After yesterday's rain, it was wonderful to see blue skies.
I planned a waterfall tour that included several stops and about five miles of hiking. Didn't know if we would get to all of them, but we set out to give it a shot.
As I mentioned the other day, the Blue Ridge Parkway is three miles from our campground. The Parkway runs along the Blue Ridge Mountains from the southern end of Shenandoah National Park in Virgina through North Carolina and ends at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
It's 469 total miles, and our nearest access point is around Mile Post 393 at Hwy 191. The North Carolina Arboretum was on the right as soon as we turned onto the Parkway. Perhaps we will visit there another day.
We immediately started the climb up into the mountains. There are numerous overlooks to pull over and take in the views.
It's easy to see why they call them the Blue Ridge Mountains.
We continued on through several tunnels and past Mt. Pisgah Lodge and a fire tower.
Eventually, we exited near Mile Post 412 and headed east on Hwy 276/Wagon Gap Road. We passed the Sliding Rock Recreation Area, but we stopped for a quick photo op.
Then we stopped at the Moore Cove parking area and started up the Moore Cove Falls trail.
It was a wonderful little hike on a gorgeous day.
According to the sign at the trailhead, it was .7 miles to Moore Cove Falls, a low flow waterfall in a nice setting.
That was the first waterfall on today's tour, and we got a little exercise.
About a mile farther down the road was the parking area for Looking Glass Falls. It's one of the most photographed falls in the area because it's large and right by the road. However, it was in the shadows, so we decided to return later when the sun would highlight it better.
Moving on, we went down Forest Road 475 to the end of the pavement and parked across from the Cove Creek Group Camp Area road.
We walked up the road, crossed a foot bridge, passed some small cascades and a camping area, and then came to another sliding rock and pool.
Before continuing, I got a shot of this butterfly.
We walked on up the road past another camping area. Unfortunately, I didn't read the directions to the next waterfall as well as I should have. We followed a trail, passed a small waterfall, and came to a larger waterfall where we had lunch with no one around.
Unfortunately, we couldn't get a good look without scrambling down a very steep slope. And, later we discovered that wasn't the waterfall we set out to find. We were supposed to follow a different path. Oops.
But, it was another great hike and a good three-mile workout.
Next, we drove up another gravel forest road to Slickrock Falls. The falls are visible from the road, and it was a short walk. Again, we were by ourselves.
I scrambled down below for a couple more shots.
After spending some time there, we returned to Looking Glass Falls.
Unlike our other stops, there were lots of people here.
We walked out on some rocks and were able to get some nice pics from below the falls.
On the way back up the steps to the parking area, a trio of Tiger Swallowtail butterflies posed for us.
On to our last waterfall for today.
Back up on the Parkway, we made a couple of stops at overlooks.
This overlook provided a good view of Looking Glass Rock.
Apparently, when the face of the rock is wet and the sun shines on it, the reflection looks like a mirror.
Across from the overlook at Mile Post 417, is the trailhead for Skinny Dip Falls. We started down the trail and made a brief stop at this "dragon" tree.
Shortly thereafter, we started the descent down the rocky, rooty trail.
We were glad to have the ankle support of our hiking boots on this one-mile roundtrip trail.
This is a popular trail, but fortunately the water was a bit cold for any skinny dipping. :) A very pretty area, though.
We spent a short time here ....
before heading back up.
So, we got in over five miles of hiking, saw some beautiful scenery, and had a great drive on the Parkway and through the Pisgah National Forest.
Back home, Linda talked to her family and I did my usual Sunday evening phone call to my folks.
We invited Mike from Minnesota to dinner, but he had already made plans with some people he met on his Parkway drive.
So, we enjoyed Linda's delicious roast that had been cooking all day in the crockpot. What a nice end to a wonderful day.
Well, that was our waterfall tour. Hope you enjoyed tagging along. :)