Blue Ridge Parkway
15 to 20 miles from Ranch
WATERROCK KNOB - This incredible lookout is the 16th highest mountain in the Eastern U.S. Located at Milepost 451.2, it features the last hiking trail along the Parkway before you reach the Great Smoky Mountains. To get there, drive to the bottom of Fie Top Road, take a right, and follow the road until you go under a bridge. Right after the bridge take an immediate left, and then another right turn. After this, you will be on the Blue Ridge Parkway, where you can explore each turn-off or head straight to Waterrock Knob.
20 minutes from Ranch
BIG CREEK - To get to this beautiful trail, take Interstate 40 to the NC - Tennessee border. Take exit 451 and drive past the Waterville hydroelectric plant. Follow the brown park service signs past the intersection at Mt. Sterling Gap and into the park. Be aware of pick-up trucks that are towing horse trailers on this narrow dirt road. The distance from the exit on the Interstate to the entrance of the Big Creek area is less than three miles.
About an hour from Ranch
GRAVEYARD FIELDS - This looped trail on the Parkway is a special favorite of Cataloochee neighbor Penny Redfern. Hike down a well maintained, shady trail to the big waterfall. Located at Milepost 418.8 (exploreasheville.com/stories/post/graveyard-fields-loop-trail
.) "A little further down the Parkway, The Pisgah Inn is a good spot for a late lunch after your hike. Enjoy their spectacular view, " says Penny.
Round trip with lunch, 4 hours
SOCO FALLS - A double waterfall on the edge of the Cherokee Indian Reservation. To get to the waterfall, go down Fie Top Road, turn right at the bottom at the four lane, and go past the Blue Ridge Parkway for 1.5 miles. Look for a sign before you arrive at the
waterfall which reads "Soco Falls 1/2 mile ahead." There will be a small roadside parking area on the left once you arrive. You can hear the falls from the roadside parking.
15-20 miles from Ranch