Blue Ridge Parkway.
The Blue Ridge Parkway runs 429 miles from Virginia to North Carolina, linking Shenandoah National Park to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Since I now live in Roanoke, Virginia, I thought that I should get out and explore more of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Rock Castle Gorge Overlook.
Rock Castle Gorge Overlook is located at milepost 168.8 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
After we visited Mabry Mill, we decided to pull into this overlook on the return to Roanoke.
According to the National Park Service sign, the Rock Castle Gorge is best seen from the summit of Rocky Knob, where you can look into valley 1800 feet below.
The first settlers came before the American Revolution to farm the land. Six-sided crystals of colorless quartz occur here. The shapes reminded the settlers of castle towers, and that is how it came to be called Rock Castle.
Accessing the trail
You can access the Rock Castle Gorge Trail, which is a 10.8 mile loop from this overlook. We were on a day of exploration and not hiking (meaning that we did not bring the amount of food and water that we would have if this had been a hiking day). However, we did walk a little piece of the trail, accessed at milepost 168.0, The Saddle Overlook.
An old road parallels the creek through the gorge. Originally a trail, and then a wagon road, the old road is once again a hiking trail.
The part of the of the Rock Castle Gorge Overlook that caught my attention was this trio of rocks.
Call it the lover of all things fantastical in me, but I was drawn to their semi-circular state.
It made the area feel quite magical.
Like they held some ancient secrets.
Surely this feeling of mystery was spurred by the fact that I traveled to Scotland at the beginning of June.
I didn’t have a chance to visit any standing stones while I was there, but they were (and still are) high on my bucket list.
However, given that the Blue Ridge portion of the Appalachian Mountains was formed somewhere between 250 million to 1.1 billion years ago (second only in age to South Africa’s Barberton greenstone belt), I’m pretty sure that these rocks contain some secret magic of their own.
Let your light shine!