Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway

A Blue Ridge Parkway experience is unlike any other, a slow-paced and relaxing drive revealing stunning long-range vistas and close-up views of the rugged mountains and pastoral landscapes of the Appalachian Highlands. Protecting a diversity of plants and animals, "America's Favorite Parkway" meanders for 469 miles, providing opportunities for enjoying all that makes this region of the country so special. 

Outstanding scenery and recreational opportunities make the Blue Ridge Parkway one of the most visited sections of the National Park System.  Split-rail fences, old farmsteads, mountain meadows and scenic overlooks with endless vistas make the Blue Ridge Parkway a popular attraction.  The Parkway incorporates numerous campgrounds, picnic areas and trails.

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Hours

The Blue Ridge Parkway is open year round except for sections that may be closed due to ice and snow, storm damage, or for construction or maintenance activities.  Blue Ridge Parkway road closure information is available online through a real-time road closure map provided by the National Park Service, or by calling the recorded Park Information Line at 828-298-0398. 

(Note: Many places fill to capacity on busy, nice weather days, especially holiday weekends. Please call ahead or visit the official website to get the most up-to-date information before visiting.)

Fees

There is no fee to travel the Blue Ridge Parkway and entrances and exits are available at intersections with all major highways. Taking short side trips into the many communities along the Parkway route is an excellent way to explore this region of the country.

There is a charge for camping ($16 per site) and those visitors with the Interagency Senior or Access Pass (or former Golden Age or Golden Access Passports) pay a reduced camping fee.

Activities

The Blue Ridge Parkway is more than a road – it’s a beautiful journey that entices visitors to explore a 469-mile gateway to America’s rich cultural heritage including Cherokee traditions, music, crafts, agriculture and nature. Your journey is just around the corner!  Many visitors include a stop at a Parkway Visitor Center in their itinerary. Located throughout Virginia and North Carolina, visitor centers are a perfect place to strecth your legs and explore the Parkway’s 469 miles and rich history.

Camping is one way visitors traveling through the Blue Ridge Parkway can spend the night under the stars in one of America’s most beautiful natural settings.  The Parkway’s nine campgrounds were built years ago and do not offer hookups, but most have at least some sites that will accommodate sizeable recreational vehicles, and all offer restrooms (showers are available at Mt. Pisgah campground only), drinking water, picnic tables and grills.

  • Otter Creek Campground - MP 60.8
  • Peaks of Otter Campground - MP 85.6
  • Roanoke Mountain Campground - MP 120.4
  • Rocky Knob Campground - MP 161.1
  • Doughton Park Campground - MP 239.2
  • Price Park Campground - MP 296.9
  • Linville Falls Campground - MP 316.4
  • Crabtree Falls Campground - MP 339.5
  • Mount Pisgah - MP 408.6

With 469 miles connecting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the Shenandoah National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway weaves through quaint communities, beautiful towns, and vibrant cities that offer visitors of all ages a variety of attractions, dining, shopping, and more.

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Facilities

The Blue Ridge Parkway offers many Visitor Centers along its 469 miles - great places to stretch your legs, take a rest, enjoy the view, and learn more about the region!

Virginia Visitor Centers

  • Milepost 5.8 - Humpback Rocks
  • Milepost 63.6 - James River
  • Milepost 86 - Peaks of Otter
  • Milepost 169 - Rocky Knob

North Carolina Visitor Centers

  • Milepost 217.5 - Cumberland Knob
  • Milepost 258.6 - Northwest Trading Post
  • Milepost 294.1 - Moses H. Cone
  • Milepost 304.4 - Linn Cove Viaduct
  • Milepost 316.4 - Linville Falls
  • Milepost 331 - Museum of NC Minerals
  • Milepost 364.6 - Craggy Gardens
  • Milepost 382- Folk Art Center
  • Milepost 384 - The Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center
  • Milepost 451.2 - Waterrock Knob
  • Milepost 462.9 - Oconaluftee

Gas is not available on the Blue Ridge Parkway but is available not far off the Parkway at many U.S. or State Highway intersections.

Accessibility

Most Parkway facilities shown are "Wheelchair Useable." Some facilities have a minor slope and/or structural barriers.

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History

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a product of the New Deal’s efforts to provide jobs to the unemployed of the Great Depression. Construction began in September 1935 at Cumberland Knob near the North Carolina and Virginia state line.

The idea was to create a link between the Shenandoah National Park to the edge of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Completed in 1983, the Parkway’s history has been highlighted by documentarian Ken Burns in the six-part “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea” series originally aired on PBS.

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Last updated: September 11, 2019
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