Blue Ridge Parkway - North Carolina & Virginia
Blue Ridge Parkway - North Carolina & Virginia
Blue Ridge Parkway
North Carolina's storied Cold Mountain fills the
western sky as seen from one of the scenic stops
along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Blue Ridge Parkway
The parkway approaches one
of the many tunnels that carry
drivers through some of the
mountain ridges.
Historic Mabry Mill
The beautiful old water mill is
beloved sight along the Blue
Ridge Parkway. Nearby is
Mount Airy, the "Mayberry" of
Andy Griffith fame.
NPS Photo
Waterfall at Graveyard Fields
Stairs and a paved trail lead
from the Blue Ridge Parkway
down to one of the most
stunning falls along the drive.
Blue Ridge Parkway - North Carolina & Virginia
America's Highway in the Sky
Chestnut Cove Overlook
The views are stunning along
the entire 469 mile length of
the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Copyright 2011 & 2013 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.

Last Updated October 14, 2013
From Great Smoky Mountains National Park
in North Carolina to Shenandoah National
Park in Virginia, the Blue Ridge Parkway
winds its way for 469 miles along the tops of
the famed Blue Ridge Mountains.

A "highway in the sky," the parkway leads
from overlook to overlook as it passes
through some of the most spectacular
scenery in the world. From panoramic vistas
to rushing waterfalls, rare plant and animal
life and a wide array of historic sites, the Blue
Ridge Parkway is a drive unlike any other in
the South.

From its lowest point, the parkway climbs to
an elevation of more than 5,700 feet. It
crosses 400 mountain streams, 150 of
which are the headwaters of major
waterways. Fifty threatened or endangered
species of plants live in the lands preserved
by the Blue Ridge Parkway. Also included
among the lands supervised by the National
Park Service as part of the parkway are 47
National Heritage Areas.

A ride along the parkway is in many ways a
journey through America's history. The
mountains of western North Carolina, for
example, are the ancestral home of the great
Cherokee Nation. The road passes through
the Cherokee Reservation and informational
exhibits help visitors learn about the history
of the Cherokee people. It is believed, in fact,
that many of the fields visible in the mountain

The road passes through the Cherokee
Reservation and informational exhibits help
visitors learn more about the fascinating
history of the Cherokee people and other
Native American groups who once lived in
the North Carolina and Virginia mountains. It
is believed that many of the fields visible in
the mountain valleys were originally cleared
by Native American farmers.

A drive along the parkway also provides a
chance to travel in the footsteps of America's
early pioneers. The same views that inspire
people from around the world today once
inspired frontiersmen such as Daniel Boone,
who lived in western North Carolina before
leading settlers over the mountains into

Boone's Trace is interpreted with an exhibit
just north of the Blowing Rock and Boone

Also scattered all along the parkway are sites
and structures associated with the early
westward expansion of the country. Cabins
and farms dot the landscape, as do mills,
blacksmith shops, whiskey stills, railroad
tracks and even the locks of a 19th century
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The parkway is also a wonderful way to
explore the folk art and traditional music and
crafts of the Blue Ridge Mountains. These
aspects of early life still thrive in the
mountains of Virginia and the Carolinas and
can be explored and experienced all along
the parkway. There are folk art and craft
centers along with heritage tourism
opportunities available all along the road.

Even the Blue Ridge Parkway itself is a major
historic attraction. Conceived and first
constructed during the early 20th century, it is
one of the most remarkable roadways ever
built in the country. Following the crests of the
mountains, it preserves more than 81,000
acres of environmentally sensitive and
historically significant land.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is open year-round,
weather and road conditions permitting,
although many staffed facilities do not
operate during the winter. Icy conditions and
snow do lead to winter closures. The most
picturesque time to travel the road, of course,
is during the spring through the fall.

Since the National Park Service closed its
website during the government shutdown of
2013, for up to date information I recommend and
Mountains of the South