For solitude on the northern stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway, skip the hordes at Humpback Rocks and drive southwest to MP 18.5. After parking, cross the parkway and look for the White Rock Falls trail marker. Follow the yellow-blazed trail as it unfurls beside lichen-covered rocks and gurgling White Rock Creek. The trail crosses the creek after 1.4 miles, where you’ll find boulder-lined pools ready-made for wading.
To finish the loop, rock-hop across the creek to switchbacks that travel close to the falls, tempering the scenic pay-off with a steep, 400-foot climb. An easy-to-miss side trail before the last switchback leads to hidden, but stellar views of the 35-foot falls. Once at the top, snap a photo of Priest Mountain then continue over rippling brooks and small wooden bridges. At the parkway, follow the trail across the road to Slacks Overlook, visible to your left. From the overlook, walk right to pick up the blue-blazed Slacks Overlook Trail, a narrow multi-use trail shared with mountain bikers. Turn right at White Rock Gap Trail (a left leads to Sherando Lake Campground) and continue for a half-mile back to your car.
-Mapped by Amy C. Balfour