Wanderlust America

Exploring the beauty of the Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a National Parkway and an All-American Road in the United States known for its scenic beauty. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States. It is the longest linear park in the United States and runs for 469 miles from the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Cherokee Indian Reservation in North Carolina. Along its way, it has some of the highest ridges and mountains in North Carolina and is known for its amazing scenic views. Let us give you a full tour of this amazing and historic Blue Ridge Parkway.   

Blue Ridge Parkway Scenic road

History of Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway was part of the New Deal that was instituted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Congress. It was designed to provide work for the unemployed, as a result of The Great Depression. Construction of the Blue Ridge Parkway began on September 11, 1935, and was completed 52 years later. The Parkway and especially the Linn Cove Viaduct is an engineering marvel. It winds its way along mountain ridges, through valleys, and over many of the tallest peaks in the United States. They also designed the Blue Ridge Parkway such that it had minimal impact on the mountains and was barely visible from lower elevations.   

Start and End

 Blue Ridge Parkway begins outside Waynesboro, Virginia and continues for 469 miles along which you would get a chance to witness beautiful mountain peaks, scenic waterfalls and national parks. Throughout the ride you will come across towns and cities that have great cultural and social opportunities to offer to visitors like museums, hiking trails, local food outlets and natural wonders. Blue Ridge Parkway would take you to Cherokee, North Carolina to end your trip near Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With all these enchanting features this route makes a picture-perfect relaxing road trip. 

Blue Ridge Parkway Starting Point


  • Humpback Rocks and Shenandoah Valley – It is one of the park’s most iconic landmarks. It is also a very popular hiking destination. The trail to Humpback Rocks rewards hikers with panoramic views of the Shenandoah Valley. Hence, it showcases the natural beauty of the surrounding landscapes.  
  • Roanoke – You will come across Roanoke if you keep continuing south on Blue Ridge Parkway. It is a vibrant city that is nestled in Blue Ridge Mountains, Roanoke offers a delightful blend of cultural attractions and many outdoor adventures. You can also immerse yourself in the city’s art and music scene, explore the fascinating history at the Taubman Museum of Art and the O. Winston Link Museum, or even embark on a hiking or biking adventure in the nearby George Washington and Jefferson National Forests.   
  • Linville George and Linville Falls – Make sure you stop at Linville George. It is a majestic and rugged wild area that offers breathtaking views and great hiking spots. Also, do not miss the chance to see Linville Falls, it is a magnificent waterfall that cascades into the gorge. You can explore various overlooks and hiking trails, which will allow you to appreciate the grandeur of this natural wonder.   
  • Asheville – You should visit the historic Biltmore Estate, a magnificent mansion that is surrounded by beautiful gardens and hiking trails. Discover the vibrant River Arts District which is filled with galleries and studios that showcase the works of local artists.   
  • Pisgah National Forest – It encompasses over 500,000 acres and offers a diverse array of natural wonders. You can discover its enchanting waterfalls which include the Looking Glass Falls and Sliding Rock. You can even hike through scenic trails such as the legendary Black Balsam Knob and Graveyard Fields. They are both adorned with wildflowers and panoramic views. Activities such as camping, fishing, and wildlife spotting can also be done over here.  
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park – You will end your journey here as you reach the southern terminus of the Blue Ridge Parkway. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has awe-inspiring beauty, mist-covered mountains, and diverse wildlife. Remember, to discover Cades Cove, a historic valley known for its abundant wildlife and well-preserved homesteads. You can hike to iconic landmarks such as Clingmans Dome, which is the highest peak in the park, and explore picture-worthy falls such as Laurel Falls and Abrams Falls.   
Great smoky mountains

Photograph Opportunities

  • Sunrise and Sunset Overlook – Capture the vibrant colors of sunset or sunrise from various overlooks, as mountains and valleys and drenched in golden sunlight.  
  • Waterfalls – You can take pictures of waterfalls along the Blue Ridge Parkway such as Linville Falls, Crabtree Falls, and Looking Glass Falls.   
  • Wildflowers – In spring and early summer, the parkway is adorned with colorful wildflowers. You should explore meadows and trails to capture close-ups of them.   

Sites and Museums

  • Mabry Hill – It is located near Milepost 176; Mabry Hill is a historic gristmill renowned for its picturesque setting and interpretation of early Appalachian life. You can explore the mill and surrounding grounds, learn about the traditional milling techniques, and enjoy exhibits on rural life in the mountains.   
  • Museum of the Cherokee Indian – It is just outside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Cherokee, North Carolina. You will find this museum to be very fascinating that delves into the history and culture of the Cherokee people. Also discover exhibits on their language, arts, traditions, and the impact of European civilization.   
Mabry Hill


No trip through the Blue Ridge Parkway is complete without savoring the flavors of authentic South American cuisine. Along this route, you will be able to find restaurants, diners, and roadside eateries that serve delicious regional dishes. You can indulge yourself in classics like fried chicken, biscuits, cornbread, collard greens, and mouthwatering barbeque. Also, do not forget to try Southern-style desserts like pecan pie or banana pudding. Make sure you seek out farm-to-table restaurants that highlight locally sourced ingredients and feature the flavors of the Appalachian Mountains.   

Wildlife Spotting

  • Black Bears – The Blue Ridge Parkway is known for its black bear population. Please be alert and respectful if you are to encounter a bear and maintain a safe distance from it.   
  • Deer – White-tailed deer can often be spotted along the edges of meadows and forests, especially during morning and late evening hours.   
  • Birds – The Blue Ridge Parkway is a haven for birdwatchers, with over 200 species of birds documented. You should look for colorful songbirds, raptors such as hawks and eagles, and the elusive pileated woodpecker. 

Hiking Trails

  • Rough Ridge – It is located near Milepost 302.8 of Blue Ridge Parkway and rewards hikers with stunning views of the surrounding mountains and the Linn Cove Viaduct. The trail also features boardwalks and rock outcroppings, which also makes it a great spot for photography.  
  • Craggy Gardens – It is situated near Milepost 364 and is renowned for its vibrant rhododendron blooms in late spring and early summer. The Craggy Pinnacle Trail also leads to a picture-worthy overlook that offers sweeping views of the valleys and the mountains.   
  • Graveyard Fields – It can be found near Milepost 418.8 and is a unique hiking destination with stunning waterfalls. The Upper Falls and Second Falls can also be accessed via well-maintained trails that provide panoramic views for nature enthusiasts.  
  • Peaks of Otter – This is located near Milepost 86 of Blue Ridge Parkway. The Peaks of Otter offers many scenic hiking trails. The Flat Top trail is another great option that features a more gradual ascent.
Rough Ridge Hike Staircase

Get ready to be enchanted by nature’s serenity and grandeur as you traverse through the Blue Ridge Parkway. In this blog, we have provided you with rich knowledge and know-how on how to go about planning for your trip on the parkway.   

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