Blue Ridge Parkway Road Trips Guide Book. The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most picturesque and iconic road trips in the United States. Stretching for 469 miles through the Appalachian Mountains, it connects Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. The parkway offers stunning vistas, charming small towns, diverse wildlife, and a range of recreational activities. Embarking on a road trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway promises an unforgettable journey through some of America's most breathtaking landscapes. Here are some of the top sights to see along the way:
1. Shenandoah National Park (Mile 0): Begin your adventure in Virginia's Shenandoah National Park, famous for its scenic Skyline Drive. Enjoy panoramic views of the Shenandoah Valley, hike along the Appalachian Trail, and visit picturesque waterfalls like Dark Hollow Falls and Whiteoak Canyon Falls.
2. Mabry Mill (Mile 176): A historic landmark, Mabry Mill showcases the traditional rural life of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Explore the meticulously restored mill, blacksmith shop, and other exhibits. Don't miss the chance to indulge in homemade cornbread, buckwheat pancakes, and other regional delicacies at the on-site restaurant.
3. Grandfather Mountain (Mile 305): Make a stop at Grandfather Mountain, renowned for its breathtaking vistas and Mile High Swinging Bridge. Take a hike on the trails that wind through the mountain's diverse ecosystem, and keep an eye out for wildlife such as black bears and peregrine falcons.
4. Linville Gorge (Mile 316): Known as the "Grand Canyon of the East," Linville Gorge is a must-visit for outdoor enthusiasts. Admire the rugged cliffs, explore the hiking trails, and soak in the beauty of Linville Falls, a three-tiered waterfall cascading into a dramatic gorge.
5. Blue Ridge Music Center (Mile 213): Immerse yourself in the rich musical heritage of the region at the Blue Ridge Music Center. Attend live concerts featuring traditional mountain music, explore the Roots of American Music exhibit, and stroll through the scenic outdoor amphitheater.
6. Pisgah National Forest (Mile 382): With its abundant waterfalls, hiking trails, and stunning views, Pisgah National Forest offers endless opportunities for outdoor recreation. Visit Looking Glass Falls, hike to the summit of Mount Pisgah, or take a scenic drive along the Forest Heritage Scenic Byway.
7. Asheville (Mile 382): Known for its vibrant arts scene, historic architecture, and culinary delights, Asheville is a must-stop destination along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Visit the Biltmore Estate, explore the eclectic shops in the downtown area, and savor the local craft beer and farm-to-table cuisine.
8. Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Mile 469): Conclude your road trip at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Discover the park's diverse flora and fauna, hike to iconic landmarks like Clingmans Dome, and enjoy scenic drives through Cades Cove or Newfound Gap Road.
While these are some of the top sights along the Blue Ridge Parkway, the journey itself is an attraction. Take your time, pull over at overlooks, and savor the changing landscapes and breathtaking vistas that unfold before you. Keep in mind that the road trip experience may vary depending on the season, as the parkway showcases stunning fall foliage and vibrant spring blooms. Plan ahead, pack for various weather conditions, and prepare to be captivated by the natural beauty that awaits you on the Blue Ridge Parkway. This guide gives regional highlights and practical advice with detailed directions, expert advice, and a pull-out map. Also includes in-depth reviews, great images, and local knowledge.