Blue Ridge Parkway Road Trip: A Two-Lane Drive with Endless Diversions
By HOOK 360° Team member: Nile
The road stretches onward, hugging the land, taking each turn in stride, and enjoying the region without any rush. With a speed limit that doesn’t exceed 45 mph, the meandering, artfully laid-out, two-lane highway of Blue Ridge Parkway should be politely savored.
The National Parkway and All-American road has been noted for its scenic routes. The drive’s scenery has a reputation as one of the great roads, following the rocky ridges, green plateaus, hills, and meadows.
“At just under 470 miles, this is one of the best drives in the U.S.,” said TripAdvisor user Theresa B.
*Photo: The Great Smoky Mountains
The parkway is America’s longest linear park running 469 miles through 29 Virginia and North Carolina counties linking Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It runs along the Blue Ridge 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.
Mountains lay in a great line like the spine of the land, soaring upwards as if determined to kiss the heavens, and clustered together as if they were cold. Meadows, like a riot of colors, are complimented by sparkling streams and the chirps of birds being nature’s music. Also, in some areas, you will hear the roar of waterfalls, but you’ll also have a little peaceful silence too. You’ll experience driving through dark tunnels that curve to an open view that extends to the horizon.
Most reviews say five days is a good amount of time to enjoy the drive, sing carpool karaoke, sightsee, eat, and head up the hills.
Near the beginning of the Blue Ridge Parkway and the very end of Skyline Drive, one will notice that Skyline Drive is a similarly beautiful highway that is 105 miles north through Shenandoah National Park’s 200,000 acres of protected land. It’s recommended those should turn south instead because hikers can hike at Milepost 6 to set foot on the Appalachian Trail, a two-mile uphill hike from the road.
*Photo: Craggy Pinnacle Tunnel, on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina
Those looking to take fire food to post for the ‘gram turn off at Glasgow, Milepost 61.4, and check out Layne’s Country Store for hand-cut bacon, ham sandwiches, and local jams and jellies. For dinner, enjoy the bistro-style cuisine at The River and Rail Restaurant.
Also, at Primland, you can relax at the luxury mountain resort. Primland is sprawled across 12,000 acres near the Blue Ridge Parkway, exit at Milepost 177.7, and activities include archery, tree-climbing, sporting clays, and gazing at the stars at an observatory in the main lodge.
Their unique tree-house cottages have all the modern amenities of a lavish hotel and lush rooms. However, it is built up high in the canopy of old trees which allows those to enjoy the sweeping views, the sunsets, more from the Kibler Valley from a private deck in the trees.
Fire up your favorite music or check out your favorite podcast because you’ve got a lot of miles of scenery, activities, restaurants, and more to check out on the Blue Ridge Parkway road trip.