Blue Ridge Parkway in Pictures
With view after scenic view through the Appalachian Mountains, the Blue Ridge Parkway has long been known as ‘America’s Favorite Drive’.
The Parkway winds and meanders for 469 miles, picking up where Shenandoah National Park leaves off in Virginia and ending at the southern entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina.
Touring the Parkway by car is popular of course, but the area also attracts hikers, fishermen, and cyclists. There are also 8 campgrounds and 13 picnic areas to enjoy along the way. Visitor centers are scattered throughout the park for pictures and information.
Finding a mountain overlook to enjoy the sunset is definitely a highlight.
Things to see and do
- Take a drive through the park and enjoy the slow, easy pace of the Appalachian Mountains
- Pack a picnic in the cooler and enjoy lunch along the way
- Watch for bears and other wildlife in the park
- Visit in late spring and early summer for the rhododendron, mountain laurel, and azalea blooms
- Snap some photos
- Cycle your way along the Parkway
The Parkway has several entrances along the route, so it’s easy to hop on and off. Mile marker 0 begins at the southern end of Shenandoah National Park, and the Parkway ends at Great Smoky Mountains National Park at mile marker 469 near Cherokee, SC.
We took our time driving over from Shenandoah, hopping on and off to snap photos, and we really enjoyed it (despite the drizzly weather). Finally around sunset, the clouds broke just a bit for some nice pictures.
Blue Ridge Parkway Stats
Date created: Construction began in 1933.
Annual Visitors: nearly 15 million in 2019
Fun Fact: The Blue Ridge Parkway is America’s longest linear park at 469 miles.
Visitor Centers and Passport Stamps
There are several Visitor Centers along the Parkway in both Virginia and North Carolina. Unfortunately, they were closed by the time we decided to stop, so we didn’t get stamps for this trip. The Oconaluftee Visitor Center in Great Smoky Mountains National Park does have a stamp however. For an up-to-date list of mile posts and Visitor Centers, click here.
Other Nearby Parks
Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains bookend the Parkway and are the largest major parks nearby. Other NPS sites near the Parkway are Booker T. Washington National Monument near Roanoke, and the Appomattox Court House National Historical Park in Virginia.
Have you driven the Blue Ridge Parkway?
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