Blue Ridge Parkway – VA
- DesignationAll-American Road (2005)
- Intrinsic QualitiesRecreation, Cultural
- LocationNC, VA
- Length217 of 469 total miles
The Parkway provides spectacular mountain and valley vistas, quiet pastoral scenes, sparkling waterfalls and colorful flower and foliage displays as it extends through the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and North Carolina.
Story of the Byway
Millions of visitors enjoy the Blue Ridge Parkway each year. Some think of it as just a motor road or a pleasant drive. But the Parkway is also a place of varied and significant natural resources.
Driving the Parkway in Virginia: The byway begins a few miles out of the forest at the southern end of Skyline Drive, west of Afton, VA. Continue south on the Parkway and through the George Washington National Forest, passing through the town of Buena Vista. Continue to the North Carolina border on the Parkway, passing by Roanoke, the Rocky Knob Visitor Center, and Mabry Mill. Driving the Parkway in North Carolina: The North Carolina section of the byway begins as you cross the state line from Virginia. Continue in a southwest direction across the state. The byway ends at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Points of Interest
Appalachian Mural Trail
Take an exciting journey through the beauty of nature and mural art! The Appalachian Mural Trail travels through North Carolina, Virginia & Tennessee. Over 130 magnificent outdoor murals provide transformational moments. Once in front of a mural, take a selfie with your smartphone, then read the stories about the mural and artist on our website.
Barboursville Vineyards & Historic Ruins is located just 30 minutes East of Parkway Milepost 0, near the intersection of VA Route 33 at Va Route 20. Come visit our 18th century estate at Virginia’s most honored winery, with daily tastings and fine dining at Palladio Restaurant.
In 1888, George Vanderbilt fell in love with the Blue Ridge Mountains and decided to make the region his home. The result was Biltmore, his historic estate in Asheville, NC. More than a century later, Biltmore continues to welcome visitors. The estate’s crown jewel is Biltmore House, America’s largest home. During your self-guided visit, enjoy stunning architecture, priceless works of art, and a fascinating look at life at the turn of the 20th century. Beyond Biltmore House, 250-acres of gardens beckon with panoramic mountain views and an assortment of native and exotic plants. For a look at the estate’s agricultural heritage, drop by Antler Hill Village. Enjoy exhibits at The Biltmore Legacy, live entertainment at the Village Green, and family fun at the Farm. Biltmore’s Winery entices with complimentary wine tastings and a self-guided tour of the wine cellar.
Blue Ridge Farm Museum
Immerse your senses in 1800 rural Blue Ridge life at the BRIM’s Blue Ridge Farm Museum, a re-created Virginia-German farmstead. Join our costumed interpreters in a host of household and farm chores, including preparing meals over the open hearth, driving oxen, blacksmithing, and tending heirloom gardens and historic breeds of animals.
Far below the earth's surface, in the timeless beauty of Bristol Caverns, a strange and exciting experience awaits you. Paved, well lighted walkways wind through the vaulted chambers and along the banks of the ancient Underground River that carved these remarkable caverns from the hard core of the earth 200 to 400 million years ago. In the frontier days, Indians used the Underground River as an attack and escape route in their raids on settlers. Stealing into the area by way of the Underground River and the caverns, they swooped down on unsuspecting families, then disappeared as if swallowed up by the earth.
Cradle of Forestry Historic Site
6500-acre historic site created by Congress in 1968 that commemorates the birthplace of science-based forest management in the United States. The site is open April – November and offers three miles of paved interpretive trails, exhibits, film, music, crafts, education programs, special events and cafe.
Elijah Mountain Gem Mine
Keep what you find in the treasure hunt of your life! Mine for rubies, emeralds and more. Gemstone and fossil store, picnic area, and goats to pet and feed!
Gem mining, gold panning, mine tours, waterfall, free exhibits, real mines, fun shopping! NC’s Gem!
America’s oldest continuously operated show cave voted #2 in U.S. by Parade magazine. Experience nature’s handiwork. Open daily. The aboveground park offers hiking trails, biking, fishing, swimming, miniature golf and shelter rentals.
Grandfather’s lofty heights offer guests opportunities for rejuvenation, excitement and family memories in a natural haven that will endure forever. Marvel at 360-degree views from the Mile High Swinging Bridge, stand eye-to-eye with bears, cougars, otters, eagles and deer in natural habitats and interact with our friendly, knowledgeable staff.
A ¾ mile round-trip walking tour on wide sloping pathways and a glass-bottom boat ride on The Lost Sea, America’s Largest Underground Lake. Guides share the cavern’s exciting & colorful history and explain the fascinating geological development of the immense cavern rooms and rare formations.
Monticello, Home of Thomas Jefferson
Get to know Thomas Jefferson—author of the Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, third president of the United States, and founder of the University of Virginia.
Ober Gatlinburg Ski Area & Amusement Park
Ski, snowboard, and snow tube in winter; Alpine Slide, Rock Climbing Wall, Chair-Swing, Maze, and Mini-Golf in warmer months, and Ski Mountain Coaster, Scenic Chairlift, Wildlife Encounter, Ice Bumper Cars and Ice-Skating are available year round!
Oconaluftee Indian Village
Oconaluftee Indian Village poses the question, “Is it actually Cherokee history if it’s still happening?” Today you can transport back to an 18th century village full of authentic stickball demonstrations, dance, staged war reenactments—you name it. If it happened then, it’s happening now.
The Blowing Rock
North Carolina’s oldest Travel Attraction providing breathtaking views 4,090 feet above John’s River Gorge. Prevailing winds return light objects thrown over the void.
Traverse the Blue Ridge Mountains
Start your journey on the Blue Ridge Parkway’s northernmost point right outside of Waynesboro and west of Charlottesville. Head south and drive directly through the lush George Washington National Forest. Stop at the Humpback Rocks Visitors Center at the northernmost point of the Forest and get all of the information you need to spend the day and enjoy this natural wonder. Not far from the Visitors Center is the Sherando Lake Recreational Area, where you could spend so much time and enjoy a myriad of activities. There are two other similar recreational areas located further down the Parkway, but these will take up most of your day in the Forest. After your day of fun, you can drive down to Roanoke where there are plenty of lodging options.
In Roanoke, there is so much to explore in this historic town. You can spend a lot of time here to shop, eat, and learn about its historic past. You can then continue south on the Blue Ridge Parkway and take in the beautiful views in the state of Virginia. You will pass the Little River and Buffalo Mountain, both of which can be explored through hiking trails or scenic overlooks that are located throughout. The end of your journey will be at the state border with North Carolina.
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