Blue Ridge Parkway is America’s most scenic drive and extends from Virginia to North Carolina. Linking Shennandoah National Park in Virginia to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina, the Blue Ridge Parkway is a 470-mile, linear National Park with many stopping points along the way. Mileposts along the parkway start at zero at the northeast end in Virginia and count to 469 at the southern end in North Carolina.
You can spend days on the Blue Ridge Parkway enjoying the breathtaking panoramas specially during spring and fall. From Milepost 0 to Milepost 217, the parkway lies in Virginia. From Milepost 217 to Milepost 470, the parkway winds through North Carolina. The parkway is extremely beautiful between Blowing Rock (Milepost 290) and Asheville (Milepost 390) with lot of overlooks, parks and hiking trails.
We visited Blue Ridge parkway on Oct 11th, 2009 to view Fall Colors. Our trip started from Blowing Rock and went on till Crabtree Meadows. The fall colors were near their peak on most of the parkway between Blowing Rock and Asheville. We had planned to visit Mt. Mitchell and Craggy Gardens on the same day but we were slowed down by Nature’s Beauty, trails and overlooks, where we spent more time than planned. We will have to go back again another sunny day to view Mt. Mitchell and nearby places on the Parkway. Biltmore Estate is also another place we plan to visit late October.
As you drive south on Blue Ridge Parkway from Blowing Rock to Asheville, these are some of the attractions you get to see:-
- Julian Price Memorial Park (Milepost 296) – An amazing place with miles and miles of greenery, a beautiful lake and good fall colors. There are restrooms, picnic tables and campgrounds. There are some beautiful streams and creeks which flow through the park.
- Rough Ridge (Milepost 302.8) – A short trail to the summit offers beautiful views of Grandfather Mountain and Linn Cove Viaduct.
- Linn Cove Viaduct (Milepost 304.4) – There is a visitor center with restrooms and a short trail leads you beneath the Viaduct.
- Grandfather Mountain (Milepost 305) – The highest peak in the Blue Ridge mountain range and one of the most visited attractions on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
- Grandfather Mountain Overlook (Milepost 306) – A scenic overlook with great views of Grandfather Mountain.
- Linville Waterfalls and Gorge (MilePost 316.4) – Beautiful waterfalls and gorge with picnic area and lot of trails.
- Chestoa View Overlook (Milepost 320) – Scenic overlook offering views of Linville Gorge and Table Rock Mountain and a 30-minutes loop trail with good views.
- Orchard at Altapass
- Crabtree Meadows and Waterfall (Milepost 339.5)
- Looking Glass Waterfalls (Milepost 412) – Take US 276 from MP 412 to view the beautiful waterfalls.
- Mt. Mitchell
- Craggy Gardens
- Biltmore Estate
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Milepost 469.1)