Star Struck

Five cool spots to visit in Jackson County, NC to be one with the night

1.  Black Balsam Knob 

One of the greatest hikes along the Blue Ridge Parkway, Black Balsam Trail scales Black Balsam Knob. Once you reach 6,000 feet, the mountaintops are almost completely void of trees, making for incredible views and invigorating hikes.  

2.  Waterrock Knob 

For a steep hike with great views along the way, Waterrock Knob Trail will literally take your breath away. A 1.2-mile roundtrip hike will take you to the top of the 6,292-foot summit. The vigorous climb gains 412 feet in elevation and features great views along the way. See up to 50 miles out on a clear day to the Smokies. 

3.  Whiteside Mountain 

Whiteside Mountain now boasts the highest vertical cliffs in the eastern United States—about 1,800 feet.

4.  Pinnacle Park Trail 

After a 7-mile trek that ascends more than 3,000 ft. in elevation, enjoy incredible views of the mountains below and the stars above. The 1,000-acre town park features streams, waterfalls and panoramic views throughout. The 3.4-mile trail to the top follows an old logging road for most of its length.

5.  Richland Balsam Trail 

The best-smelling trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway, this 1.5-mile loop winds through a spruce-fir forest. Easy hike to the highest peak along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Even though the climb is about 700 vertical feet, the Richard Balsam Trail is not overly strenuous, and the cooler temps make for a refreshing hike during hot summer months. 

When hiking to view the beautiful night skies, guests are recommended to either pack gear to stay the night, or bring flashlights and take care while climbing down since you only have natural moon and starlight to guide you!

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