Blue Ridge Parkway Travel Guide

Driving on the Blue Ridge ParkwayDriving on the Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway offers a slow-paced and relaxing drive revealing stunning long-range vistas and close-up views of the rugged mountains and pastoral landscapes of the Appalachian Highlands.

The Parkway meanders for 469 miles through Virginia and North Carolina, protecting a diversity of plants, ecosystems and wildlife, and offering endless outdoor recreational opportunities.

The north end of the Parkway begins near Waynesboro, at the southern end of the Skyline Drive.

Millions of visitors annually enjoy the natural beauty and diversity of the Parkway. Spanning the southern and central Appalachians, the Blue Ridge Parkway offers an exceptional glimpse of the regional flora and fauna.

Popular attractions in the park include Mount Mitchell, Linville Gorge, Whitewater Falls, Mabry Mill, Peaks of Otter, the Blue Ridge Music Center, the Linn Cove Viaduct and dozens of other things to do.

There is no entrance fee to drive the Parkway. The speed limit is typically 45 miles an hour, but lower in some areas, as the Parkway was designed for leisurely motoring. Commercial vehicles are not allowed on the Parkway.

Parking is limited to designed pullouts,, overlooks, access points and parking areas.

Mileposts are numbered north to south, from the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina.

Spend a day, or more, and enjoy and explore the Blue Ridge Parkway. We have driven the entire length of the Parkway several times over the years ... it is a highly recommend road trip!

Mabry Mill ... A popular stop on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia
Mabry Mill ... A popular stop on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia

Accessing the Blue Ridge Parkway

One of the many visitor centers along the Blue Ridge ParkwayOne of the many visitor centers along the Blue Ridge Parkway

This Blue Ridge Parkway features many convenient access points along its 469 miles route.

The Parkway connects Shenandoah National Park, near Waynesboro, VA (Milepost 0) with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, near Cherokee, NC (Milepost 469).

There are entrances and exits at all major federal and state highways. Asheville and Boone, NC and Roanoke, VA are the largest cities along the way.

In Virginia, Interstates 64, 81, and 77 all have directions for accessing the Parkway.

The same is true for Interstates 40 and 26 in North Carolina.

 

A special treat for visitors to the Blue Ridge Parkway in the spring ... Rhododendrons!
A special treat for visitors to the Blue Ridge Parkway in the spring ... Rhododendrons!

 

Lodging Options On/Near the Blue Ridge Parkway

The Peaks of Otter Lodge and the Pisgah Inn are located directly on the Parkway.

Lodging is available in numerous cities and towns along the Parkway in Virginia and North Carolina. Visitors can choose from upscale hotels, B&Bs, inns, cabins, campgrouds, RV parks and lodges.

In addition, eight campgrounds are open from May through October along the Parkway.

Included below is just a small sampling of lodging options and locations ... there are many more!

Peaks of Otter Lodge

Pisgah Inn

Waynesboro, Virginia Lodging

Lynchburg, Virginia Lodging

Roanoke, Virginia Lodging

Blacksburg, Virginia Lodging

Blowing Rock, North Carolina Lodging

Boone, North Carolina Lodging

Asheville, North Carolina Lodging

What to See and Do Along the Blue Ridge Parkway: Highlights

The Blue Ridge Parkway has attractions and things to do for all ages, and interests, year-round. Some of the popular attractions include the following:

  • Blue Ridge Parkway ... Ahead!Blue Ridge Parkway ... Ahead!
    Humpback Rocks Visitor Center
  • Whetstone Ridge
  • Otter Creek
  • James River Visitor Center
  • Peaks of Otter
  • Roanoke Mountain
  • Rocky Knob Visitor Center
  • Mabry Mill
  • Blue Ridge Music Center
  • Cumbertland Knob
  • Julian Price Memorial Park
  • Linn Cove Viaduct
  • Linnville Falls
  • Crabtree Falls
  • Mount Mitchell State Park
  • Craggy Gardens
  • Folk Art Center
  • Asheville
  • Mt. Pisgah
  • Waterrock Knob Visitor Center
  • Oconaluftee Visitor Center

Scenes Along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Entering the Blue Ridge Parkway
Entering the Blue Ridge Parkway
Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center and Headquarters
Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center and Headquarters
Stone overpass on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Stone overpass on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Blue Ridge Parkway vista in the fall
Blue Ridge Parkway vista in the fall
Quiet lake scene in autumn on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Quiet lake scene in autumn on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Cloud puffs on the mountains along the Blue Ridge Parkway
Cloud puffs on the mountains along the Blue Ridge Parkway
Lickstone Ridge Overlook ... Elevation 5,150 feet
Lickstone Ridge Overlook ... Elevation 5,150 feet
Shades of blue and green in the summer, along the Blue Ridge Parkway
Shades of blue and green in the summer, along the Blue Ridge Parkway
Sign about the design and construction of the Linn Cove Viaduct
Sign about the design and construction of the Linn Cove Viaduct
Linn Cove Viaduct seen from a distance on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Linn Cove Viaduct seen from a distance on the Blue Ridge Parkway

 

 

Making the turn while driving on the famous Linn Cove Viaduct
Making the turn while driving on the famous Linn Cove Viaduct
Beautiful reflecting lake on the Parkway
Beautiful reflecting lake on the Parkway
Flat Top Manor in the Moses Cone Park on the Parkway
Flat Top Manor in the Moses Cone Park on the Parkway
View Mt. Mitchell and its 6,684 foot elevation
View Mt. Mitchell and its 6,684 foot elevation
The Appalachian Trail along the Blue Ridge Parkway
The Appalachian Trail along the Blue Ridge Parkway
View Grandfather Mountain
View Grandfather Mountain
Mount Pisgah Trail
Mount Pisgah Trail
Tanbark Ridge Tunnel
Tanbark Ridge Tunnel
Craggy Gardens Visitor Center
Craggy Gardens Visitor Center
Peaceful, slow times on the Blue Ridge Parkway in the fall
Peaceful, slow times on the Blue Ridge Parkway in the fall


 

Map of the Blue Ridge Parkway

Map of the Blue Ridge Parkway (Courtesy of the National Park Service)
Map of the Blue Ridge Parkway

More Information about the Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway official website at NPS

 

Blue Ridge Parkway Association

 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

 

Shenandoah National Park in Virginia

 

Skyline Drive in Virginia