Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway has become known as “America’s favourite scenic drive”, due to the winding road providing panoramic views across the Blue Ridge Mountains. You can enjoy the high peaks of Grandfather Mountain (5946ft), the tranquillity of Lake Abbott, and the beautiful plunging waterfall at Linville Gorge along the route.
It isn’t all about nature, along the Blue Ridge Parkway you can visit the town of Asheville, which is home to the historic Biltmore Estate, a vibrant art-scene, and a growing number of farm-to-table restaurants.
Where is the Blue Ridge Parkway?
Stretching along a ridge of The Blue Ridge Mountains (part of the American Appalachian Mountains), the Blue Ridge Parkway links Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, with Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina.
How long is the Blue Ridge Parkway?
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a winding, scenic road that stretches for 469 miles along the Blue Ridge Mountains. There are convenient mile markers all the way along the road making navigation simple.
When is the best time to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway?
The Blue Ridge Parkway is open all year round, subject to particularly adverse weather conditions. Although there is never a bad time to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway, the different seasons do provide different experiences:
- Spring (April to June) A perfect time to witness Wild Flowers and fresh green shoots all along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Although you can expect some showers, this means that the many waterfalls will be at peak flow.
- Summer (July and August) Warmer temperatures make this an ideal time to walk the many hiking trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway. However, popular areas can become crowded, so be sure to plan your journey in advance.
- Autumn (September and October) The fall foliage colours make this a fantastic time to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway. The mountains transform to a patchwork of red, orange and gold creating spectacular vistas at each viewing point.
- Winter (November to March) Although you will need to keep an eye on the weather, winter can be a picturesque time to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway. Expect snow-capped peaks, crisp hiking trails and a chance to see frozen waterfalls.
How long does it take to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway?
In theory, if you were to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway continuously, from start to finish, it would take between 10 to 12 hours to complete. However, in practice, and to make the most of the scenic nature of the Blue Ridge Parkway, most visitors will drive the route across several days.
Is there a charge to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway?
Although maintained by the National Park Service, there is no toll or charge to drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Essentially it is a public road. However, specific attractions and campgrounds along the route may charge admission fees.
Is the Blue Ridge Parkway the same as the Skyline Drive?
Whilst both of these roads do follow the Blue Ridge Mountains they are separate roads. The 469 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway is designated scenic public road, whilst the 105 miles of the Skyline Drive are wholly located within Shenandoah National Park and as such is subject to the charges required for accessing the National Park.
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