Day Hike 6: Boone’s Trace Overlook to Osborne Mountain Overlook

Howdy, Neighbors

Distance: 8.0 miles

  • Difficulty: Moderate. Generally flat, but long.
  • Camping: No.
  • Land manager: National Park Service.
  • Volunteer Task Force Leader: Shelton Wilder,
  • Piggyback trail: No.
  • Connecting trails: No.

New signs are popping up to make it easier to find your way.

For much of its 469-mile run, the Blue Ridge Parkway does a good job of skirting civilization. From Boone to Blowing Rock, that’s not so easy. Perhaps more so than anywhere else, the BRP bumps up against development along the 10-mile stretch from Bamboo Gap north to U.S. 421. For the most part, the trail slips past residences. There’s also a school (the aptly named Parkway Elementary), a business or two, and a parallel highway universe (Old U.S. 421 buddies up with the BRP for a spell). The trail crosses a private driveway or two, even goes up one for a few yards. Yet it still manages to find solitude where solitude is a rare commodity.

The trail starts at Boone’s Trace Overlook, which has a picnic table. The trail that Daniel Boone blazed westward crossed this site (MP 285.1). Less than halfway through the hike, the MST passes through the Grandview Overlook, offering good views down the escarpment to the south. Good views as well at your destination, the Osborne Mountain Overlook just over a mile shy of U.S. 421.

View on Map

To see this hike on a map, visit our Interactive Map and click “Day Hikes” to view the endpoints.


Finding Your Way

Finding Your Way (west » east) Mileage
Trailhead: From Boone’s Trace Overlook (MP 285.1), walk north about 900 feet to where trail goes right into woods. 0.0
Trail returns to BRP. Turn right and walk north 0.1 mile to MP 284.5. Trail goes into woods on left (west) side of BRP. 0.1
Cross BRP to where trail enters woods on east (right) side. It climbs ridge, goes through rhododendron thicket, and follows switchbacks to creek crossing. Ascend hill. Friends trail workers call this section the “enchanted forest.” 0.4
Come out of woods at private driveway. Cross drive and continue into woods. At pasture, turn left and walk inside split-rail fence. A large home sits atop hill on right. A third of way through pasture, watch for sinkholes. At end of fence, jog left through fence, turn right and walk shoulder of BRP north for 240 feet to MP 283.2. Cross BRP; trail goes left into woods. 1.3
Trail crosses bridge and goes to Don Hayes Rd. at MP 283. Turn right on road; walk through tunnel that goes under BRP. Walk 355 feet and turn left to cross bridge leading into woods on east side of BRP. At BRP, turn right and walk north 0.35 mile to MP 282.3. At end of wide cleared area on right, trail goes right into woods. 1.8
Walk north on east (right) side of BRP. Cross ridgeline, through switchbacks down and over Elk Creek Rd. Cross road onto dirt/ grass service road paralleling BRP. Follow service road to pasture at top of hill. Before entering pasture, trail goes left into woods. 2.8
Turn left (north) on BRP for 0.7 mile. 3.4
Pass Grandview Overlook on right (MP 281.2). Walk 800 feet north of overlook to where trail goes right into woods. Walk in woods about 600 feet to service road. You pass a heritage apple orchard in this section. Turn left on service road, walk 225 feet and go through gate to BRP. You can see Parkway Elementary School across BRP. Turn right and walk 650 feet on shoulder. Turn right into woods on east (right) side. 4.1
Trail crosses open area near Old US 421 and continues north. 4.7
Trail comes back to BRP near speed limit sign. Turn right and hike north. After hiking past two pastures on left, trail goes left into woods at MP 279.6. 4.9
Trail goes through small glade and uphill to landscaped driveway after 600 feet. Turn left on drive and walk 97 feet to road (Wildcat Rd.). Cross road onto another driveway and go 83 feet to right turn onto service road entering woods. Service road goes uphill; turn right into woods as service road curves left. Trail goes downhill near BRP, then back up before descending again. The Wilder Bench is on trail as you head downhill to BRP. 5.8
Cross BRP and enter woods on east side. Go uphill 810 feet. 7.2
At start of switchback, pass blue-blazed access trail on right leading 130 feet to Deep Gap backcountry campsite (H3). Continue uphill to crest of knoll to white pines, then down switchbacks and back uphill to BRP. Turn right and walk on shoulder for 472 feet to Osborne Mtn. Overlook (MP 278). 7.3
Trailhead: Osborne Mtn. Overlook (MP 278). 8.0