Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a National Parkway and All-American Road in the United States, noted for its scenic beauty. The parkway, which is America's longest linear park,[3] runs for 469 miles (755 km) through 29 Virginia and North Carolina counties, linking Shenandoah National Park to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It runs mostly along the spine of the Blue Ridge, a major mountain chain that is part of the Appalachian Mountains. Its southern terminus is at U.S. 441 on the boundary between Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Cherokee Indian Reservation in North Carolina, from which it travels north to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. The roadway continues through Shenandoah as Skyline Drive, a similar scenic road which is managed by a different National Park Service unit. Both Skyline Drive and the Virginia portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway are part of Virginia State Route 48, though this designation is not signed.

The parkway has been the most visited unit of the National Park System every year since 1946 except three (1949, 2013, and 2016).[4] Land on either side of the road is owned and maintained by the National Park Service, and in many places parkway land is bordered by United States Forest Service property. The parkway was on North Carolina's version of the America the Beautiful quarter in 2015.[5]

Blue Ridge Parkway shield

Blue Ridge Parkway
Blue Ridge Parkway - schematic
Blue Ridge Parkway route map
Route information
Maintained by NPS
Length469 mi[1] (755 km)
ExistedJune 30, 1936–present
Blue Ridge Parkway
Major junctions
North end US 250 in Rockfish Gap, VA
South end US 441 in Swain County, NC
StatesVirginia, North Carolina
Highway system
National Parkway
National Scenic Byway
IUCN category V (protected landscape/seascape)
Blue Ridge Parkway-27527
The parkway near Grandfather Mountain
LocationNorth Carolina & Virginia, USA
Nearest cityAsheville, NC & Roanoke, VA
Coordinates36°31′07″N 80°56′09″W / 36.51861°N 80.93583°W
Area93,390 acres (377.9 km2)
EstablishedJune 30, 1936
Visitors16,093,765 (in 2017)[2]
Governing bodyNational Park Service


2016-10-24 10 34 39 Sign at the north end of the southbound Blue Ridge Parkway at Rockfish Gap in Nelson County, Virginia
View south at the north end of the parkway at Rockfish Gap, Virginia

Begun during the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the project was originally called the Appalachian Scenic Highway. Most construction was carried out by private contractors under federal contracts under an authorization by Harold L. Ickes in his role as federal public works administrator. Work began on September 11, 1935, near Cumberland Knob in North Carolina; construction in Virginia began the following February. On June 30, 1936, Congress formally authorized the project as the Blue Ridge Parkway and placed it under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service. Some work was carried out by various New Deal public works agencies. The Works Progress Administration did some roadway construction. Crews from the Emergency Relief Administration carried out landscape work and development of parkway recreation areas. Personnel from four Civilian Conservation Corps camps worked on roadside cleanup, roadside plantings, grading slopes, and improving adjacent fields and forest lands. During World War II, the CCC crews were replaced by conscientious objectors in the Civilian Public Service program.

The parkway's construction created jobs in the region, but also displaced many residents and created new rules and regulations for landowners, including requirements related to how farmers could transport crops.[6] Residents could no longer build on their lands without permission, or develop land except for agricultural use.[6] They were not permitted to use the parkway for any commercial travel but were required to transport equipment and materials on side roads.[6]

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians were also affected by the parkway, which was built through their lands.[7] From 1935 to 1940, they resisted giving up the right-of-way through the Qualla Boundary, and they were successful in gaining more favorable terms from the U.S. government.[7] Specifically, the revised bill "specified the parkway route, assured the $40,000 payment for the tribe's land, and required the state to build [a] regular highway through the Soco Valley". (The highway referred to is part of U.S. Route 19.)[7] Cherokee leaders participated in the dedications when the Cherokee sections opened in the 1950s.

Construction of the parkway was complete by the end of 1966 with one notable exception.[8] The 7.7-mile (12.4 km) stretch including the Linn Cove Viaduct around Grandfather Mountain did not open until 1987.[9] The project took over 52 years to complete.


The bridge above Interstate 26 is set to be replaced in a widening project for that interstate which will begin in September of 2019.[10] The new bridge will be built just to the south of the existing bridge, so there are no foreseeable closures associated with the bridge replacement.[11]

Ecology along the parkway

Flowering shrubs and wildflowers dominate the parkway in the spring, including rhododendrons and dogwoods, moving from valleys to mountains as the cold weather retreats. Smaller annuals and perennials such as the daisy and aster flower through the summer. Brilliant autumn foliage occurs later in September on the mountaintops, descending to the valleys by later in October. Often in early-to-middle October and middle to late April, all three seasons can be seen simply by looking down from the cold and windy parkway to the green and warm valleys below. October is especially dramatic, as the colored leaves stand out boldly and occur mostly at the same time, unlike the flowers.

Major trees include oak, hickory, and tulip tree at lower elevations and buckeye and ash in the middle, turning into conifers such as fir and spruce at the highest elevations on the parkway. Trees near ridges, peaks, and passes (often called gaps or notches) are often distorted and even contorted by the wind, and persistent rime ice is deposited by passing clouds in the winter.

Route description

The Blue Ridge Parkway tunnels were constructed through the rock—one in Virginia and 25 in North Carolina. Sections of the parkway near the tunnels are often closed in winter. Because groundwater drips from above with freezing temperatures and a lack of sunlight, ice often accumulates inside these locations despite above-freezing temperatures in the surrounding areas. The highest point on the parkway (south of Waynesville, near Mount Pisgah in North Carolina) is 6,053 feet (1,845 m) above sea level on Richland Balsam at milepost 431 and is often closed from November to April because of inclement weather such as snow, fog, and even freezing fog from low clouds. The parkway is carried across streams, railway ravines and cross roads by 168 bridges and six viaducts.

Farm at the Humpback Rock

The parkway runs from the southern terminus of Shenandoah National Park's Skyline Drive in Virginia at Rockfish Gap to U.S. Route 441 (US 441) at Oconaluftee in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Cherokee, North Carolina. There is no fee for using the parkway; however, commercial vehicles are prohibited without approval from the Park Service Headquarters, near Asheville, North Carolina.[12][13] The roadway is not maintained in the winter, and sections which pass over especially high elevations and through tunnels are often impassable and therefore closed from late fall through early spring. Weather is extremely variable in the mountains, so conditions and closures often change rapidly. The speed limit is never higher than 45 mph (72 km/h) and lower in some sections.

The parkway uses short side roads to connect to other highways, and there are no direct interchanges with Interstate Highways,[a] making it possible to enjoy wildlife and other scenery without stopping for cross-traffic. Mileposts along the parkway start at zero at the northeast end in Virginia and count to 469 at the southern end in North Carolina. The mileposts can be found on the right-hand side of the road while traveling southbound on the parkway. Major towns and cities along the way include Waynesboro, Roanoke, and Galax in Virginia; and in North Carolina, Boone and Asheville, where it runs across the property of the Biltmore Estate. The Blue Ridge Music Center (also part of the park) is located in Galax, and Mount Mitchell (the highest point in eastern North America) is only accessible via a state highway (NC 128) from the parkway at milepost 355.4.[14]

Highlights in Virginia

Mabry Mill
Craggy Gardens-27527
The view from Craggy Gardens on the Blue Ridge Parkway
East Fork Overlook
East Fork Overlook from Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Mile 0 Rockfish Gap near Waynesboro, Virginia, is the northern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway. To the north the parkway connects directly to Skyline Drive, which winds 105 miles (169 km) through Shenandoah National Park.
  • 5 to 9.3 Humpback Rock has a self-guiding trail through a collection of old Appalachian farm buildings. A hiking trail from the parking area (at mile 6.1) leads 0.75 miles (1.21 km) to The Rocks, whose humped appearance gives the area its name. Greenstone self-guiding trail (8.8).
  • 10.7 Ravens Roost offers vistas of Torry Mountain and the Shenandoah Valley to the west. The overlook is built above a cliff, so it is frequently used for rock climbing and hang gliding. There is also a single picnic table.
  • 16 Sherando Lake is a recreation area in George Washington National Forest 4.5 miles (7.2 km) from the parkway via VA 814. Swimming, picnicking, and camping.
  • 29 Whetstone Ridge provided many a mountain man with a fine-grained sharpening stone.
  • 34.4 Yankee Horse Ridge supposedly is where a hard-riding Union soldier's horse fell and had to be shot. A reconstructed spur of an old logging railroad provides access to Wigwam Falls.
  • 58 to 63.6 Otter Creek runs 10 miles (16 km) down the Blue Ridge to the James River. Otter Lake (63.1), fishing, trail.
  • 63.8 The James River and Kanawha Canal is where a footbridge leads across the river to the restored canal locks and exhibits. A self-guiding trail follows the river bluff.
  • 71 Onion Mountain's short loop trail leads through rhododendron and mountain laurel.
  • 83.4 Fallingwater Cascades can be seen along a 1.6-mile (2.6 km) loop trail.
  • 84 to 87 Peaks of Otter are three mountain peaks which have been popular viewing sites since the days of Thomas Jefferson. A shuttle bus provides service to Sharp Top.
  • 114.9 The Roanoke River Gorge is visible after a short walk.
  • 120.4 Roanoke Mountain is a 3.7-mile (6.0 km) side trip. A one-way loop road, with steep grades, crosses over the mountain. Towed vehicles are prohibited.
  • 129.6 Roanoke Valley Overlook gives a view of the largest city along the parkway.
  • 154.5 Smart View is named for having "a right smart view". A nearby cabin built in the 1890s is known as a spot for viewing dogwood blooms in early May.
  • 167 to 174 Rocky Knob overlooks Rock Castle Gorge.
  • 176.1 Mabry Mill was operated by E.B. Mabry from 1910 to 1935. A trail leads to his gristmill, sawmill, blacksmith shop, and other exhibits. Old-time skills are demonstrated in the summer and fall.
  • 188.8 Groundhog Mountain has a variety of rural fences: snake, Post-and-rail, picket and buck. Picnic grounds and observation tower are also nearby.
  • 189.1 Groundhog Mountain
  • 189.9 Aunt Orelena Puckett Cabin Exhibit was the home of an area midwife.
  • 213 Blue Ridge Music Center near the town of Galax with concerts, music demonstrations, and a 17,000-square-foot (1,600 m2) museum dedicated to anything musical, especially old-time music.

Highlights in North Carolina

2019-07-21 Green Knob Overlook -- Blue Ridge Parkway (NC)
Green Knob Overlook
Black Balsam Knob in autumn
Black Balsam Knob, Graveyard Fields and Yellowstone Falls as seen at sunrise from Milepost 419
Sign marking the southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway, near Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Blue Ridge Parkway featured in the 2015 America the Beautiful Quarters series

The Blue Ridge Parkway crosses the North CarolinaVirginia state line at mile 216.9. The 1749 party that surveyed the boundary included Peter Jefferson, father of Thomas Jefferson.

  • Mile 217.5 Cumberland Knob, at 2,885 feet (879 m), is the centerpiece of a small parkway recreation area.
  • 218.6 Fox Hunters Paradise, down a short walking path, is where hunters could listen to their hounds baying in the valley below.
  • 238.5 Brinegar Cabin was built by Martin Brinegar about 1880 and lived in until the 1930s when the homestead was purchased from his widow for the parkway. The original cabin stands there today.
  • 238.5 to 244.7 Doughton Park was named for Congressman Robert L. Doughton, a staunch supporter and neighbor of the parkway. The park has many miles of hiking trails, a lodge, dinner, picnic area and a campground.
  • 258.6 Northwest Trading Post offers crafts from North Carolina's northwestern counties.
  • 260.6 Jumpinoff Rock is at the end of a short woodland trail.
  • 264.4 The Lump is a grassy knob that provides views of the forested foothills.
  • 272 E. B. Jeffress Park has a self-guided trail to a waterfall known as the Cascades. Another trail goes to an old cabin and church.
  • 285.1 Daniel Boone's Trace, which Boone blazed to the West, crosses near here.
  • 292 to 295 Moses H. Cone Memorial Park has hiking, fishing and horse trails. Flat Top Manor, the former house of Moses H. Cone, is now used as the Parkway Craft Center.
  • 295.1 to 298 Julian Price Memorial Park, the former retreat of the insurance executive Julian Price, offers a variety of hiking trails, campground, and 47-acre (190,000 m2) Price Lake. This is the only lake on the parkway on which paddling is allowed.
  • 304.4 Linn Cove Viaduct, the last segment of the parkway built, skirts the side of Grandfather Mountain. A visitor center is located nearby and provides access to a trail under the viaduct.
  • 308.3 Flat Rock provides views of Grandfather Mountain and Linville Valley.
  • 316.3 Linville Falls Recreation Area provides trails with overlooks of Linville Falls and the Linville Gorge. A campground and picnic area are also provided.
  • 331 The Museum of North Carolina Minerals interprets the state's mineral wealth.
  • 339.5 Crabtree Meadows & Crabtree Falls is a parkway recreation area with a picnic area, campground, giftshop and hiking trails.
  • 349.2 Laurel Knob provides views of Grandfather Mountain, Linville Mountain, Hawksbill Mountain, and Table Rock.
  • 355.4 Mount Mitchell State Park, reached via NC 128, is the highest point east of the Mississippi River.
  • 359.8 Walker Knob, formerly known as Balsam Gap, is located where the Black Mountains and the Great Craggy Mountains meet.
  • 361.2 Glassmine Falls is an 800-foot (240 m) ephemeral waterfall visible from an overlook on the side of the parkway.
  • 363.4 to 369.6 Craggy Gardens in the Great Craggy Mountains are covered with purple rhododendron in mid-to-late June. Craggy Pinnacle Trail and other trails (364.1 and 364.6); road to picnic area and trails (367.6).
  • 382 The Folk Art Center is the flagship facility of the Southern Highland Craft Guild. It offers sales and exhibits of traditional and contemporary crafts of the Appalachian region. There are interpretive programs, three galleries, a library and a book store.
  • 384 The Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center is the newest along the parkway.[15] Exhibits focus on the history and heritage of the parkway and western North Carolina.
  • 408.6 Mount Pisgah was part of the Biltmore Estate. The estate became home of the first forestry school in America and the nucleus of the Pisgah National Forest. Also located here is the Pisgah Inn resort, a park service concession.
  • 417 Looking Glass Rock is visible from many spots on the parkway starting at Mount Pisgah.
  • 418 East Fork Overlook. Located here are the headwaters of the Pigeon River. Yellowstone Falls is a short distance away and gets its name from the yellowish moss covering the rocks.
  • 420.2 Shining Rock Wilderness is the largest wilderness area in North Carolina, covering 18,483 acres (74.80 km2), with 25 miles (40 km) of trails and peaks over 6,000 ft (1,800 m). The wilderness is named for Shining Rock.
  • 420.2 Black Balsam Knob is a grassy bald with panoramic views just outside the Shining Rock Wilderness in Pisgah National Forest. The wilderness area also includes Cold Mountain.
  • 422.4 Devil's Courthouse is a rugged exposed mountaintop rich in Cherokee traditions.
  • 423.5 Herrin Knob Overlook. A hiking trail goes around Tanasee Bald and Herrin Knob. Tanasee Bald (423.7) is said to be the home of the mythical Cherokee giant Tsul 'Kalu.
  • 431 Richland Balsam is the highest point on the parkway at 6,053 feet (1,845 m). There is a self-guiding trail that passes through a remnant spruce-fir forest.
  • 435.7 Licklog Ridge once hosted cattlemen and their herds of cattle before it became part of the national forest. The area earns its name from the cattlemen who would place rocks of salt into logs and holes in the earth.
  • 451.2 Waterrock Knob provides a panorama of the Great Smokies, visitor center, trail, comfort station, exhibits.
  • 458.2 Heintooga Ridge Road runs north from the parkway 8.8 miles (14.2 km) to Heintooga Overlook in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
  • Mile 469 The southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway intersects with U.S. 441 in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Cherokee Reservation near Cherokee, North Carolina.


It is not unusual for small sections of the parkway to be temporarily closed to repair damage caused by the cold winter climate of the mountains or for other maintenance. Detours caused by these closures are well marked and are arranged to cause as little disruption as possible, though maintenance such as repaving only warrants a stop/slow switch with a one-lane-only restriction.

Due to serious damage in 2004 from Hurricane Frances, then again by Hurricane Ivan, many areas along the parkway were closed until the spring of 2005, with two areas that were not fully repaired until the spring of 2006.

Major intersections

VirginiaAugustaRockfish Gap0.000.00 US 250 to I-64 – Charlottesville, Waynesboro, Shenandoah National ParkOne-quadrant interchange plus connector road; northern terminus of parkway; I-64 exit 99
Reids Gap13.722.0 SR 664 (Beech Grove Road / Reeds Gap Road) – Waynesboro
Nelson16.025.7 SR 814 (Campbells Mountain Road) to SR 56Unpaved road
16.125.9 SR 814 (Love Road) – Sherando Lake
Tye River Gap27.143.6 SR 56 – Montebello, Steele's TavernOne-quadrant interchange
RockbridgeHumphreys Gap45.573.2 US 60 – Buena Vista, AmherstOne-quadrant interchange
AmherstOtter Creek61.398.7 SR 130 – Natural Bridge, LynchburgOne-quadrant interchange
Bedford63.9102.8 US 501 – Big Island, GlasgowOne-quadrant interchange
Peaks of Otter85.9138.2 SR 43 south – BedfordNorth end of SR 43 overlap; north end of VDOT maintenance of SR 43 (southern segment)
BotetourtPowell Gap89.0143.2 SR 618 north
Bearwallow Gap90.9146.3 SR 43 north – BuchananTwo-quadrant interchange; south end of SR 43 overlap; south end of VDOT maintenance of SR 43 (northern segment)
105.9170.4 US 460 (US 221) – Bedford, RoanokeTwo-quadrant interchange
Roanoke112.3180.7 SR 24 – Stewartsville, Vinton, Roanoke, Booker T. Washington National MonumentTwo-quadrant interchange
115.2185.4Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center, Virginia's Explore Park (Roanoke River Parkway)
120.5193.9Mill Mountain Park & Zoo, Historic Roanoke Star, Downtown Roanoke (Mill Mountain Parkway)
121.4195.4 US 220 – Rocky Mount, RoanokeTwo-quadrant interchange
Adney Gap136.0218.9 US 221Connector road
Floyd159.3256.4 SR 860 (Shooting Creek Road)Former SR 109
Tuggle Gap165.1265.7 SR 8 – Floyd, StuartOne-quadrant interchange
174.0280.0 SR 799 (Conner Grove Road)former SR 102 north
174.1280.2 SR 758 (Woodberry Road)former SR 102 south
174.2280.3 SR 758 (Buffalo Mountain Road)
PatrickMeadows of Dan177.7286.0 US 58 (via US 58 Bus.) – Stuart, HillsvilleParkway and US 58 grade-separated; two-quadrant interchange with US 58 Bus.
county line
Willis Gap192.1309.2 SR 771 (Willis Gap Road)
Carroll199.0320.3 SR 608 (Lightning Ridge Road)
199.2320.6 SR 608 (Ranger Road)
Fancy Gap199.4320.9 US 52 to I-77 – Mt. Airy, HillsvilleTwo-quadrant interchange
GraysonLow Gap215.7347.1 SR 89 – Mt. Airy, GalaxOne-quadrant interchange
North CarolinaAlleghany217.2349.5 NC 18 – Sparta, Mt. AiryOne-quadrant interchange
229.6369.5 US 21 – Roaring Gap, SpartaTwo-quadrant interchange
248.0399.1 NC 18 – North Wilkesboro, Laurel SpringsOne-quadrant interchange
AsheMiller Gap258.7416.3Trading Post Road – Glendale Springs
Horse Gap261.2420.4 NC 16 – North Wilkesboro, West JeffersonTwo-quadrant interchange
WataugaDeep Gap276.5445.0 US 421 – Boone, Wilkesboro, North WilkesboroOne-quadrant interchange
280.9452.1Old US 421Connector road
290.8468.0Green Hill Road
291.9469.8 US 221 / US 321 – Blowing Rock, BooneTwo-quadrant interchange
Avery294.6474.1 US 221 – Linville, Grandfather MountainOne-quadrant interchange
312.1502.3 NC 181 – Pineola, MorgantonOne-quadrant interchange
316.4509.2Linville Falls Road  – Linville Falls
317.5511.0 US 221 – Linville Falls CommunityOne-quadrant interchange
MitchellGillespie Gap330.8532.4 NC 226 – Spruce Pine, MarionOne-quadrant interchange
333.9537.4 NC 226A – Little SwitzerlandOne-quadrant interchange/connector road hybrid
YanceyBuck Creek Gap344.1553.8 NC 80 – Marion, BurnsvilleOne-quadrant interchange
Black Mountain Gap355.4572.0 NC 128 – Mount Mitchell State Park
BuncombeBull Gap375.7604.6Elk Mountain Scenic Highway – WeavervilleTo Vance Birthplace
Craven Gap377.4607.4 NC 694 south (Town Mountain Road)
Asheville382.6615.7 US 70 (Tunnel Road) – Black Mountain, AshevilleTwo-quadrant interchange
384.8619.3 US 74A to I-40 / I-240 – AshevilleTwo-quadrant interchange
388.8625.7 US 25 – Hendersonville, Asheville, NC ArboretumTwo-quadrant interchange
393.6633.4 NC 191 to I-26 – Asheville, HendersonvilleOne-quadrant interchange
HendersonElk Pasture Gap405.6652.7 NC 151 north – Candler
HaywoodWagon Road Gap411.8662.7 US 276 – Brevard, WaynesvilleOne-quadrant interchange
TransylvaniaBeech Gap423.3681.2 NC 215One-quadrant interchange
HaywoodBalsam Gap443.5713.7 US 74 / US 23 – Waynesville, SylvaOne-quadrant interchange
Soco Gap455.7733.4 US 19 (Soco Road) – Cherokee, Maggie ValleyTwo-quadrant interchange
JacksonWolf Laurel Gap458.2737.4Balsam Mountain, Black Camp Gap, Masonic Marker (Heintooga Ridge Road)
SwainRavensford469.1754.9 US 441 – Cherokee, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, GatlinburgSouthern terminus of parkway
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also


  1. ^ Though current plans for I-73 take it along current US 220 at its parkway interchange.


  1. ^ "Blue Ridge Parkway". National Park Service. Retrieved July 18, 2014.
  2. ^ "NPS Annual Recreation Visits Report". National Park Service. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  3. ^ "Blue Ridge Parkway". The Cultural Landscape Foundation.
  4. ^ "National Park Service Visitor Use Statistics". Retrieved April 19, 2013.
  5. ^ "America the Beautiful Quarters". U.S. Mint. Retrieved September 6, 2010.
  6. ^ a b c Chesto, Shawna (Summer 2007). "The Effect of the Blue Ridge Parkway on Appalachian Farmers". Appalachian State University. Retrieved April 19, 2015.
  7. ^ a b c Mitchell, Anne V. (Winter 1997). "Culture, History, and Development on the Qualla Boundary". Appalachian Journal. 24 (2): 144–191. JSTOR 40933835.
  8. ^ Brown, Jeff (January 2015). "Road with a View: Blue Ridge Parkway". Civil Engineering Magazine. American Society of Civil Engineers: 42–45. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
  9. ^ Mitchell, Monte (September 11, 2012). "25-Year-Old Linn Cove Viaduct Floats Around Grandfather Mountain". Winston-Salem Journal. Archived from the original on January 26, 2013. Retrieved October 9, 2012.
  10. ^ "I-26 widening project slated to start in September". WLOS. July 31, 2019. Retrieved August 1, 2019.
  11. ^ Kracher, Frank (March 23, 2019). "Blue Ridge Parkway bridge over I-26 to be replaced". WLOS. Retrieved August 1, 2019.
  12. ^ Whisnant, Anne M. (2006). Super-Scenic Motorway: A Blue Ridge Parkway History. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. pp. 45–46 – via Google Books.
  13. ^ "§5.6 Commercial vehicles". Code of Federal Regulations.
  14. ^ National Park Service (2004). Blue Ridge Parkway: North Carolina, Virginia (Map). [c. 1:500,000]. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office. OCLC 86108275. GPO:2003-496-196/40572 Reprint 2004.
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 28, 2009. Retrieved March 19, 2009.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ USGS topos
  17. ^ Digital Confections LLC (February 2016). Blue Ridge Companion. iOS.

Further reading

  • Carter, Mark W.; Southworth, Scott; Tollo, Richard P.; Merschat, Arthur J.; Wagner, Sara; Lazor, Ava; Aleinikoff, John N. (2017). "Geology Along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia". In Bailey, Christopher M.; Jaye, Shelley (eds.). From the Blue Ridge to the Beach: Geological Field Excursions Across Virginia. Field Guide. Vol. 47. Bolder, CO: Geological Society of America. pp. 1–58. doi:10.1130/2017.0047(01). ISBN 978-0-8137-0047-2. ISSN 2333-0945. OCLC 7345022117.
  • Hall, Karen J.; Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway (2007). Building the Blue Ridge Parkway. Images of America. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0738552879.
  • United States House of Representatives Committee on Public Lands (n.d.). Establishing the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina: Hearings Before the Committee on the Public Lands. Washington, DC: United States House of Representatives. OCLC 71073462.
  • Whisnant, Anne Mitchell (2006). Super-Scenic Motorway: A Blue Ridge Parkway History. University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 978-0-8078-7126-3.

External links

Blue Ridge Parkway tunnels

Blue Ridge Parkway tunnels consist of a total of 26 vehicle tunnels constructed along the 469 miles (755 km) of the Blue Ridge Parkway. One, the Bluff Mountain Tunnel, is in Virginia and twenty-five are in North Carolina.The design standards specified a minimum impact on the land. The vehicle tunnels were often constructed to reduce excessive landscape scarring that open cuts would have produced. They are used in areas of steep terrain where ridges run perpendicular to the roadway alignment.

North Carolina's more rugged terrain required the majority of the tunnels. Most of the work on the tunnel digging was done by hand and provided by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. Little machinery was used with the intention of creating manual labor in depressed economic times. They did have for tunneling truck-mounted water-cooled compressed air drills called "Jumbos." After the initial holes were drilled into the substrata, dynamite was used for blasting away the rock.Concrete lining was done during construction due to tunnel cave-ins. This concrete lining was first used in the Devil's Courthouse Tunnel. It was later discovered that it enhanced the interior lighting within the tunnel itself. Where done the lining covered about a quarter of the interior structure. An additional benefit was the elimination of moisture entering the tunnel. Moisture in the winter caused ice problems.The Pine Mountain Tunnel is the longest on the Parkway at 1,434 feet (437 m). Ferrin Knob Tunnel #1 is the first and longest of the triplet tunnels. The local people once referred to ferns as "ferrins." Ferrin Knob Tunnel #2 is located at milepost 401.3 and Ferrin Knob Tunnel #3 is located at milepost 401.5.

The distinctive stone masonry portals now on the parkway tunnels were generally not part of the original construction of the 1930s. They were added later.

Carl Ray Russell

Carl "Ray" Russell (born March 22, 1957) is a member of the North Carolina General Assembly representing the State's 93rd House district (comprising Watauga and Ashe Counties). He has taught at Appalachian State University since 1991, first in the Mathematics department and later in the Computer Science department. Self-taught in meteorology, Russell founded the popular regional weather website, Ray's Weather Center ( In 2016, Russell ran the entire length of the Blue Ridge Parkway to raise money for the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation.

Crabtree Falls (North Carolina)

Crabtree Falls is a waterfall located near the boundary of McDowell County and Yancey County, North Carolina.

Devil's Courthouse

Devil's Courthouse is a mountain in the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina in the United States of America. The mountain is located at the Western edge of the Pisgah National Forest about 10 miles (16 kilometers) northwest of Brevard and 28 miles (45 kilometers) southwest of Asheville. Located at milepost 422.4 (kilometer 679.8 km) of the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Devil's Courthouse has a moderate/strenuous trail climbing a half mile to its peak where panoramic views can be seen.

Doughton Park

Doughton Park (Doughton Recreational Area) is the largest recreation area the National Park Service manages on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is located between mile markers 238.5 - 244.7 and at 36° 30' 59.0394" N, -81° 8' 40.92" W. The park is named after North Carolina politician Robert L. Doughton.

Fire Scale Mountain

Fire Scale Mountain is a mountain in the North Carolina High Country, near the community of Deep Gap. The majority of the mountain is within the Blue Ridge Parkway. Its elevation reaches 3,845 feet (1,172 m).

Split along the Eastern Continental Divide, it generates feeder streams to both the South Fork New River (via Gap Creek) and Yadkin River (via Stony Fork). Ivy Point Ridge juts out southeasterly from the mountain, which is used by US 421 to transition from the Foothills to the Mountains. Deep Gap is a natural gap adjacent to the mountain; it provides both the name of the nearby community and the intersection of the Blue Ridge Parkway and US 421.

Grandfather Mountain

Grandfather Mountain is a mountain, a non-profit attraction, and a North Carolina state park

near Linville, North Carolina. At 5,946 feet (1,812 m), it is the highest peak on the eastern escarpment of the Blue Ridge Mountains, one of the major chains of the Appalachian Mountains. The Blue Ridge Parkway passes by the south side of the mountain and also passes over the nearby Grandmother Gap. It is located at the meeting point of Avery, Caldwell (highest point), and Watauga (highest point) counties.

Grandmother Mountain (North Carolina)

Grandmother Mountain is a mountain in the North Carolina High Country, near the community of Linville. It is wholly in the Pisgah National Forest and next to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Its elevation reaches 4,603 feet (1,403 m). The mountain generates feeder streams for the Linville River.

On top of Grandmother Mountain is the WUNE-DT tower, broadcasting the University of North Carolina Public Television (UNC-TV/PBS) on channel 17.

Great Craggy Mountains

The Great Craggy Mountains, commonly called the Craggies, are a mountain range in western North Carolina, United States. They are a subrange of the Blue Ridge Mountains and encompass an area of approx. 194 sq mi (503 km²). They are situated in Buncombe County, North Carolina, 14 miles northeast of Asheville. The Black Mountains lie to the northeast, across the upper Cane River valley.

The Blue Ridge Parkway runs along the crest for most of the way between Asheville and Mount Mitchell. Craggy Gardens, an area of 16 km, is covered with purple Catawba rhododendrons in mid-June. The parkway through the area was closed from late 2012 through early 2013 due to subsidence caused by heavy rains, and had to be closed again during summer 2013 due to a reoccurrence of the same issues. Access to Mount Mitchell was only from the north or via detour from the south.

Humpback Rock

Humpback Rock is a massive greenstone outcropping near the peak of Humpback Mountain in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Augusta County and Nelson County, Virginia, United States, with a summit elevation of 3,080 feet (940 m). The rock formation is so named for the visual effect of a "hump" it creates on the western face of the mountain.

Located six miles (10 km) south of the northern entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway near Waynesboro, Virginia, Humpback Rock stands out from many other mountain summits in the Blue Ridge due to its exposed rocky summit, in contrast to the heavily vegetated peaks of surrounding mountains. The location features a well-maintained trail and visitor's center.

Julian Price Memorial Park

Julian Price Memorial Park is a park of 4,200 acres (17 km2) at the foot of Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina, named in honor of Julian Price. It is at milepost 297 on the Blue Ridge Parkway and directly adjacent to the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park. Together these parks comprise the largest developed area set aside for public recreation on the Parkway. The park is managed by the National Park Service which received the lands from the Jefferson Pilot Standard Life Insurance Company shortly after Price's death when they received it through his will. The grounds are also known for the fact that the nation's largest National Lumberjack Association rally is held here annually.

Moses H. Cone Memorial Park

The Moses H. Cone Memorial Park is a country estate in honor of Moses H. Cone in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. It is on the Blue Ridge Parkway between mileposts 292 and 295 with access at milepost 294. Most locals call it Cone Park. The park is run by the National Park Service and is open to the public. It contains 3,500 acres (14 km2), a 16-acre (65,000 m2) trout lake, a 22-acre (89,000 m2) bass lake, and 25 miles (40 km) of carriage trails for hiking and horses. The main feature of the park is a twenty-three room 13,000-square-foot (1,200 m2) mansion called Flat Top Manor built around the early 1900s. At the manor, there is a craft shop and demonstration center, along with an information desk and book store.

The activities in the park are walking, hiking, cross-country skiing, and horseback riding. More people use the park for hiking and horseback riding than any other activity. There is also fishing available at the two nearby fishing lakes. Many people also do amateur and professional photography, especially in the autumn. The park is open year-round and sees 225,000 people each year being the most visited recreational place on the Blue Ridge Parkway and second in visitors after the Folk Art Center that sees 250,000 visitors. Together with the Julian Price Memorial Park, it is the largest developed area set aside for public recreation on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

A "moderate" walking trail is the Flat Top Mountain Carriage Trail to the Fire / Observation Tower where one can get a complete view of the park. The observation tower is 2.8 miles (4.5 km) away from Flat Top Manor. The leisurely pathways to Bass Lake and Trout Lake go for a couple of miles. The Cone cemetery where the family burials are located is about a mile walk from the Manor. Cone genealogy family pictures are in the Flat Top Manor along with area information and history books.

Moses obtained advice from noted conservationist Gifford Pinchot, the pioneering forester at the Biltmore Estate and First Chief of the US Forest Service, on planting white pine forests and hemlock hedges.The town of Blowing Rock is two miles (3 km) away where many novelty shops are located along with the area restaurants.

It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2013 as Flat Top Estate, a national historic district. The district encompasses four contributing buildings and two contributing sites. They include the historic landscape, Flat Top Manor house (1899-1900), carriage house (c. 1899-1905), Cone Cemetery (1908), Sandy Flat Missionary Baptist Church (1908), and the apple barn.

Mount Pisgah (mountain in North Carolina)

Mount Pisgah is a mountain in the Appalachian Mountain Range and part of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, United States. The mountain's height is 5,721 feet (1,744 m) above sea level, and it sits approximately 15 miles (24 kilometers) southwest of Asheville, near the crossing of the boundaries of Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson and Transylvania counties. It is located on the border of Buncombe and Haywood counties, close to the point where Henderson and Transylvania meet them, but not actually within the latter two counties. The mountain is easily accessible via a hiking trail from the Blue Ridge Parkway, near the Pisgah Inn.

Mountains-to-Sea Trail

The Mountains-to-Sea State Trail (MST) is a long-distance trail for hiking and backpacking, that traverses North Carolina from the Great Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks. The trail's western endpoint is at Clingman's Dome, where it connects to the Appalachian Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Its eastern endpoint is in Jockey's Ridge State Park on the tallest sand dune on the east coast. The trail is envisioned as a scenic backbone of an interconnected trail system spanning the state. As such, the trail's route attempts to connect as many trail systems and natural scenic areas as practicable. A little over half of the trail is complete in multiple segments across the state.

The Mountains-to-Sea State Park Trail was made an official land-based unit of the state park system by the General Assembly on August 2, 2000. Since that time, the State Trail unit has grown to encompass 691 acres (280 ha) in three tracts and 87 acres (35 ha) in conservation easements. Each of these tracts is leased to local governments for management as nature parks, under the guidance of the NC Division of Parks and Recreation (NCDPR). The vast majority of the foot trail is located on lands not directly managed as part of a state park unit.

The trail is a part of the North Carolina State Trails System, which is a section of NCDPR, and as of January 2019, 669 miles (1,077 km) of trail has been designated as a part of the MST by NCDPR.The segments of MST along the Blue Ridge Parkway were designated as National Recreation Trail in 2005.

The MST has the distinction of being the highest elevation long-distance trail in the eastern United States as it crosses Mount Mitchell at 6,684 feet (2,037 m).

Peaks of Otter

The Peaks of Otter are three mountain peaks in the Blue Ridge Mountains, overlooking the town of Bedford, Virginia, which lies nine miles (14 km) to the southeast along State Route 43. These peaks are Sharp Top, Flat Top, and Harkening Hill.

Manmade Abbott Lake lies in the valley between the three peaks, behind the Peaks of Otter Lodge and restaurant. The National Park Service preserves the peaks and lake as part of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Thomas Jefferson once wrote that "the mountains of the Blue Ridge, and of these the Peaks of Otter, are thought to be of a greater height, measured from their base, than any others in our country, and perhaps in North America." Of course this later turned out not to be the case, but not before Virginia had sent stones from the peaks to be its part of the Washington Monument.

Richland Balsam

Richland Balsam is a mountain in the Great Balsam Mountains in the U.S. state of North Carolina. Rising to an elevation of 6,410 feet (1,950 m), it is the highest mountain in the Great Balsam range and is among the 20 highest summits in the Appalachian range. The Blue Ridge Parkway reaches an elevation of 6,053 feet (1,845 m)— the parkway's highest point— as it passes over Richland Balsam's southwestern slope. The Jackson County-Haywood County line crosses the mountain's summit.Richland Balsam's upper elevations (above approximately 5,500 feet) support part of one of just ten stands of Southern Appalachian spruce-fir forest. This forest type consists of two dominant tree types— the red spruce and the Fraser fir— commonly called the "he-balsam" and "she-balsam" respectively, although the latter has been decimated in recent decades by the balsam woolly adelgid infestation. Spruce-fir forests are found in the highest elevations of Southern Appalachia due their ability to survive in climates that are too cold and harsh for the hardwood forests which dominate lower elevations. Southern spruce-fir ecosystems resemble ecosystems more commonly found in the northern United States and Canada than in the Southeastern United States.The eastern half of Richland Balsam is protected by the Pisgah National Forest, and most of the western half is protected by the Nantahala National Forest (the exception being the Blue Ridge Parkway corridor, which is maintained by the National Park Service). There is a parking lot and overlook atop Richland Balsam marking the parkway's highest point. A short interpretive trail connects the parking lot with the summit.

Tanasee Bald

Tanasee Bald, also called Tennessee Bald, is a mountain near the Blue Ridge Parkway in western North Carolina, on the Haywood/Transylvania border. It is 5561 feet high. It is in the Great Balsam Mountains within the Blue Ridge Mountains, which is part of the Appalachian Mountains

Tanasee Bald is the southern limit of breeding of the northern saw-whet owl, which is from the boreal forests of Canada.

Tomkins Knob

Tomkins Mountain (variant names: Thomkins Knob, Thompkins Knob and Tompkins Knob) is a mountain in the North Carolina High Country, near the community of Deep Gap. The majority of the mountain is within the Blue Ridge Parkway. Its elevation reaches 4,075 feet (1,242 m) and it also marks the corner between Ashe, Watauga, and Wilkes counties.

Split along the Eastern Continental Divide, it generates feeder streams to both the South Fork New River (via West Fork Pine Swamp Creek) and Yadkin River (via South Prong Lewis Fork). Laurel Spur Ridge juts out south from the mountain; while Husons Ridge goes northwest, marking the Ashe/Watauga county line.

Waterrock Knob

Waterrock Knob is a mountain peak in the U.S. state of North Carolina. It is the highest peak in the Plott Balsams and is the 16th-highest mountain in the Eastern United States.The mountain is a popular destination with tourists and amateur hikers, as it is easily accessible from the parkway. A visitors' center is located near its summit and a hiking trail leads to its top. The hiking trail and visitors' center are manned and maintained by the National Park Service, part of the United States Department of the Interior.



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