The Blue Ridge Parkway traverses 469 miles along the high crests of the central and southern Appalachian Mountains, connecting Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. Designed as a recreational scenic roadway, the Blue Ridge Parkway is the most visited unit of the U.S. National Park System.
The Virginia portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway is 217 miles long and the North Carolina portion is 252 miles long (405.6 km). Concrete mileposts mark every mile along the Parkway, beginning at milepost 0 near Shenandoah National Park and ending at milepost 469 at Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Visitors should be aware that there are no gas stations on the Parkway. There are, however, many entrances and exits to nearby communities.
Home to 100 varieties of trees, 1,600 plant species, 54 mammals, and 159 species of birds, the Blue Ridge Parkway offers visitors the opportunity to explore one of the world's most ecologically diverse areas. In addition to the abundant natural resources, the Parkway offers many historic and cultural sites. A few of the many popular activities include hiking, picnicking, bicycling, birdwatching, photography, camping and taking part in seasonal ranger lead programs.
Interesting Things to Know about the Blue Ridge Parkway
- Planned for leisurely and slow paced travel, the speed limit is 45 miles per hour unless posted otherwise.
- Elevation ranges from 649 feet above sea level at James River (milepost 64 in Virginia) to 6,047 feet at Richland Balsam (milepost 431) south of Mount Pisgah, North Carolina.
- The route winds through twenty-nine counties and four US National Forests.
- Commercial traffic and activities are prohibited on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
- Always check for road closures, which may occur in any season due to weather and other issues, before planning your route.
- The Blue Ridge Parkway Destination Center
- See the Spring Mountain Wildflowers
- Fall Foliage - Typical Peak Periods in Virginia
- Fall Foliage - Typical Peak Periods in North Carolina
- Blue Ridge Parkway Association Website
- The Blue Ridge Parkway - National Park Service Website
- North Carolina Lodging Offers -
(Select Mountains to look for Blue Ridge Parkway Area Offers