Are you heading out to the Blue Ridge Parkway and want a short but very rewarding hike? Then look no further than Devil’s Courthouse! The hike to the viewpoint is less than a mile from the parking lot and it’s got sweeping views of the surrounding region
To really make a day out of your Blue Ridge Parkway day trip, combine this stop with one at Black Balsam Knob. Both of these hikes are short and relatively easy, which will allow for you to make several other stops during your day. But they’ll also give you sweeping views of the surrounding mountains.
Hike to the Top of Devil’s Courthouse
So Devil’s Courthouse is actually the name of a mountain along the Blue Ridge Parkway. (It’s technically in the Pisgah National Forest.) And you have two main overlooks here.
The first is the overlook from the parking lot. If the hike to the top of the mountain isn’t for you, I’d pull over just for the views from the parking lot. And of course of the mountain itself.
Devil’s Courthouse looms over the parking lot. It may have gotten its name from the way the rock formation looks (I don’t think it looks sinister), or from legends that there’s cave within the mountain where the devil (or giant, depending on your lore) holds court. Either way, it’s impressive.
To get to the best overlook, you’ll want to follow the roughly half mile trail up to the top of the mountain.
First head up the sidewalk along the parkway towards the mountain. Before you hit the tunnel, the trail will turn off to your right and begin its real trek up.
It’s less than a half mile total up to the top. But it’s pretty steep and quite strenuous. The first part of the trail is paved which makes for easier going, but the paved trail does end. You’ll then be making your way along dirt, stones, steps, and rocks.
To be honest, I thought this trail was going to be super easy. But I was seriously huffing and puffing up to the top. So be sure to take breaks if you need to!
When you reach the top, there’s a beautiful overlook offering panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. The overlook is mostly enclosed by a rock wall.
And please, please, please stay within the rock wall. The cliffs are used by peregrine falcons for nesting and disturbing them could be detrimental to their offspring.
The top of the mountain sits at 5,720 ft and you’ll see land in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee.
I was super impressed with the views here and was glad we made this stop a priority. It was also an easy hike for Ellie (our dog).
If you come during peak times (weekends, especially in the fall), expect crowds. This prominent mountain and its famed views get loads of visitors. But they come for good reason! The fall colors here were outstanding.
However if you’re looking to avoid the crowds, I’d plan your visit for a weekday or for early morning.
The only other thing to keep in mind is that sometimes sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway close in the winter months. So keep an eye on the Parkway closures when planning your day.