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Alligator Rocks to Bluff Mountain



1.0 mile 1.6 kilometer out and back
67% Runnable


Ascent: 316' 96 m
Descent: -316' -96 m
High: 3,719' 1,134 m
Low: 3,403' 1,037 m


Avg Grade: 12% (7°)
Max Grade: 22% (12°)


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Trail shared by Larry C

You can enjoy great views from top of Bluff Mountain Trail.

Larry C

Features Fall Colors · Geological Significance · Wildflowers


From the Alligator Back Parking Area, it's a short run to Bluff Mountain. We saw plenty of wildflowers in bloom. There are dramatic views at the top of Bluff Mountain. This trail is ideal for runners or families looking to get some exercise and see a great view atop Bluff Mountain. This run utilizes parts of the Bluff Mountain Trail and the Mountains to Sea Trail.

Need to Know

In Doughton Park, there is a gift shop, bathrooms, and plenty of picnic tables

Runner Notes

I would not recommend trail running as the Alligator Rocks can be very slippery.


Start in the parking lot on the parkway. Take a very short trail and join the Bluff Mountain Trail. You go up a series of switchbacks, and there are some stone steps to reach the summit of Bluff Mountain. Be aware that the trail can be slippery.

The Alligator Rocks give some extra visual interest in their formations and structure. The run up can be challenging in spots, but overall it is not a difficult run. My wife and small dog had no trouble with the trail.

Once atop Bluff Mountain, you'll enjoy dramatic and expansive views of Doughton Park. Expect to see some seasonal wildflowers in the field at the top and an interesting forest.

Once you return to your car, you are a short drive to the visitor center with a gift shop and bathrooms. There are plenty of picnic tables that also afford some scenic views.

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Flora & Fauna, History & Background

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Land Manager: Blue Ridge Parkway

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in North Carolina


34 Views Last Month
207 Since Aug 6, 2019



Clouds hang low in the valley along Alligator Back on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Jan 3, 2017 near Sparta, NC
Trailhead parking
Aug 6, 2019 near Sparta, NC
Some of the alligator rocks
Aug 6, 2019 near Sparta, NC
View from Bluff Mountain
Aug 6, 2019 near Sparta, NC
Mountain to Sea Trail Alligator Back Blue Ridge Parkway 1152
Aug 12, 2019 near Sparta, NC


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