971:0.185711258408957,5987:0.194889201609458,6006:0.203018362444514,6010:0.220688568314307,6026:0.236378518836425,6042:0.248082359477559,6048:0.259591278641234,6058:0.273350548205697,6069:0.285652928617022,6076:0.296621004819658,6084:0.307131930127042,6091:0.318590581976075,6099:0.32930045584466,6103:0.339395118202509,6118:0.351240269569731,6127:0.363952339563144,6135:0.374326821602938,6157:0.385548366917612,6168:0.395502435663193,6181:0.408169268484801,6195:0.41585507309045,6203:0.430106344532417,6225:0.445016391355907,6244:0.457084107740494,6250:0.471812495258421,6274:0.484102932181616,6288:0.495602722679239,6289:0.50354317133355,6286:0.511873268372189,6278 5600 6400 100
Trailhead Coordinates
35.460063, -83.140482 (Degree Decimal, DegDec)
N 35°27.6, W 83°8.43 (Degree Minutes, MinDec)
N 35°27'36'', W 83°8'26'' (Degree Minutes Seconds, DMS)

Google Map It

Most auto GPS units use the Degree Minutes format as the default.

Further Directions
The trailhead is on the right hand side at the end of the second parking lot once you turn off the parkway.


Ranger District Information
Maintained by the National Park Service
US Department of the Interior

Cautions & Warnings
Rocky trail, can be slick when wet.
Steep drop offs. Watch children.