Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia/Carolinas
The Blue Ridge Parkway is quite a long scenic route work exploring over several days. The entire drive is approximately 755km and takes you through 29 different counties of Virginia and North Carolina in the USA. With various sights and attractions along the way, this is not the kind of drive that should be rushed. Take your time, travel in a comfortable campervan, motorhome or RV and keep your accommodation bill low by making the most of the campgrounds along and close to the route.
What to see in Virginia
You begin your adventure at Rockfish Gap near Waynesboro in Virginia. This is the northern end of the parkway and it connects with another famous route, the Skyline Drive.
Just a few miles into your trip and you will come across the self-guided trail, Humpback Rock which takes you through a number of Appalachian farm structures.
From Ravens Roost, you can enjoy views of Torry Mountain and the picturesque Shenandoah National Park. You can enjoy a picnic here and you might even see some local rock climbers and hand gliders in action!
Feel free to stop at Sherando Lake for a picnic, set up camp or even just enjoy a refreshing swim. You will then drive past Whetstone Ridge and Yankee Horse Ridge before you reach an old railroad that allows access to Wigwam Falls.
Your next main stop is at Otter Creek before you make your way to the James River and Kanawha Canal and then on to Onion Mountain where a short trail takes you through rhododendron and mountain laurel.
The three mountain peaks known as the Peaks of Otter are a popular sight as is the Roanoke River Gorge and Mountain. From Roanoke Valley, you can enjoy views of the largest community along this route. From Rocky Knob, you can enjoy the view of Rock Castle Gorge before you drive on to the famous Mabry Mill which operated from 1910 to 1935.
Main attractions in North Carolina
Once you cross the state line into North Carolina, you will reach Cumberland Knob and its small recreation area. Just a few miles further and you will reach Brinegar Cabin which dates back to 1880. Doughton Park is next and this is the perfect spot to stop and explore. With many hiking trails, a picnic area, campgrounds and more, why not spend some extra time here before you continue your drive?
Look out for signs for the Northwest Trading Post if you’re looking to pick up some locally made crafts and explore the nearby woodland trail to Jumpinoff Rock.
There is a self-guided trail at E.B. Jeffress Park that leads to a waterfall, an old cabin and a church.
If you fancy some fishing, horse trails or even some more hiking, make sure that you stop at Moses H. Cone Memorial Park.
Next up is the Julian Price Memorial Park which is home to Price Lake. This is the only lake along the route where you may enjoy some paddling fun so don’t miss out!
The Linn Cove Viaduct is next and there is a visitor centre nearby with all the information you need.
From Flat Rock, you can enjoy amazing views of the Linville Valley and Grandfather Mountain before you head for the Linville Falls Recreation Area. Enjoy the view of the gorge as well as the local waterfall.
Next on your itinerary is Glassmine Falls and then the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Centre.
Shining Rock Wilderness the largest in the State and, when you reach the famous Devil’s Courthouse, you will notice how much the area was influenced by the Cherokee traditions.
You can take a hike from Herrin Knob Overlook around Tanasee Bald which is believed to be the home of the Cherokee giant, Tsul’Kalu.
The highest point of the parkway is at Richland Balsam where you can enjoy a trail through the spruce-fir forest.
Next up is Licklog Ridge, Waterrock Knob and Heintooga Overlook. Your journey comes to a conclusion where the parkway meets U.S. 441 in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina.