Visiting the Blowing Rock Attraction in Blowing Rock NC

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Blowing Rock NC is located just a couple of miles south of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Drivers simply exit onto US-221N between Moses H. Cone Memorial Park and Julian Price Memorial Park.

The Blowing Rock, the namesake of the town, is located at the edge of town a couple of miles south of that.

This unique geological formation has been a must-see attraction for NC High Country visitors since before North Carolina was a state, or even a colony!

Nowadays, The Blowing Rock attraction includes trails, gardens, and spectacular scenic overlooks. There’s also a picnic area, gift shop, and small museum, and all of the main grounds are ADA-accessible.

Whether you’re just passing through on your BRP journey or staying in Downtown Blowing Rock for the night, The Blowing Rock needs to be on your itinerary.

Read on for our guide to visiting The Blowing Rock attraction, including info on its history and all of the different things to do there. 

READ MORE: The 20 Best Blue Ridge Parkway Overlooks in North Carolina

Looking for places to stay in Blowing Rock NC? Check out these accommodation options! 

  1. The Blowing Rock Manor (locally owned 20-suite inn w/breakfast pastries)
  2. Homestead Inn (pet-friendly, 18 updated rooms & cottages w/Jacuzzi tubs)
  3. Azalea Garden Inn (landscaped grounds, rustic rooms & cabin right off Main St)
  4. Meadowbrook Inn (62 spacious rooms w/hot breakfast & pool)
  5. Boxwood Lodge (pet-friendly boutique inn, good value, near downtown)
Classic Sign at the Blowing Rock in Blowing Rock NC
Classic Roadside Sign at the Blowing Rock

The Blowing Rock Info

ADDRESS: 432 The Rock Road, Blowing Rock NC

PHONE: 828-295-7111


HOURS: November-March 9AM– 5PM Daily; April-October 9AM-6PM Daily

ADMISSION: Ages 13 and up $9; ages 60+ $7; ages 5-12 $3; children 4 and under get in free. 


From Downtown Blowing Rock, take US-321 S (Lenoir Turnpike) for about a mile, then turn right onto The Rock Road. You’ll see the Blowing Rock attraction on the right.


The Blowing Rock is just 9.6 miles south of Boone NC. From Downtown Boone, take US-321 S (a.k.a. Blowing Rock Rd) to The Rock Road, then turn right. The Blowing Rock is on the right.

 READ MORE: Hiking the Glen Burney Falls Trail in Blowing Rock NC

Historic photo of the Blowing Rock in Blowing Rock NC
Historic photo of the Blowing Rock

The Blowing Rock NC History

The Appalachian Mountains are among the oldest in the world, and millions of years of existence have resulted in a lot of erosion.

Now we’re left with rocks that were squeezed for countless millennia under high pressure and temperatures, which made them metamorphic rocks, including The Blowing Rock.

There’s a Cherokee legend that suggests a Chickasaw chieftain brought his daughter from the plains to The Blowing Rock, where a squaw mother was to take care of her. While there, she began a relationship with a Cherokee brave.

One day, the sky foretold to the brave that bad things were coming, so he had to return home to his tribe in the plains. The maiden prayed daily to the Great Spirit, until one day the wind blew her love back into her arms.

Ever since then, the wind has continued to blow upward to the rock from the valley below.

Practically speaking, The Blowing Rock is a huge cliff that hangs 3,000 feet above Johns River Gorge.

The prevailing northwest wind rushes through the valley and curves upward towards The Blowing Rock. It has such force that light objects thrown over the cliff will actually come back up!

This phenomenon prompted Ripley’s Believe It or Not to call The Blowing Rock “the only place in the world where snow falls upside down.”

In addition to the unusual winds, The Blowing Rock offers phenomenal views into Linville Gorge, where Hawksbill and Table Rock are visible. To the west, Grandfather Mountain and Mount Mitchell are also recognizable.

 READ MORE: The 20 Best Things to Do in Blowing Rock NC

Robbins Family Photos at the Blowing Rock in Blowing Rock NC
Robbins Family Photos at the Blowing Rock

Robbins Family History

Before the grounds of The Blowing Rock were developed into a full-on tourist attraction, the area was often used as a dumping site for the local community.

Grover C. Robbins, the former mayor of the Town of Blowing Rock, eventually approached the owners of the property about leasing it and turning it into what is now known as “NC’s oldest tourist attraction.”

Robbins is now widely regarded as “the Father of North Carolina Tourism.”

Not only did he clean up The Blowing Rock, he also founded the Tweetsie Railroad theme park, The Land of Oz theme park, and Hound Ears Golf & Ski Club. Beech Mountain’s ski resort was another of Robbins’ projects.

In 2014, operations of The Blowing Rock were taken over by Charlie Sellers, the grandson of Grover C. Robbins and current 4-term Mayor of Blowing Rock.

Sellers has been instrumental in revamping and upgrading The Blowing Rock’s facilities, including introducing some annual North Carolina music festivals to the mix.

He also moved the attraction’s souvenir shop to promote local arts and crafts, and its museum to display local historical artifacts.

 READ MORE: The 10 Best Restaurants in Blowing Rock NC for Foodies

Viewfinder at the Blowing Rock in Blowing Rock NC
Viewfinder at The Blowing Rock

Things to Do at The Blowing Rock

1. Soak in Stunning Scenic Views

In our experience, the #1 thing to do in Blowing Rock NC is to take in the magical views at the park.

Not only does The Blowing Rock itself offer sweeping vistas of the nearby mountain peaks, but there are several other awesome spots from which to enjoy the Blue Ridge Mountains on the horizon.

The Observation Tower offers spectacular sights of the sunset above Johns River Gorge, while The Overlook focuses in the opposite direction to provide yet more sweeping views.

READ MORE: A Detailed History of the Blue Ridge Parkway

Turtles in the Flower Garden at the Blowing Rock in Blowing Rock NC
Turtles in the Flower Garden at The Blowing Rock

2. Stroll the Gardens

Most of the attractions at The Blowing Rock are found on the site’s main drag.

They include a small Blowing Rock Photo Gallery, The Gorge Viewing Annex, and a comfy Gazebo.

A snack shack serves simple fare, and there are tables on the sunny patio for picnicking or just relaxing and soaking in the views.

We also enjoyed the small pond/waterfall and flower garden just inside the entrance, where you’ll find turtles, butterflies, and even some birds flitting about. 

READ MORE: 25 Beautiful Birds of North Carolina

Hiking Trail View at the Blowing Rock in Blowing Rock NC
View from a Hiking Trail at the Blowing Rock

3. Blowing Rock Hiking Trails

There are loads of renowned hiking trails in Blowing Rock NC.

The Blowing Rock attraction has a few short trails of its own, both of which can be found at the far end of the main garden area.

The Nature Trail goes under the Observation Tower and ultimately connects with the Picnic Area.

Opened in 2021, the Robbins Ridge Trail goes underneath numerous rock outcroppings (including The Blowing Rock itself), offering spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and the lush valley below. 

READ MORE: The 15 Best Blowing Rock Cabin Rentals (1 to 4+ Bedrooms)

Historic Photos at the Blowing Rock
Historic Photos at The Blowing Rock

4. Blowing Rock Photo Gallery

The Blowing Rock Photo Gallery offers a visual history of the area, including a look at the Robbins family. 

You’ll find antique signs for The Blowing Rock, mid-20th century photos of the attraction, and historic photos of the “Village of Blowing Rock.” 

There’s also a section with photos paying tribute to founder Grover C. Robbins and other important members of current owner Charlie Sellers’ family. 

READ MORE: 3 Great Places for Ziplining in Boone NC (and Other Aerial Adventures)

Lake Price in Julian Price Memorial Park, North Carolina
Lake Price in Julian Price Memorial Park

Blue Ridge Parkway Attractions near The Blowing Rock

The Blue Ridge Parkway is only 4 miles from The Blowing Rock, and there are several incredible attractions to enjoy on this stretch of the BRP in the NC High Country.

Moses H. Cone Memorial Park

Moses H. Cone has a beautiful old house-turned-souvenir shop and information center.

The grounds are huge and crisscrossed with old carriage & horseback riding trails.

Bass Lake, at the bottom of the property, is ringed with a hiking trail, while Flat Top Tower provides expansive views after a pleasant hike.

Julian Price Memorial Park

One of our favorite spots on the entire Blue Ridge Parkway, Julian Price Memorial Park has a beautiful North Carlina mountain lake with a loop  trail around it and motor-free recreation on it.

It also has a huge picnic area, a campground, and an amazing hike to Hebron Falls.

Linn Cove Viaduct

This marvel of ingenious engineering was the last section of the Blue Ridge Parkway to be completed: It opened in 1987, more than 50 years after BRP construction began!

The Linn Cove Viaduct skirts along the edge of Grandfather Mountain, and was created to preserve the rare and precious landscape below.

If you get a chance, don’t miss the Rough Ridge hike, which offers amazing views of the Viaduct below and Grandfather Mountain above. 

Grandfather Mountain State Park

Grandfather Mountain has the tallest peak on the eastern escarpment of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and it’s a beloved feature in the NC High Country skyline. 

The hiking trails on it are rugged and challenging, but they are truly stunning. I recommend the Profile Trail.

There’s also a neighboring Grandfather Mountain attraction that requires an entry fee, where guests can cross the Mile High Swinging Bridge and learn about the area’s incredible wildlife.  –by Jonathon Engels; all photos by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett


Leave No Trace logo

We encourage anyone who loves the Blue Ridge region to learn about the Leave No Trace principles of responsible environmental stewardship. 

Stay on marked trails, take only pictures, pack out your trash, and be considerate of others who share the trails and parks you explore. 

Remember that waterfalls and rocky summits can be dangerous. Never try to climb waterfalls or get close to a ledge to get a selfie.

When you're exploring the wilderness, it's better to be safe than to be a statistic!

After visiting North Carolina for the first time, Senior Writer Jonathon Engels and wife Emma spent 2 years exploring Western NC in search of a homestead property. They first lived in Brevard, where Jonathon taught writing at Blue Ridge Community College and extensively explored the Blue Ridge Parkway and Pisgah National Forest. For the last several years they have lived just off the BRP near Elkin, Southwest Virginia, and the NC High Country. The couple also volunteers with the Surry Old Time Fiddlers Convention, the Elkin Valley Trail Association, and Reeves Downtown School of Music.