parkway high elevation hike

HAYWOOD — Explore the high-elevation trails of the Blue Ridge Parkway — ideal for the hottest month of summer — with a special guided hike series offered by Haywood County Recreation and Parks.

This month's guided hike series highlights trails off and long the Blue Ridge Parkway and will educate hikers on the history, features and many trailheads along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Haywood County.

Haywood County boasts more miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway of any other county along its 469-mile journey through N.C. and Virginia. The Parkway provides access to many high-elevation trailheads on adjacent public lands — both Parkway land and Pisgah National Forest Land — making it prime hiking country.

All hikes are led by local, experienced guides. The cost is $10 per hike. To reserve a spot, call 828-452-6789 or email

The August line-up includes:

• August 4: Soco Gap to Soco Gap Overlook.

This easy 2-mile hike follows a trail that parallels the Blue Ridge Parkway around the Maggie Valley entrance. Led by Kathy Odvody and Lisa Cook.

• August 11: Balsam Gap

This 2.2-mile hike follows a trail that parallels the Blue Ridge Parkway from Grassy Ridge Mine to Licklog Overlook. Led by Kathy Odvody

• August 14: Soco Gap to Waterrock Knob

This 4.5-mile hike is off the Blue Ridge Parkway, heading from Maggie Valley back toward Waynesville. Elevation gain of 2,000 feet. Moderate/hard. Led by Phyllis Woolen & Jamie Shackelford

• August 18: Mountains to Sea Trail to Skinny Dip Falls

This 3.6-mile hike off the Blue Ridge Parkway will go past Skinny Dip Falls, a lush swimming hole at the base of a sweet cascade. Elevation gain of 947 feet. Led by Phyllis Woollen and Vickey Watson.