Attractions > Doughton Park Information

Doughton Park

the largest recreation area on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Doughton Park is the largest recreation area on the Blue Ridge Parkway. This 6,000 acre state park offers more than 30 miles of hiking trails that wind through meadows, valleys and along streams. The mountain landscape of open meadows has a mix of large-toothed aspen, Carolina hemlock, Fraser, dogwood, magnolia, witch-hazel, rhododendron and mountain laurel. Doughton Park is rich in native wildlife like red and grey foxes, white-tailed deer, raccoons, wild turkey, bobcats and black bear. As an added bonus, Monarch butterflies pass through here by the thousands along their annual migration to Mexico.


Once known as the Bluffs, Doughton Park was renamed in 1961 in honor of Robert Lee Doughton, also known as "Farmer Bob", an avid Parkway supporter and longtime U.S. congressman. He was also a staunch parkway supporter and advocate.

The sign at the Wildcat Lookout reads: "In the hollow below is the log cabin home of two hardy pioneers, Martin Caudill and his wife, Janie. Martin's Father, Harrison Caudill, also lived in the Basin Creek Cove about a mile down the creek from this cabin. Martin raised a family of 14 children. Harrison was the father of 22. Martin's clearing, still traceable, provided corn, potatoes and other needs for the table. The way to Absher, the nearest settlement, is 8 miles, half by foot trail, half by Absher Road."

Things To Do

Doughton Park offers a restaurant, picnic area, camp ground and lodging area. There is also a gas station and visitor center. The facilities are open May through October.

The network of seven trails lead to some of the best views the Parkway has to offer. Bluff Mountain Trail is a somewhat level trail. It is a 15 miles round-trip nature trail that will guide you to breathtaking vistas. Stop on one of the rock outcroppings to view the sunset in the western sky. Journey through the climbing switchbacks as you are guided through a rhododendron and laurel lined tunnel that leads to the summit of Bluff Mountain.

Cedar Ridge Trail, Grassy Gap Fire Road and Flat Rock Ridge Trail are recommended for bird-watching. The Cedar Ridge Trail is a great place to watch as the birds make their nests along the rock cliffs. Bluff Ridge Primitive Trail, Basin Creek Trail and Flat Top Ridge Trail are shorter but more strenuous trails. Basin Creek and Cove Creek offer approximately 5 miles of trout fishing.

Guided nature walks and craft demonstrations are offered in the summer season.


Doughton Park is located on the Blue Ridge Parkway between mileposts 238.5 and 244.7 near Sparta, North Carolina.

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