Photographing Appalachian Mountains: 20 Minute Cliff Overlook
Photographing 20 Minute Cliff Overlook
Location: Blue Ridge Parkway
Best time of year to photograph: Year Around
Subject Focus: Landscape, Nature, Sunset
Mile Maker: 19 on The Blue Ridge Parkway
With an outstanding 180 degree western facing view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, 20 Minute Cliff Overlook is a great spot to enjoy a beautiful panoramic vista during sunset while driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
(26mm, F/11, 1sec, ISO 100, Facing Southwest)
Located at mile marker 19 along the Blue Ridge Parkway, 20 Minute Cliff Overlook is super easy to access and has an amazing 180 degree panoramic view. Looking West over the Blue Ridge Mountains, this 2,715 foot overlook has a great view of the Priest to the South, Maintop Mountain and Fork Mountain to the West, and Round Mountain to the Northwest. 20 Minute Cliff Overlook is located 19 miles south from the northern most entrance of the Blue Ridge Parkway just off of Interstate 64, making it super easy to get to. There is no park entrance fee, and the overlook has plenty of parking. I always thought it was called 20 Minute Cliff Overlook because to takes about 20 minutes to drive there once on the parkway, but the name 20 originated from farmers working in the White Rock Valley below the overlook. When the sun hit the rocks the farmers knew they had 20 minutes left before the sun set behind the ridge line.
(16mm, F/11, 1/10sec, ISO 100, Facing West)
There are two main rock cliffs but plenty of places to spread out along the overlook, giving photographers the chance to take different angles, including a panorama (click here for tips on how to create a panorama). The White Rock Valley and the multiple layers of mountain ranges make 20 Minute Cliff Overlook an ideal place to photograph the Blue Ridge Mountain (click here for photography tips). From the overlook, the White Rock Valley runs due West, but with views to the Northwest and Southwest, this is a great place to capture the sun setting behind the mountains year around. During May-July and November-January, photographers will be able to capture a nice sidelight during sunset for part of the valley, which adds depth and detail in the mountain ranges. The White Rock Valley can be used as a leading line (click here for composition tips). With it being along the Blue Ridge Parkway, this makes it a great spot to stop and watch the sunset after a day on the trail.
(27mm, F/11, 1/30sec, ISO 100, Facing South)
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