Living in the city is great but sometimes you still crave some greenery. Parks are awesome but seeing mountains filled with lush trees and other plants under the clear blue skies gives a fantastic feeling too.

After dining in various restaurants in Cherokee, you shouldn’t forget to enjoy the natural scenic views. The mountains look amazing at any time of day. What’s even better is that you don’t even need to hike to appreciate it. You could simply go for scenic drives to experience it.

You can come and take drive tours all year round but one of the best times is during autumn. It’s when the leaves change colors. Get the most out of your trip and don’t miss any of these gorgeous overlooks.

Thunderstruck Ridge

Located on the Blue Ridge Parkway, at MP 454.4, you’d find a somewhat secluded gem, the Thunderstruck ridge overlook. If you go further up the road, you’ll reach the Waterrock Knob, which is a parking lot that is filled with lots more people.

The Thunderstruck Ridge is a small overlook but its views are just as good as those in Waterrock. The best thing is that it isn’t as popular so there will be fewer people and you get to enjoy the view more privately.

Richland Balsam

This overlook, found at milepost 431.4, is the highest point in the Blue Ridge Parkway. At 6,053 feet above sea level, you’ll find sites of wilderness that are quite similar to the Canadian wilderness.

Fraser fir trees and red spruce are mostly found here. Ferns and a mossy natural surrounding are what you’ll also discover here.

For an even better view of the mountains, you can also go for a hike. To get to the mountain summit, you’ll need to pass through an overlook located southeast of the Richland Balsam overlook.

Big Witch Gap

Beautiful colors of fall could also be seen at this overlook. Even if you don’t go here in fall, you’ll still enjoy looking at the wonderful flowers of the rosebay rhododendrons that bloom in the months of May and June.

The Big Witch Gap was named after a medicine man of the Cherokee Indians. He had the sacred job of getting eagle feathers for their sacred ceremonies. He died as a 90-year-old man in 1898.

Level up your viewing pleasure by packing snacks or lunch. You can comfortably dine at the picnic tables that are conveniently located in the parking lot.


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