Along the Blue Ridge Parkway's 469 miles, few spots are so often photographed as the Linn Cove Viaduct. The true attraction here is the natural vista from the flank of Grandfather Mountain, but the addition that really makes it pop is the curved bridge built to traverse the mountainside. This is the viaduct was constructed to lessen the impact of this section on the fragile vegetation of the mountain. The especially rocky slopes here would otherwise necessitate blasting the road through sheer cliffs, so engineers elected to construct a less invasive and fortunately much more aesthetic design.
Completed in 1987, the Linn Cove Viaduct at milepost 408 was the last part of the Blue Ridge Parkway to be finished. In fact, this final 7.5-mile section took 20 years longer to build than all the rest because of complications related to the rugged face of Grandfather Mountain. The viaduct's award-winning construction has a fascinating history that you can discover by visiting the nearby Linn Cove Visitor Center.
Today the viaduct is one of the most popular stops along the parkway. To get a view, park at the visitor center just south of it, or at one of a few pullouts in either direction once it comes into view. Another great vantage is from the rock outcrops on Rough Ridge, reached by a short hike on the Tanawha Trail from a pullout to the north. An ADA-accessible paved trail begins at the visitor center and leads beneath the viaduct, so you can see how it spans above the vegetation rather than cut into the hillside. This trail also links to the Tanawha Trail for a longer hike and higher photo opportunities. Driving or riding across the viaduct is of course a highlight of the trip as well, but stopping or walking on it is prohibited for safety reasons. If you want a stationary view, take the opportunity to pull over before crossing, and take a stroll in the Appalachian Mountain air.