This Land: Blue Ridge Parkway

Len Cousineau
October 26, 2012
Filed under Top Stories, Trailer Campgrounds, Travel

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Travelers who prefer scenic vistas over amusement parks, and mom-and-pop shops to theme restaurants, or would rather hike through pines and hardwoods than a forest of slot machines would enjoy the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina and Virginia. Meandering across the Appalachian Highlands for an incomparable 469 miles and altitudes spanning from 649 to 6,000 feet above sea level, the Blue Ridge Parkway delivers countless old-fashioned thrills travelers can discover flying over head or around nearly every scenic bend, along nature-bedecked trails and within crystal-clear streams.

Blue Ridge Parkway

The 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway travels through 29 counties and contributes two billion dollars each year in revenue to North Carolina and Virginia. It passes by many hiking, camping and interpretive sites. – National Park Service

Numerous overlooks along the route allow RVers the opportunity to safely enjoy the wonderful views at their leisure. Most travelers will likely want to take pictures at particularly breathtaking overlooks, but enthusiastic photographers should bring plenty of memory cards, since the combination of historical buildings, wildlife, foliage and gorgeous terrain can create photographic nirvana.

One of the mistakes that park visitors sometimes make is not truly experiencing the outdoors, neglecting to walk the more than 100 trails leading from the Blue Ridge Parkway into the surrounding forests. Travelers need not be seasoned hikers to appreciate the region’s natural wonders since some of the hikes along the Parkway are easy walks through beautiful landscapes. Ambitious hikers, of course, can bite off as much of the world-famous Appalachian Trail as time permits.

Bird watchers will be able to spot many assorted species, since the Appalachian Mountains are the spine of the eastern flyway. Fans of wildflowers should visit in May while connoisseurs of rhododendron should drive the parkway in mid-June. Travelers can experience ranger-guided walks and listen to educational evening talks during the summer months. In many of the developed areas, demonstrations of mountain life and culture entertain visitors.

The Parkway’s campgrounds are open beginning in April or May each year, though many of the attractions along the route are open year-round.

Blue Ridge Parkway
828-298-0398,
nps.gov/blri

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