Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Pkwy, NC

Scenic Drive. Highest Elevation: 6047. Lowest Elevation: 649. Park-like environment as well as a road. Stunning views of Blue Ridge Mountains. Abundant hiking trails. Picnic areas. Campgrounds.

The pinpoint for this particular entrance starts just outside of Cherokee, North Carolina, following the Parkway North.

They say the Blue Ridge Parkway is more than just a road, it's a beautiful journey. Start this journey and you will quickly find this to be true. This 469 mile gateway connects the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina to the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. Along the way, you will find yourself surrounded by ever-changing stunning views, 369 miles of trails (everything from a short-leg stretch to a challenging trek,) 382 overlooks, 910 vistas, 600 miles of streams, 2,074 plant species and an abundance of wildlife.

The Parkway is open year-round, but sections may be closed in winter due to ice and snow, so make sure to check on the status and closures before you plan your winter drive.

Side note: The Country Store on the parkway in front of Pisgah Inn, milepost 408.6, has wi-fi. It does require a password, so hop in, grab some snacks or a map and ask about the wi-fi.

Pack List

  • Fill up the tank before hitting the parkway, you will have to exit the parkway for gas down the road
  • Camping equipment
  • Daypack
  • Camera
  • Food and water
  • Jackets and blankets (It can get cool at the higher elevations)
  • Flashlights and Batteries
  • Jumper cables or something similar (just in case)
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Activities Chillin, Photography
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Features
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Handicap Accessible
Picnic Area
Romantic
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife
Swimming Hole

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Best road trip in the South

This is the road trip to take if you are interested in obscene views and beauty for miles and miles of slowly winding mountain roads. In June, rhododendrons start blooming all over, dotting the landscape with shades of pink. There are overlooks everywhere for you to pause and drink the scenery in. Take your time and plan to hit up Mt. Mitchell if you have a chance - or make your way to the quaint town of Burnsville - if you’re lucky, you may stumble into an unmarked swimming hole or a massive waterfall.

Favorite drive. Ever.

Driving from the Eastern Smokies back down to Atlanta along the Blue Ridge Parkway at the peak of fall was easily the most scenic and fun drive I have ever done. Between the gentle curves in the mountainside roads and the numerous lookout shoulders, I just could not get enough. A 3.5 hour drive easily turned into a 6 hour drive because we just kept stopping at every lookout. At one point I even said to myself, "OK, I am going to drive 20 minutes without stopping, so I can actually make some progress on this drive." Not more than two minutes later, I found myself pulled over at another lookout point, dumbfounded how each view seemed better than the last. This drive is just one of those pure joys in life, unless you get motion sickness...

This is a must-do in the area. It offers breathtaking scenery of the valley below and is perfect for one of those days that you want the views without the effort of hiking!


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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