Devils Courthouse is a huge peak on the Blue Ridge Parkway at the edge of the Shining Rock highlands. While it does not offer a challenging hike (paved path from the Parkway to the summit), it remains one of the South's outstanding peaks for sheer grandeur. The top two hundred or so feet of the mountain's east face is composed of unadorned rock forming a great, rough outline of cliff faces. In the past, it was a major rock climbing and rappelling area, but, as I understand, these activities are no longer allowed at Devils Courthouse because of degradation of rare plant and animal communities on those cliffs. (Check with the National Park Service to confirm the rock climbing status of this peak. It is my understanding that the closure is permanent.)
As with so many eastern peaks, there are more than one "Devils Courthouse" summits. Two in NC, and another in TN. This is the highest and most well-known of the three.
Located at milepost 422.4 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. From 276, head south. From the intersection with 215 head north.
The trail to the summit is 1/2 mile, completely paved.
None. Remain on the trail at all times. Do not leave the trail or the walled summit area. Violations can be prosecuted.
When To Climb
All year. The Parkway is often closed to motorized traffic during heavy snows and icing events. In such cases, access would be by foot or cross country ski.
The nearest campground would be the Sunburst campground administered by the Pisgah National Forest. There is ample primitive camping in the nearby Shining Rock Wilderness, Middle Prong Wilderness, and the Pisgah National Forest area between these two wilderness areas.