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Waterrock Knob [MP 451.2]

Named after a natural spring that runs over the rocks on the summit, Waterrock Knob is the highest peak in the Plott Balsams and is the 16th highest mountain in the eastern United States.

The mountain is split by both Haywood and Jackson counties in the western mountains of the state. It is located in the Plott Balsams mountain chain between the Great Smoky Mountains and the Great Balsam Mountains. The mountain’s summit is located within the Blue Ridge Parkway lands.

From Waterrock Knob parking lot take in the amazing views to the southeast and beyond, or go over to the store and take in views of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Cherokee just below you. You do not have to hike the trail to the summit to have excellent views of the surrounding mountains but if you’re capable of hiking a strenuous trail, it is strongly recommended. If you can’t make the hike, take a picnic lunch and make use of the multiple tables that are provided in the “mile high” parking area, again, with amazing views. But if you do feel up to the 1.2 mile hike (uphill the entire way) you will be rewarded with near 360-degree views.


Excerpted from TripAdvisor hiker reviews:

We visit every year! – You should really do yourself a favor and take this hike. It is steep but not that challenging to someone in reasonable shape. It’s a really good way to walk off all of those pancakes from Joey’s. They have a neat little Ranger station with some goodies if you feel like you want to pick something up that actually was purchased up there. All in all, very cool and a hike we never miss. ” — user RILKEAN

Beautiful Views! – Great place to take in gorgeous views of the Smoky Mountains. From this vantage point, you can even see Harrah’s Casino in Cherokee, NC. The location has clean restroom facilities and a gift shop containing [souvenirs] and bottled/canned drinks available. Also, the drive up the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Knob provides additional great views, including large waterfalls that can be seen in the winter months. Water Rock Knob offers a steep uphill hike on wooden steps, pavement, and then dirt and rock at the highest elevations above the parking lot area. It is worth the hike up, and has a landing about halfway up, where you can even get a better view certain times of the year. It is a steep hike.” — user gdt655 Waynesville, NC

What a View – This is our favorite local escape. The scenery is breathtaking and there is never any problem parking. We often bring picnic lunch or grab a nearby sub sandwich and watch the sunset from the picnic tables. You will also meet great people from all over the world that are here to visit. ” — user PKexperience West Palm Beach, FL

  • Waterrock Knob Trail [MP 451.2] boasts the highest elevation of all Parkway trails, offering expansive views of the Smoky Mountains and Maggie Valley.

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