Blue Ridge Parkway - Western North Carolina Section

Outdoor Activities

Sunset from Craggy Pinnacle - Blue Ridge Parkway North of Asheville
Sunset from Craggy Pinnacle

It is no wonder that the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of the most popular destinations in the National Park System, is known as "America's Favorite Drive." Stretching 469 miles from the southern end of Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Qualla Boundary of the Cherokee in the Great Smoky Mountains Park in North Carolina, the Parkway offers breathtaking scenery and a variety of recreational opportunities.

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Within the Blue Ridge Parkway there are several recreation areas, some with visitor centers, campgrounds, picnic areas and trails as well as restaurants, lodges and other facilities. Along the way you can explore historic pioneer settlements and Native American village sites, learn about the cultural history of the southern Appalachians and enjoy the natural wonders of the region.

If you simply want to unwind, take a relaxing drive and stop from time to time to enjoy the spectacular vistas or have a picnic lunch. If you like to hike, you'll find numerous trails that provide a more intimate communion with nature. Whether you have a few hours or several days, the Blue Ridge Parkway offers something for everyone.

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Colorful sunset seen from Craggy Gardens on the Blue Ridge Parkway

History of the Blue Ridge Parkway

Historical photo of a section of the Blue Ridge Parkway
Library of Congress Photo

The vision of the Blue Ridge Parkway began during the Great Depression. In 1935 President Franklin D. Roosevelt approved the creation of this scenic highway as part of the National Park System and allocated 16.5 million dollars to the project. Part of its purpose was to provide jobs and desperately needed income to as many people as possible...

Find Out More About the History of the Blue Ridge Parkway

Minimize Our Impact on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Destination Center - Asheville NC
The Destination Center - MM 384

The Blue Ridge Parkway is an incredible gift. As visitors, we must be careful to help preserve its beauty and ecological diversity for future generations. Here are some tips to help minimize our impact as we enjoy this national treasure...

Learn How to Minimize Your Impact

Flora and Fauna Found Along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Rhododendron seen along the Blue Ridge Parkway
Blooming Rhododendron - Craggy

The Blue Ridge Parkway is home to an abundance of plants and animals. The disparity in elevation is partly responsible for the wide variety of wildlife found along the 469-mile drive. The stunted spruce and fir forests of the highlands give way to tulip poplar, oaks, maples, and pines, and eventually to sycamores along the James River in Virginia. In spring an array of flowering shrubs and trees provide a beautiful display of color, with peak blooming earlier in Virginia than in North Carolina’s higher elevations...

Read More About Plants and Animals Found on the Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway Leaf Watching

Leaf Watching
Autumn Colors - Asheville

The Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina is an ideal place to view this region's spectacular fall color. With the Blue Ridge Parkway extending hundreds of miles north to south and varying in elevation from about 600 feet to over 6,000 feet, there is considerable variation in when and where the fall color will reach its peak...

Get the Details in Fall Color in Western NC

Parkway Access and Seasonal Travel Concerns, Closings

Blue Ridge Parkway Road Closure
Craven Gap - Parkway Closure

Our access and closings page offers a map with brief directions to find the access points near Asheville, NC. This page also covers construction and weather related closings and offers links and telephone numbers to get current closing informatoin...

Find Local Access Points and Closing Information

Featured Spots, Views, and Overlooks of the Blue Ridge Parkway

Interactive Parkway Map - Destination Center
Interactive Map - Destination Center

Here are some of the featured spots on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Western North Carolina, with their milepost numbers. They are listed from north to south and include: Linville Gorge and Falls, Mount Mitchell, The Folk Art Center and Mt. Pisgah...

Explore the Popular Spots on the Blue Ridge Parkway in NC

Outdoor Activities

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Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina