Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway offers a peaceful escape from hectic urban life. Head out on an independent road trip, or take a day trip from Asheville, North Carolina, during which you can hike through the Appalachian wilderness and visit scenic waterfalls.
Artistically inclined visitors can hone their photography skills on a small-group photo tour of the parkway and capture wild landscapes under the guidance of a local. At the southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway, stop off at Great Smoky Mountains National Park for a guided nature and history tour, rafting trip, or scenic helicopter flight.
Recent reviews from experiences in Asheville
Things to Know Before You Go
The parkway’s speed limit never exceeds 45 mph (72 kph). Due to steep roads and occasional wildlife crossings, careful driving is essential.
There are plenty of stops along the way to sightsee, hike, or picnic—many travelers take four or five days to complete the whole route.
The weather along the parkway can vary greatly due to changes in elevation, so dress in layers.
How to Get There
The Blue Ridge Parkway runs 469 miles (755 kilometers) through the Appalachian Highlands between North Carolina and Virginia. You’ll find markers along every mile of the parkway, and it’s best to carry a map to determine where you want to go, as GPS directions often do not understand the milepost system.
When to Get There
While the parkway is open 24 hours a day, visitor services (picnic areas, visitor centers, and restrooms) may be limited after dark and close entirely from November–April. The best time to visit is in fall, when the leaves turn seasonal shades of red, yellow, and orange. The road closes only due to inclement weather, which occurs most often in winter.
Exploring Asheville, North Carolina
Nestled away in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, the city of Asheville is known for its vibrant arts scene and historic architecture, including the 19th-century Biltmore Estate, a massive historical mansion built by George Vanderbilt. Don’t miss the downtown Art District, which is filled with galleries and museums, and the nearby River Arts District, where former factory buildings house artists’ studios. There are also numerous hiking trails in the area, along with several craft breweries.