Blue Ridge Parkway
Designed as a drive awhile - stop awhile recreational drive, the Blue Ridge Parkway provides both stunning scenery and close-up looks at the natural and cultural history of the southern Appalachian mountains. The Parkway meanders for 469 miles and connects Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks, providing ample opportunities for stops at overlooks, picnic and camping facilities, trails, and wonderful cultural and natural areas. A drive down the Blue Ridge Parkway is designed to be slow paced and relaxing. Almost any overlook or trail will reveal much of the natural and cultural history here in the southern mountains. Fall is a special time of year on the Parkway with the harvest visible along the roadsides in many places and communities showcasing their own version of fall festivals. Explore the many communities along the route that make the region so special. Four lodges and six restaurants are scattered along the Parkway and most are open from late April through the fall color season.
Seasonality / Weather
Throughout late fall and the winter months, the Parkway remains open as long as winter weather does not cause hazardous driving conditions. The Parkway information line (828) 298 0398 has the most updated road closure information. These can change rapidly during the winter. Most Parkway facilities close on November 1.
The Parkway connects Shenandoah National Park near Waynesboro, VA (Milepost 0) with Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Cherokee, NC (Milepost 469). There are entrances and exits at all major federal and state highways and part of a Parkway experience is getting into the towns and communities of the region. 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.