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Welcome to The Blue Ridge Parkway, America's Great Mountain Byway

Blue Ridge Parkway, Linn Cove Viaduct

Renowned as America's favorite scenic highway, The Blue Ridge Parkway traces a gentle, serpentine route for over four hundred miles along the crests of some of the world's oldest, most beautiful and most biologically diverse mountains. Canopied by old growth hardwoods, the narrow two-lane road passes mile after mile of park-like wilderness bedecked with wildflowers and broken here and there by overlooks and open stretches that present jaw-dropping views across blue misted mountaintops and deep, emerald green valleys.

If there is a challenge to getting the most from your parkway tour, it is that as wonderful as the scenery is, after a few hours of driving and stopping at overlook after overlook to gaze at wonderful mountain views, you may be ready for a change of pace.

Blue Ridge Parkway near Mount Pisgah The answer is to take a break and set out on one of the many Blue Ridge Parkway hiking trails or explore the nearby attractions and towns; the country stores, galleries and restaurants that lie just a short hop off the parkway. But where are they? The parkway doesn't allow signs or advertising, so many visitors whiz right by off-ramps that lead to interesting sites without knowing it.

Rhododendron, Blue Ridge Parkway To help you find the best Blue Ridge Highway hiking trails and overlooks, as well as the best attractions and historic sites both on and off the parkway, we have divided the North Carolina Blue Ridge Parkway into several one and two day itineraries. We've included "Best of the Parkway" destinations, hikes, overlooks and wild areas, as well as side trips, attractions and scenic drives that lie just off the parkway.

The itineraries have been written both from east-to-west, and west-to-east. You can take one at a time, or follow them sequentially, whichever way you want to go, you'll have a ball!!

Note: From time to time, sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway are closed for repairs or inclement weather. Before heading out it is a good idea to check for closures on the official National Park Website, or call (828) 298-0398. When sections of the parkway are closed the National Park Service usually does an excellent job of placing detour signs that will route you around the closure on nearby public roads.

Blue Ridge Parkway near Mount Pisgah

Exploring The Blue Ridge Parkway

Itineraries From West to East:

Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Asheville This beautiful drive starts at historic Oconoluftee Farm Museum in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and includes stops at Richland Balsam, the highest point on the parkway, as well as incredible Cowee Overlook, hiking and waterfalls at Graveyard Fields, more hiking at Mount Pisgah, Mount Pisgah Inn, sidetrips along scenic Highway 215 and Highway 276 to the fascinating Cradle of Forestry Center.

Asheville to Blowing Rock A wonderfully scenic tour starting at the renowned Folk Art Center, and including stops at Craggy Gardens for hiking and spectacular views, the UNESCO Biosphere of Grandfather Mountain, lovely Linn Cove Falls and Moses Cone Park, where nineteenth century carriage roads offer great hiking and the historic mansion contains a fine craft shop packed with quilts, pottery and other works by mountain artisans.

Blowing Rock to The North Carolina/Virginia border (Coming Soon)

Itineraries From East to West:

The North Carolina/Virginia border to Blowing Rock (Coming Soon)

Blowing Rock to Asheville This journey though awe-inspiring vistas starts in the charming town of Blowing Rock and takes in the fabulous trails and historic mansion of Moses Cone Park, the engineering marvel of the Linn Cove Viaduct, the UNESCO Biosphere of Grandfather Mountain, the trails and awesome vistas of Craggy Gardens, ending at the renowned Folk Art Center which is chock-full of fine mountain crafts including carvings, hand-woven textiles, pottery, glass art and more.

Asheville to Great Smoky Mountains National Park This popular day-trip starts in Asheville and crosses the lovely French Broad River before climbing to Mount Pisgah and beyond to the spectacular vistas of Cowee Overlook and the highest point on the parkway at Richland Balsam. Other highlights include the lovely trails and waterfalls of Graveyard Fields and historic Oconoluftee Farm Museum and Mingus Mill in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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Take Me To:

Grove Arcade, Asheville, NC

Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC

Osondu Books, Waynesville, NC

Rainbow Row of Shops, Flat Rock, NC

Cradle of Forestry, Brevard, NC

Carl Sandburg Home, Flat Rock, NC

Allanstand Craft Shop at the Folk Art Center, Asheville, NC

North Carolina Arboretum, Asheville, NC

Shops at Old Edwards Inn, Highlands, NC

Wickwire Gallery, Hendersonville, NC

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