LOCATION: The Parkway passes through western Virginia and North Carolina, with access from several major highways and cities. Asheville, NC, and Roanoke, VA, are the largest metropolitan areas along the parkway itself.

REGULATIONS and ADVICE: To help protect the Parkway, yourself, and others, observe all park regulations.

  • Drive carefully. The maximum speed limit is 45 miles per hour. Report any accident to a Park Ranger. Commercial vehicles are not permitted on the Parkway.
  • Roadside parking. Roadside parking is permitted where safe. Please park vehicles between 6 and 12 feet from the edge of the pavement.
  • Trails. Bicycles and motorized vehicles are not permitted on Parkway trails.
  • Pets. Dogs and other pets must be on a leash or under physical restraint at all times while in the Park.
  • Do not swim in Parkway lakes and ponds. They are for fishing and scenic beauty only. Swimming facilities are available in nearby U.S. forest services recreation areas, state parks, and mountain resorts.
  • Prevent forest fires. Fires, including charcoal grills, are permitted in campgrounds and picnic areas only.
  • Boats without motors or sails are permitted on Price Lake.
  • Deposit all litter in the trash cans provided at trail heads, parking overlooks, and picnic areas.
  • Natural resources are protected by Federal law. Do not disturb animal and plant life in any way. Hunting, trapping and carrying weapons are prohibited. Do not interfere with animals by feeding, touching, or frightening them. Do not cut, deface, or damage trees. Leave wildflowers and other vegetation in their natural condition for other hikers to enjoy.
  • Historic resources are protected by Federal law. Do not damage, deface, or remove any of these structures, furnishings, or exhibits.

(excerpts taken from the Parkway website)

It's hard to believe that this beautiful roadway is only sixty years old. The Blue Ridge Parkway is such a natural part
of the landscape that it seems to have always been here. This scenic highway came to fruition in 1935 out of a need to provide work for people who had been forced from their jobs by the Great Depression. The Parkway was conceived as a link between the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee. After the political battling ended and financing was ironed out, the project employed thousands of workers and engineers.

The idea was to create for the traveler a sense of connection to the land and its history and to inspire future generations to preserve this connection. They succeeded. As you travel along the 250 miles of the Parkway in North Carolina, you
pass sights that fill your soul and invite you to be part of this extraordinary place. Overlooks, designed for their grand
vistas, invite you to pull over and stop. More often than not, a hiking trail will tempt you up the hill where wildflowers grow in abundance from April through October. Several endangered species live on Parkway lands, including wildflowers such as
Gray’s Lily, Heller’s Blazing Star and more.

Animal species such as bog turtles, flying squirrels, and well as more than 100 bird species can be
seen during the spring migration season. Picnic tables "dot" the Parkway making the slightest stopover a special occasion.
Visitor centers and roadside historical markers bring to life the story of the mountains and region, its people and natural

On the Parkway in Watauga, Avery and Mitchell counties, the mountains seem to grow, the mountaintops stretch higher,
and the horizon spreads farther. (Elevations on the Parkway range from 649 to 6,047 feet.) The section of Parkway known
as the Linn Cove Viaduct, near Grandfather Mountain at milepost 304, is the newest link and an engineering marvel.
This section swings 1,243 feet around the curve of the rugged mountain. Borrowing construction techniques developed in
Switzerland, the viaduct was designed and built “from the top down” to create the least impact on environmentally delicate
Grandfather Mountain. The structure was built of 153 pre-cast concrete sections, no two exactly alike, and was completed
in the 1980s.

There are so many places to stop it’s no wonder that the Parkway, with 25 million visitors annually, is the number one visited
area in all the 367 areas in the National Park System. Visitor centers are equipped with amenities to make your
trip easier, and you’ll find accommodations, quaint inns and restaurants off many Parkway exits.


Looking for more details about the High Country? For information regarding accommodations, events and things to do, visit the Ultimate High Country Activity Guide.



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