Sunday, September 6, 2015

Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway runs for 469 miles through Virginia and North Carolina, connecting Shenandoah National Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The route follows the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains and other mountain ranges and has no straight stretches, constantly twisting and turning and rising and falling, at a constant speed limit of 45 MPH, with interchanges at major highways and occasional minor cross roads. Hiking trails, picnic areas, washrooms, campgrounds, and water are available at intervals, and nearly 300 overlooks are available as you drive the parkway. The area is a linear national park administered by the National Park Service. Begun in the 1930s as a depression-era public works project, it was more than 50 years in construction and ultimately served as a blueprint for construction of our interstate highway system.

Skyline Drive is the 105 mile road that runs through Shenandoah National Park. At Afton Mountain, Virginia, as you leave Shenandoah, the road becomes the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Below is the elevation graphic for the parkway...

Mabry Mill, a water-powered gristmill and lumber mill operation built around 1910 and restored in 1945 by the NPS, is at milepost 176.1, and is reputed to be the most photographed place along the parkway. A map and list of sights, rest stops, etc.. is available. Scenery is predominantly of trees on both sides, with overlooks at places with vistas. Farms and residences are occasionally evident, but even in larger metropolitan areas like Asheville, you miss most evidence of civilization.

Fall is an especially beautiful time to experience the parkway drive...

Here's the map of the route (click to enlarge)...

FOR MORE INFO:  Blue Ridge Parkway website



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