I almost didn’t pull into the parking lot. I almost didn’t walk up those stairs. I almost didn’t see one of the most stunning overlooks on the entire Blue Ridge Parkway. But fortunately I did pull into the parking lot, walk up the short flight of stairs, and spent two hours one morning just admiring this breathtaking view. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since.
I started my day in nearby Galax, Virginia with the goal in mind to complete just seventy-five miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway to Boone, North Carolina. I left Galax early, eager to get back on the Parkway to continue my seven day journey. I enjoyed my breakfast and coffee after a short hike at Cumberland Knob before continuing on to Doughton Recreation Area.
This recreation area has a lot of nice features; picnic shelters, tables, restrooms, lots of parking, and beautiful views in wide open fields. I spent a lot of time right there without realizing the stunning view just behind me. As I was leaving the picnic area I turned up a road, past a building that had already closed for the season (it was near the end of October when everything closes on the Parkway), and found a few vehicles in a small parking area.
I figured those cars must have been there for a reason. I grabbed my photography bag and headed up the short flight of stairs to a little knob hidden in the trees. The first moment I caught sight of the view from this overlook my jaw hit the ground. A few moments later I caught my breath and started laughing uncontrollably. I mean what else can you do when you discover something like this?
Wildcat Rock, as the area is known, is a large stone overlook at the end of a ravine. From this vantage point looking southeast your eyes trace the tops of two parallel mountain ridges as they trail off into the distance. Right down the ravine as far as the horizon faint mountain ridges stretch from side to side.
It was the perfect place to sit back for awhile and enjoy the view. Patchy clouds quickly moved across the sky alternating the landscape between chilly shadows and warm sunlight. I watched the shadow of the clouds race across the mountains into the distance. After a short time I had the place to myself and could not have been happier.
Wildcat Rock in the Doughton Recreation Area about halfway between Galax and Boone on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I’ve never forgotten this place. After you visit you won’t, either.