There are so many amazing overlooks on the Blue Ridge Parkway and many of the most beautiful overlooks are far to the South in North Carolina. The Saddle stands out in Virginia for it’s incredible views and proximity to an awesome small mountain town.
The Saddle is a wide overlook near Floyd, Virginia on the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 168 in the Rocky Knob Recreation Area. There is a huge view of the wide valley below to the east and a view of Buffalo Mountain to the west.
Location: Blue Ridge Parkway (Milepost 168)
Nearby Points of Interest: The Town of Floyd, Virginia, Rock Castle Gorge
Why is it awesome? The view anytime of day is awesome but even more so during Sunrise and Sunset.
A saddle is a low point between two higher peaks. The overlook is exactly that, hence the name. This section of the parkway runs along the Blue Ridge Plateau. That matters because it allows you to see far out into the distance to the east, yet only a shorter view to the west.
Buffalo Mountain, visible from the western edge of the overlook is so named because it looks, strangely, like a Buffalo, or Bison, as my wife has corrected so. many. times.
From the overlook Buffalo Mountain is only partially visible. If you see it from a location closer to the mountain it looks even more like a Bison, with a distinctive hump and long sloping back.
Reasons to Visit The Saddle
There are a few reasons to visit the Saddle. First of those reasons is simply the view. The wide mountain view is great, that is made even better at sunrise and sunset.
At sunrise you will likely have the overlook all to yourself.
Second is the long and really cool hike down into Rock Castle Gorge. You can begin and end your hike at The Saddle overlook. It isn’t necessary to walk the whole length to enjoy the hike. The best views are along the edge of the plateau before you descend into the gorge.
If the hike isn’t something you are interested in, there is also the nearby town of Floyd. Floyd is a community very much doing it’s own thing with a unique culture that blends an old agricultural community with a sort of laissez-faire hipster vibe. One of my personal favorite things to do is stop by Red Rooster Coffee and grab some of their amazing coffee and maybe a delicious scone.
The final place worth mentioning is Mabry Mill. The historic overlook is at milepost 176 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, only a few miles away. You can grab an incredible breakfast there or walk the paths along the mill and other historic buildings.
Can I Build a Day Trip to the area?
Absolutely! Visiting Floyd, catching sunrise or sunset at The Saddle, and stopping by Mabry Mill is enough to fill an entire day. You can be sure that you’ll have a great time.
Before you jump in your car and rush off toward The Saddle, or any other overlook for that matter, make sure you check for closures on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It gets crazy foggy near Floyd and closures are common.
Here are some other beautiful overlooks on the Blue Ridge Parkway you probably need to visit!