The Blue Ridge Parkway: A Journey Through Nature's Masterpiece
The Best Roadtrip Destination in the US Awaits You!
The open road, the wind in your hair, and a horizon painted with endless natural beauty – this is the allure of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Often referred to as 'America's Favorite Drive', this 469-mile long scenic parkway weaves through the heart of Virginia and North Carolina, offering travelers a unique journey that is as breathtaking as it is unforgettable.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is more than just a road; it's an experience that captivates the heart and invigorates the spirit. Established on June 30, 1936, this All-American Road has been a paradise for travelers, nature enthusiasts, and adventure seekers for decades. As the longest linear park in the United States, the parkway serves as a lush green ribbon connecting two of the country's most stunning national parks, the Shenandoah National Park and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
An Enchanting Retreat at Mount Pisgah
Nestled amidst the mesmerizing beauty of the parkway is Mount Pisgah, a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. With its high elevation of approximately 5,000 feet, Mount Pisgah offers awe-inspiring vistas that are dramatically enhanced during fall, thanks to the vibrant hues of changing leaves. Comfort meets wilderness at Mount Pisgah with amenities like a well-equipped lodge, a rustic campground, and a delightful restaurant serving local flavors.
Embark on a thrilling array of activities that await!
The allure of the Blue Ridge Parkway extends beyond its stunning landscapes and serene beauty. This region is a melting pot of culture, history, and recreational activities. The rich arts and music scene, echoing with traditional Appalachian tunes, will enthral culture enthusiasts. Hiking and cycling trails wind through forests and meadows, revealing bursts of wildflowers and cascading waterfalls along the route.
Marvel at the monumental Mount Mitchell, the towering titan of the eastern United States. Experience the ancient New River, North America's oldest river, and gaze in awe at the formidable Linville Gorge, unrivaled in its depth east of the Grand Canyon. Visit Whitewater Falls in Jackson County, the highest waterfall east of the Rockies, and witness the sheer power of nature. With each mile you cover, you'll be treated to a vivid tapestry of flora and fauna, enriching your journey with an abundance of biodiversity.
Motorcycling on the Parkway
For motorcycling enthusiasts, the Blue Ridge Parkway presents a thrilling ride. The sweeping curves and panoramic views make for an exhilarating journey. And when it's time for a break, the parkway's proximity to numerous breweries, wineries, and distilleries offers a delightful detour.
Camping Under the Stars
If camping is more your style, the parkway has numerous designated sites where you can pitch a tent or park your RV. Spend a day fishing in solitude or explore local markets and orchards for fresh produce. No matter your preference, the Blue Ridge Parkway is sure to captivate with its variety.
History Along the Route
History buffs will find much to appreciate along the parkway, with numerous historical landmarks dotting the route. Each site tells a piece of the parkway's story, enriching your journey with fascinating tales from the past.
A Family Adventure
Traveling with family? The parkway offers plenty of fun for all ages, from eco-friendly sites to explore to outdoor adventures that await at every turn.
Navigating the Blue Ridge Parkway
Navigating the Blue Ridge Parkway is an adventure in its own right. Unlike your typical highway, the Blue Ridge Parkway traces a route through the dense, mountainous forests of Virginia and North Carolina. This fascinating journey is not without its unique challenges. GPS services often falter on the Parkway, and cell reception can be unpredictable at best. But don't let that deter you!
The mesmerizing views and enchanting landscapes more than make up for these minor inconveniences. And besides, we've got you covered with a wealth of resources to help guide your Parkway exploration with confidence, whether you're in the planning stages or already on the open road.
The National Park Service (NPS) consistently updates a comprehensive list of Parkway sections, indicating whether they are open, closed, or ungated. This invaluable resource is readily available on the NPS website, ensuring you're never left in the dark on your Blue Ridge Parkway adventure.
Blue Ridge Parkway Map
Being prepared is key to enjoying your adventure on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and having a reliable map is an essential part of that preparation. The National Park Service provides an official Blue Ridge Parkway map that not only outlines the route but also highlights points of interest, rest stops, and visitor centers along the way. This comprehensive map is designed to help travelers navigate the winding mountain roads and ensure they don't miss out on any of the parkway's breathtaking sights and attractions.
You can download the map for free from the NPS website before you embark on your Blue Ridge Parkway road trip. Remember, in areas where cell service may be unreliable, a good old-fashioned paper map can be a lifesaver.
Blue Ridge Parkway Drive Duration
So, you're wondering how long it takes to drive the full length of the Blue Ridge Parkway? Well, let's break it down. The Parkway stretches over 469 miles through the stunning landscapes of Virginia and North Carolina, with winding roads that have a speed limit of 45mph. If you chose to drive nonstop from one end to the other, you're looking at approximately 12 to 13 hours behind the wheel.
However, if you're planning to really soak in the beauty of the Blue Ridge Parkway, stopping at intriguing attractions and squeezing in a few hikes, then we suggest a different approach. We recommend taking about a week to explore this national treasure at a leisurely pace. A 7-day road trip itinerary allows for ample time to experience the parkway thoroughly, while also ensuring that the journey remains enjoyable and not overly exhausting. Remember, the charm of the Blue Ridge Parkway lies in its diverse attractions and breathtaking views, and not just the road itself.
Blue Ridge Parkway: Start and End Points
Where exactly does the Blue Ridge Parkway begin and end, you may wonder? The answer to that lies in two of America's most treasured national parks. The Parkway connects Shenandoah National Park in the north to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the south. Covering an impressive 469 miles, the Blue Ridge Parkway starts at Rockfish Gap, Virginia, and winds its way all the way to Cherokee, North Carolina.
This expansive route, rich with scenery and history, serves as the perfect backdrop for an adventurous and invigorating road trip that you'll remember for a lifetime!
Accommodations Along the Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway and the surrounding areas are brimming with a variety of accommodations suitable for all types of travelers. Whether you're seeking the rustic charm of a mountain cabin, the raw adventure of backcountry camping, or the luxury of resorts and bed & breakfast inns equipped with top-notch amenities, you're sure to find something that suits your taste and budget. You can see all your options by lodging types or explore accommodations by Parkway region if you already have a specific location in mind.
Planning an overnight road trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway? Discover a charming array of lodging options in the communities along the route, ensuring your stay is just as memorable as the journey itself. Fine-tune your search using the top search box and filter accommodations based on your preferences. Whether you seek budget-friendly lodgings, luxurious stays, eco-friendly options, or pet-friendly retreats, the Blue Ridge Parkway has it all covered.
Bed & Breakfast Inns
The 1899 Wright Inn & Carriage House: This is a preserved 10-room Queen Anne Victorian located in the Montford Historic District, just 1 mile from downtown Asheville. It offers unique rooms, some with private entrances, and a 3-bedroom carriage house. It also provides two-course locally-sourced scratch breakfasts.
3B’s Inn Bed, Breakfast and Biscuits: This property is exclusively for people traveling with dogs. It is located in scenic Gerton, North Carolina.
Alpine Inn: Located on the side of Grassy Mountain in Little Switzerland, this inn offers spectacular views. It provides rooms with large private balconies, free sunrise, WiFi, a picnic area, grill, and firepit.
Ambrosia Farm B&B and Pottery: This is a completely restored 200-year-old log-built farmhouse located 5 miles West of Parkway Milepost 171.3 in Floyd, Virginia. It offers fireplaces, WiFi, porches, and a pottery studio.
Andon-Reid Inn: This award-winning inn is located near the Great Smoky Mountains, Waynesville, the Biltmore Estate, Blue Ridge Parkway, and Asheville. It reflects the beauty and charm of its traditional 1902 architecture and offers beautiful mountain views.
Asheville B&Bs: These inns are located off 5 Parkway exits from Milepost 377.4 to 393.6. They range from historic inns near downtown to mountain lodges. The innkeepers offer outstanding recommendations and make the best breakfasts.
Bedford Virginia Lodging: This property offers 12 unique and beautiful locations. They have been hosting guests from all over the world for over 18 years in B&Bs, vacation homes, cottages, cabins, apartments, and short-term rentals.
Bella La Vita Inn: Located just 1.7 miles west of Parkway Milepost 161.4, two miles from Floyd’s only stoplight, this inn offers extraordinary yet affordable accommodations. It provides a delicious five-course breakfast with locally-sourced ingredients, all private baths, free WiFi, and expansive decks and backyard with a labyrinth.
Bent Creek Lodge: This elegantly rustic lodge with mountain views is located at Exit the Parkway at Milepost 393.6 near the NC Arboretum, then 1/2 mile south on Highway 191 to 10 Parkway Crescent in Arden. It offers comfy beds, hiking trails, a fireplace, and a great breakfast.
Bent Mountain Lodge B & B: Located at Exit the Parkway at Milepost 135.9, this lodge offers 10 cozy suites with private baths. It provides non-smoking rooms and a free continental breakfast. It is just 20 minutes from Floyd and Roanoke, Virginia.
Cabins, Cottages & Rentals
A Sapphire Inn: Located at 761 E. Main Street in Franklin, North Carolina, this property is within walking distance to downtown, restaurants, and shops. It provides easy access to the Appalachian and Bartram Trails. For reservations, you can visit their website or call (828) 524-4406.
Allstar Lodging: This property offers over 60 unique Shenandoah Valley vacation cabins and home rentals with 1-10 bedrooms (sleeps 2-20). Amenities include swimming pools, hot tubs, fireplaces, kitchens, fire pits, WiFi, and access to canoes/kayaks. The properties are located from Elkton to Front Royal, along the riverfront or in secluded wooded areas. Dogs are welcome!
Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds: This property offers 25 uniquely decorated mountain cabins equipped with full kitchens, comfortable sleeping accommodations, private decks or porches, outdoor hot tubs, seasonal wood-burning fireplaces, and more. The cabins are situated within a 40-acre woodland garden bordered by the Parkway and Mountains-to-Sea Trail.
Bear Den Mountain Resort & Campground: Located in western North Carolina, this resort is nestled in 400 acres of woods adjoining the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 324.7, near Spruce Pine, NC. Some cabins come with Jacuzzi spa tubs.
Bedford Virginia Lodging: This property offers 12 unique and beautiful locations. They have been hosting guests from all over the world for over 18 years in B&Bs, vacation homes, cottages, cabins, apartments, and short-term rentals.
Big Meadows Lodge: Located in Shenandoah National Park at Milepost 51 on Skyline Drive, this lodge is in the central section of the park with the highest concentration of visitor services available. Nearby are the Byrd Visitor Center, Big Meadows Wayside, and Big Meadows campground.
Blue Ridge Mountain Rentals: This property offers nearly 250 luxurious vacation homes throughout the High Country area of North Carolina, many at or near the Blue Ridge Parkway. They cater to both family vacations and romantic getaways.
Boyd Mountain Log Cabins: Enjoy a peaceful country setting in any season while staying in one of the 7 charming, restored 18th-century antique log cabins. The property includes 40 acres of Fraser Fir Christmas Trees, three stocked fishing ponds, and 5 miles of trails.
Buffalo Mountain Getaway: This property offers a home-like setting for your vacation. More details can be found on their website.
Cabins at Seven Foxes: This property offers five wildlife-themed, private, fully equipped cabins on seven acres. They are pet-friendly, open year-round, and offer amenities such as free Wi-Fi, fireplaces, porches, and a Jacuzzi.
Is it worth it to visit the Blue Ridge Parkway?
In a word, absolutely! The Blue Ridge Parkway is not just a scenic drive, it's an all-inclusive outdoor adventure. The Parkway is widely renowned for its stellar hiking opportunities, offering a diverse range of trails that cater to all skill levels. Whether you're in the mood for a leisurely stroll amidst the beautiful wilderness or an adrenaline-fueled trek, the Parkway's forested trails have you covered. These paths lead to a bounty of natural wonders, including panoramic vistas that offer 360-degree views of the majestic Appalachian Highlands and breathtaking waterfalls that thunder with raw, untamed power.
Why is the Blue Ridge Parkway Famous?
The Blue Ridge Parkway holds a special place in the hearts of many due to its unique distinction as the first national rural parkway to be conceived, designed, and constructed specifically for a leisure-type driving experience. This isn't just any old highway; it's a carefully crafted journey through the central and southern Appalachian rural landscapes and forested mountains. The Parkway's varied topography and numerous vista points offer easy public access to truly spectacular views that never fail to take your breath away. From its conception, the Parkway was designed with the intent of connecting travelers with the natural world, offering a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. It's for these reasons, among many others, that the Blue Ridge Parkway continues to captivate the hearts of those who traverse its winding trails and roads. This is no ordinary highway - it's an adventure, a journey, a pathway to discovery and wonder.
Camping Options: Tents and RVs Along and Near the Parkway
James River Visitor Center and Otter Creek Campground (Milepost 60 – 63.8): This area offers recreational opportunities such as hiking, camping, picnicking, and fishing. An accessible fishing pier on Otter Lake provides opportunities for visitors with impaired mobility to fish for warm water species.
Peaks of Otter (Milepost 85.6 – 90.9): With stunning views, natural beauty, and the surrounding Jefferson National Forest, this area has attracted people to the region for more than 8,000 years.
Mabry Mill, Rocky Knob Visitor Center and Campground, Rock Castle Gorge National Recreation Trail (Milepost 161.1 – 176.1): Rocky Knob comprises 4,800 acres and 15 miles of hiking trails. The 3,500-acre Rock Castle Gorge is within Rocky Knob.
Doughton Park Visitor Information Station and Park Store, and Brinegar Cabin (Milepost 238.5 – 241): This landscape of open meadows is one of the best places along the Blue Ridge Parkway to view white-tailed deer, raccoons, red and grey foxes.
Price Park (Milepost 296.7): A majestic 4,200 acres at the foot of Grandfather Mountain named in honor of Julian Price comprises this popular park.
Linville Falls Visitor Center and Park Store (Milepost 316.3 – 317): Trails near the Linville Falls Visitor Center lead to the breathtaking three-tiered Linville Falls over the Linville Gorge via both strenuous and moderate hikes.
Crabtree Falls (Milepost 339.5 – 340.2): Crabtree Falls is accessed by one of two moderate to strenuous routes, leading to the 60-foot falls.
Mount Pisgah and Pisgah Inn & Restaurant (Milepost 408.6): Mount Pisgah’s spectacular views, hiking trails, picnic area, campground, lodge, restaurant, and country store make this area a popular destination along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
All Parkway Campgrounds offer restrooms, drinking water, picnic tables, and grills. Showers are only available at Mt. Pisgah Campground and Price Park Campground. Reservations can be made at www.recreation.gov. Camping on Parkway lands outside of designated campgrounds or without a permit at backcountry sites is prohibited.
There are also many privately owned campgrounds located on or very near to the Parkway that offer a wide variety of amenities, including hookups.
Backcountry camping on the Parkway is available via (free) permit only in these locations: Rock Castle Gorge in Rocky Knob at Milepost 167.1, Basin Cove in Doughton Park at Milepost 244.7, and Old John’s River in Julian Price Park at Milepost 296.9.
Best Time to Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway
- Timing is a crucial aspect when planning a road trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
- The best period for this voyage is generally from mid-May through to mid-September.
- During this season, the parkway is adorned with lush greenery and blossoming wildflowers, creating breathtaking sceneries.
- Summer brings extended daylight hours, providing plenty of time to discover the numerous picturesque overlooks and hiking trails along the parkway.
- The pleasant summer climate enhances the enjoyment of outdoor activities such as camping and picnicking.
- Keep in mind that the Blue Ridge Parkway is situated in a mountainous region and weather conditions can be variable.
- Certain facilities may be temporarily closed due to weather disturbances or maintenance activities.
- Always consult the National Park Service website for the most recent information before setting off on your adventure.
The duration of your trip can vary based on your exploration desires. A straight drive through at the speed limit of 45 mph will take approximately 12 hours. However, to fully appreciate the beauty of the parkway, allocating at least 3 to 7 days is recommended. If you're planning to visit in the fall, the best time to see the vibrant foliage is from mid to late October. Remember, the journey on the Blue Ridge Parkway is as much about the voyage as it is about the destination.
Hotels, Motels & Lodges
A Sapphire Inn: Located at 761 E. Main Street in Franklin, North Carolina, this inn is within walking distance to downtown, restaurants, and shops. It provides easy access to the Appalachian and Bartram Trails. For reservations, you can visit their website or call (828) 524-4406.
Albert’s Lodge at Mt. Mitchell: This lodge is located just 5 minutes North of the Parkway. It offers large rooms, kitchenettes, air conditioning, HDTV, WiFi, and a private patio deck with spectacular views of the Black Mountains. All these are within walking distance to Roaring Fork Falls. You can visit their website or call (828) 675-4691 for more information.
Alleghany Inn: Located at 341 N Main Street in Sparta, North Carolina, this inn offers 64 rooms with free Wi-Fi, 100+ channels of Cable TV, plus a guest laundry. It also has an onsite restaurant and 48 eco-friendly solar panels. It's just 7 miles to the Parkway and 4 miles to the New River.
Allstar Lodging: This property offers 60+ unique Shenandoah Valley vacation cabins and home rentals with 1-10 bedrooms (sleeps 2-20), swimming pools, hot tubs, fireplaces, kitchens, fire pits, WiFi, canoe/kayak use, and hiking. The locations range from Elkton to Front Royal, along the riverfront or in secluded wooded areas, depending on property choice. Dogs are welcome!
Alpine Village Inn: Located in Blowing Rock, this inn is family-owned and operated for over 20 years. Innkeepers Charles and Katherine Smid offer warm and friendly hospitality to all guests.
Asheville Biltmore Fairfield Inn & Suites: Located less than two miles away from the Parkway at Milepost 393.6, this inn offers a complimentary hot breakfast, free WiFi, and an indoor pool.
Baymont by Wyndham Front Royal: Located at the North entrance to Shenandoah National Park, this property offers bike parking, free breakfast, a pool, a restaurant, LCD TV with HBO, free WiFi, and laundry. You can call them at (540) 635-3161.
Baymont Inn Biltmore: Located at I-40 Exit 50 or 50B near Biltmore Estate & Biltmore Village in Asheville, North Carolina, this inn is just two miles north of the Blue Ridge Parkway on US 25. It offers an indoor pool and spa, free continental breakfast, and AAA and AARP discounts.
Best Western Mountain Lodge at Banner Elk: Located on Highway 184, just 7 miles from the Parkway, this full-service hotel offers seasonal packages. You can check them out online or by calling (877) 877-4553.
Best Western Mountainbrook Inn: Located on Highway 19 just 4 miles from Parkway Milepost 455.7 in the center of Maggie Valley, North Carolina, this inn offers recently renovated rooms, a great mountain view, an outdoor pool & hot tub, and a central location just minutes from Waynesville and the casino.
Blue Ridge Parkway: Start and End Points
Where exactly does the Blue Ridge Parkway begin and end, you may wonder? The answer to that lies in two of America's most treasured national parks. The Parkway connects Shenandoah National Park in the north to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the south. Covering an impressive 469 miles, the Blue Ridge Parkway starts at Rockfish Gap, Virginia, and winds its way all the way to Cherokee, North Carolina. This expansive route, rich with scenery and history, serves as the perfect backdrop for an adventurous and invigorating road trip that you'll remember for a lifetime!
Blue Ridge Parkway Fees
If you're planning a journey along the Blue Ridge Parkway, you'll be glad to know that there is no entrance fee to traverse this incredible route. Enjoy the stunning vistas, the diverse wildlife, and the lush greenery at no cost. Do note, however, that fees are charged for camping. If you're planning to bask in the beauty of the Blue Ridge National Park overnight, ensure to factor these costs into your budget. But here's a bit of good news for Interagency Senior or Interagency Access Pass (or Golden Age or Golden Access passes) passholders - you're entitled to a 50% discount off the camping fee.
Resorts & Ranches
Art of Living Retreat Center: Located just three miles from Parkway Milepost 285.6 in Boone, this retreat center offers stunning views and deep relaxation. It provides workshops, yoga, delicious food, pottery classes, and more. More information can be found at www.artoflivingretreatcenter.org or by calling (800) 392-6870.
Chetola Resort: A family resort situated on 78 acres, it offers magnificent views and features Chetola Lodge, Bob Timberlake Inn, and spacious condominiums. The resort includes a spa, Timberlake’s Restaurant, a new fitness center, Orvis® Endorsed Fly Fishing, lakeside activities, fishing, sporting clays, and private access to Moses Cone hiking trails. It's also pet-friendly.
The Crowne Plaza® Resort Asheville: Nestled on 125 acres adjacent to downtown Asheville, this resort offers access to onsite dining, fitness, golf, pool, spa, tennis, zipline tours, and more. It’s the number one requested event space for conventions, expos, and weddings.
Fontana Village Resort: A year-round destination set amidst the pristine beauty of the Nantahala Forest and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park of Western North Carolina. The Village offers more than 400 acres to explore and a wide range of accommodations, including 93 rooms in the Fontana Lodge, Cabana.
Haywood County Hotel & Motel Association: Offers lodging & dining minutes from several Blue Ridge Parkway exits, Milepost 423-455. It provides quality rooms, cabins, great food, outdoor recreation opportunities, glorious sunsets, and unique entertainment and shopping venues.
Massanutten Resort: Open year-round, this resort offers more than 6,000 acres to explore, including the award-winning Indoor/Outdoor WaterPark, Ski and Adventure Park area, two fantastic golf courses, farm-to-table dining experiences, shopping and recreation options, along with a day spa for complete relaxation and rejuvenation.
Olde Beau Resort & Golf Club: A semi-private resort and club offering golf, lodging, real estate opportunities, banquet facilities, nature experiences & a pool in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Glade Valley, NC. Just 15 minutes from the Virginia state line, the club is easily accessed.
Pisgah View Ranch: A peaceful and relaxing ranch, it’s a great place to unwind, ride horses, swim, fish, and eat amazing meals. Family-owned and operated since 1941, with guests returning for 5 generations.
Primland: Located in Meadows of Dan, VA, Primland is a luxurious back-to-nature escape unfolding across the highlands of Virginia in all their smoke-hued grandeur. The Blue Ridge Mountains are a natural paradise of forest-cloaked peaks and sun-dappled valleys. At the heart of this pristine wilderness, Primland Resort awaits on its own 12,000-acre.
Switzerland Inn & Chalet Restaurant: Located directly on the Parkway and established in 1910, it offers a variety of accommodations including mountain view suites, cottages & rooms in the main lodge. Chalet Restaurant serves three meals daily. The inn provides a gracious casual atmosphere with old world charm. Amenities include tennis, golf privileges, swimming, fire pit, and unique shops.
Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway in One Day
Is it possible to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway in one day? In theory, yes. If you were to drive straight through from Charlottesville, Virginia, to Asheville, North Carolina, it would take you approximately nine hours. However, this doesn't take into account any stops or detours to capture the breathtaking views, explore the charming towns along the way, or relish the diverse hiking trails. The most popular segment of the 469-mile-long Parkway, the 384-mile stretch between these two cities, deserves more than a rushed day's journey. We recommend setting aside at least five days to truly savor your Blue Ridge Parkway road trip.
This leisurely pace allows you the opportunity to fully embrace the majestic mountains, verdant valleys, and the unique charm that defines the Blue Ridge Parkway.
The Halfway Point of the Blue Ridge Parkway: Galax, VA
As you voyage along the 469 miles of the iconic Blue Ridge Parkway, you'll reach Galax, Virginia. This vibrant town serves as the halfway point of the parkway and stands as a remarkable milestone on your journey. Galax isn't just a geographical waypoint; it's the World Capital of Old Time Mountain Music. Here, the soulful strums of banjos and fiddles echo across the hills, encapsulating the essence of Appalachian culture. It's the perfect place to pause, soak up the melody, and revel in the rhythm of the mountains. As the last stop in Virginia on the Parkway, Galax offers a rich musical heritage that adds an unforgettable note to your Blue Ridge Parkway road trip.
What cities are along the Blue Ridge Parkway?
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a treasure trove of intriguing towns and cities in both Virginia and North Carolina. Waynesboro, a city steeped in history and known for its vibrant arts and culture scene, is the first major stop in Virginia. Further along, you'll find Roanoke, also known as the Star City of the South, which offers breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Galax, the last stop in Virginia, is a haven for music lovers, offering a rich musical heritage that adds an unforgettable note to your journey.
As the Parkway stretches into North Carolina, it introduces you to Boone, a college town that is a vibrant hub of Appalachian culture and history. Finally, the journey culminates in Asheville, where the Parkway runs across the property of the Biltmore Estate, America's largest home. Asheville is not just about its grand architecture; it's a hotspot for outdoor enthusiasts and foodies alike.
An interesting feature of the Blue Ridge Parkway is its tunnels—26 in total—constructed through the rock. While Virginia houses just one of these, North Carolina boasts an impressive 25, adding a dash of mystery and charm to your scenic drive.
What is the difference between the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive?
Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway, two iconic routes, often create confusion due to their close geographical connection and similar scenic allure. Skyline Drive runs through Shenandoah National Park, a 105-mile stretch that showcases the splendor of Virginia's forests, wildlife, and breathtaking vistas. This road is entirely within the boundaries of the national park, providing a serene, unhurried journey through the heart of nature's bounty.
On the other hand, the Blue Ridge Parkway is a separate entity that does not enter Shenandoah National Park or any other national park for that matter. It offers a more extensive journey, stretching 469 miles across Virginia and North Carolina and connecting Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The Parkway is famed for its diverse cultural experiences, encompassing historical towns, musical heritage, and awe-inspiring mountain views. It's an adventure that extends beyond a picturesque drive, inviting travelers to explore the rich tapestry of Appalachian lifestyle and history.
Are there exits off the Blue Ridge Parkway?
Absolutely! The Blue Ridge Parkway is extremely accessible and connects several significant locations. Starting at Shenandoah National Park, near Waynesboro, VA (Milepost 0), the Parkway stretches all the way to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, near Cherokee, NC (Milepost 469). This scenic route threads through numerous cities and towns, with Asheville and Boone, NC, and Roanoke, VA, being the largest ones.
Importantly, the Parkway is not an isolated road. It intersects with all major federal and state highways along its route, offering seamless entrances and exits for drivers. This makes it easy for travelers to plan their journey and visit nearby attractions without having to make huge detours.
How do I get a Blue Ridge Parkway pass? Fees & Passes
Getting a pass for the Blue Ridge Parkway is a straightforward process and can be done either online or when you arrive at one of the Blue Ridge Parkway campgrounds. The campgrounds are typically open during their operating season which generally lasts from Memorial Day through October 31st.
You can purchase the pass online via the U.S. National Park Service website, where you'll also find further information about pricing and rules. Alternatively, you can get your pass in person at any of the Parkway campgrounds during the operating season.
Please note that there is a charge for camping in any of the campgrounds along the Parkway. The fees collected from these charges are used to maintain the campgrounds and ensure they remain a comfortable and enjoyable place for all visitors.
Where to stop overnight on Blue Ridge Parkway?
Planning an overnight stop along the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway? You have some fantastic options! The Pisgah Inn, just outside Asheville, is a gem a place nestled amid the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It's approximately 90 miles from the Great Smoky National Park, making it a great choice for those who wish to explore the park.
On the other hand, if you're a more adventurous soul seeking a raw, undisturbed connection with nature, the Parkway also permits backcountry camping. This allows you to set up camp in more remote, undeveloped areas of the Blue Ridge Parkway, offering a unique and unforgettable outdoor experience.
To top off your outdoor adventure, don't forget to visit the store which offers a variety of handcrafted items and gifts. Perfect for souvenirs or as treats for yourself! The store also caters to your gastronomic needs, offering made-to-order subs, breakfast biscuits, homemade goodies, and even fudge. A variety of quick snack items are also available for those on-the-go.
Another wonderful stopover is the Peaks of Otter Lodge, located near the Peaks of Otter Visitor Center. This lodge is a popular choice amongst travelers, offering stunning views and close proximity to a variety of hiking trails. Whether you're a solo traveler seeking solitude and tranquility, or you're on a family road trip seeking adventure and fun, these overnight stops along the Blue Ridge Parkway promise a memorable experience.
What town is near Blue Ridge Parkway?
For those looking to explore the Blue Ridge Parkway, it's important to note that the parkway conveniently passes through two major cities, Roanoke in Virginia, and Asheville in North Carolina. These cities serve as popular intermediate starting points for visitors, giving easy access to the parkway's rich experiences.
Roanoke, a bustling city known for its vibrant arts scene and historic charm, offers a range of attractions perfect for a pre or post-parkway visit. Asheville, on the other hand, is famous for its thriving culinary scene and the iconic Biltmore Estate. A Blue Ridge Parkway map and guide will surely come in handy to help you navigate these areas and make the most of your journey.
Where is the Blue Ridge Parkway's 0 mile marker located?
The 0-mile marker of the Blue Ridge Parkway is located near Rockfish Gap, VA, marking the northern end of this scenic route. This spot is where the parkway begins its meandering journey through the picturesque landscapes of Shenandoah National Park. Navigation along the parkway is made straightforward by the presence of concrete mileposts marking every mile of the journey.
These indicators start from milepost 0 near Shenandoah National Park and continue up to milepost 469 at the opposing end, located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This well-marked route allows travelers to effectively plan their journey and keep track of their progress through the awe-inspiring terrain of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Which iconic curve graces the Blue Ridge Parkway?
The iconic curve which distinguishes the Blue Ridge Parkway is the Linn Cove Viaduct. This architectural marvel, nestled on the face of the Grandfather Mountain, is celebrated worldwide for its exceptional engineering. It represents the final piece of the parkway puzzle, as its construction marked the completion of the entire route. A trip to the Linn Cove Visitor Center offers an enlightening view of the construction technique used to build the viaduct, showcased through a detailed model.
The Linn Cove Viaduct not only stands as a testament to human ingenuity, but it also enhances the overall experience of a Blue Ridge Parkway road trip with its unique design and the breathtaking scenery it traverses.
Are gas stations available along the Blue Ridge Parkway?
While the Blue Ridge Parkway itself does not house any gas stations, you'll find several situated just off the Parkway at various access points. This means travelers should plan their journey appropriately, ensuring they fill up their tanks at these off-route stations to avoid running out of fuel during their adventure.