Construction began on the Blue Ridge Parkway in the fall of 1935 and for the past 76 years it has been an American staple. Spanning 469 miles through 29 counties, the parkway takes travelers along the Appalachian mountains through North Carolina and Virginia providing a unique view of foliage and history.
Drivers marvel at the picturesque views along the route of the Black Mountains, Craggies, Pisgahs, Balsams and the Great Smokies. Enticing nature lovers, the Blue Ridge Parkway spans more than 70,000 acres of forest and includes 14 vegetation types, 1,600 vascular plant species and 130 species of trees. Hitting some major attractions, the parkway also connects Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the south and Shenandoah National Park on the northern end.
Taking a break along the way, drivers can stop at a visitor center and learn more about the area from the many exhibits and restored historical structures. The drive is long, but there are more than 100 trails along the parkway for travelers to stretch their legs. In addition to hiking, the parkway also offers bird-watching opportunities, horseback riding, ranger guided walks and nine campgrounds (open early May through the fall), on top of ample opportunities to photograph â€œAmericaâ€™s Favorite Drive.â€
For more information about the parkway go to www.nps.gov/blri or call 828-271-4779.