Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue-ridge-parkway-sign-heysmokiesDid you know that the Blue Ridge Parkway is connected to Great Smoky Mountains National Park? That’s right; another National Park is attached to the Smokies! The Blue Ridge Parkway begins (or ends) at milepost 469, a half mile south of the Oconaluftee Visitors Center in North Carolina. The Parkway meanders from there along the mountain tops to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a 469-mile long scenic drive through the Southern Appalachian highlands. The average speed limit on the Parkway is 45 mph. The Parkway has no red lights or intersections to slow traffic. All access to the Parkway is via on and off ramps connecting to nearby roads. There are no places to purchase fuel on the Parkway so plan carefully.

The Blue Ridge Parkway has access to camping, trails, waterfalls, and historic structures.

Blue Ridge Parkway Campgrounds

Otter Creek @ Mile Post 61 This campground has sites for 45 tents and 24 RV trailers. Facilities currently include water, comfort stations with flush toilets and sinks but no showers or hook-ups. Area hikes include Trail of Trees, Otter Creek, Otter Lake Loop and James River Canal Trails.

Peaks of Otter @ Mile Post 86 This campground has sites for 90 tents and 53 trailers or RVs, water, comfort stations with flush toilets and cold water sinks but no showers or hook-ups. Area hikes include Sharp Top, Elk Run, Harkening Hill and Johnson Farm Trails.

Rocky Knob @ Mile Post 167 This campground has sites for 81 tents and 28 trailer or RVs, restrooms, trailer dumping stations, and a campfire circle that accommodates up to 150 campers. For the more adventurous, backcountry camping is permitted at the designated site in Rock Castle Gorge. A permit is required and can be obtained from the Rocky Knob Campground by calling 540-745-9664 from May-October and calling 540-745-9668 during the off season.

blue-ridge-parkway-heysmokies

Blue Ridge Parkway

For those in primitive camping areas, keep in mind the following: camping and campfires are only allowed in designated areas, only dead firewood may be gathered for fuel, pack out all trash, do not use soap or shampoo in any streams, and toilet facilities must be at least 200 feet from water supplies. Area hikes include Rockcastle Gorge, Black Ridge, Rocky Knob Picnic Area and Round Meadow Creek Trails.

Doughton Park @ Mile Post 241 This campground has 110 campsites and 25 trailer sites, 4 comfort stations, and a campfire circle at the campground. Area hikes include Bluff Mountain, and Fodder Stack Trails.

Julian Price Park @ Mile Post 297 This campground has 129 tent sites (2 handicap sites) and 68 trailer sites, 6 comfort stations (1 handicap accessible). Area hikes include Green Knob, Boone Fork, Price Lake, Gwyn Memorial and Tanawha Trails. For boat rental info call 828-963-2292 or visit blueridgeparkway.

Linville Falls @ Mile Post 316 This campground has 50 tent and 20 RV sites which sit on the banks of the Linville River. It is the Parkway’s smallest, most popular campground and the only developed site on the Parkway that allows group camping. Area hikes include Flat Rock, Camp Creek, River Bend, Duggers Creek, and Linville River Bridge Trails

Mt. Pisgah @ Mile Post 408 This campground has 70 tent and 70 RV sites and shower facilities are available. The campground is the highest, coolest and most secluded on the Parkway. The campground is located in Flat Laurel Gap. Area hikes include Buck Spring, Mount Pisgah, Picnic Area Loop and Frying Pan Mountain Trails.

Camping is $16 for each site. Reservations for ALL campgrounds can be made online at recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777.

Blue Ridge Parkway Hiking

There are numerous trails suitable for hiking along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Find out about trails near you by stopping at a Ranger Station or Visitor Center for information. Trail conditions may change suddenly and unexpectedly. Bear activity, rain or thunder storms and downed trees may temporarily close trails.

At a minimum be sure to carry water, a raincoat or poncho, a warm hat, insect repellent, sunscreen, and a first aid kit. It is recommended that you hike with another person. No permit is required for hiking.

One of the most daunting tasks facing hikers is choosing a trail. Start by deciding on what you would like to see. Waterfalls? Old-growth forests? Endless views? Then decide how far you would like to hike. It can be as easy as that!

There are over 369 miles of trails to choose from along the Blue Ridge Parkway! The Appalachian Trail and Mountains-to-Sea Trail are two long distance trails that follow closely with stretches of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Sections of these trails can be hiked in a day, or for the more adventurous, over a number of days.

Blue Ridge Parkway Waterfall Hikes

waterfall-blue-ridge-parkway-heysmokies

Crabtree Falls at Mile Post 339

Remember to always take caution while enjoying waterfalls around the Parkway. Do not climb on rocks near waterfalls and use extreme caution when walking along riverbanks. The rocks are slippery due to mist and algae. Never dive or jump into the water. Submerged rocks, trees or debris could be immediately below the surface of the water.

Here is a list of popular hikes with waterfalls along the Parkway:

Linville Falls @ Mile Post 360 Linville Falls has four different overlooks to properly appreciate the falls with two main hiking trails. Both begin at the Linville Falls Visitor Center and pass through remnants of a virgin hemlock forest mixed with other familiar tree species such as white pine, oaks, hickory, and birch. A colorful and varied display of wildflowers decorates the trails in spring. Red and golden leaves in fall beautifully contrast with the soothing green of hemlocks. The Linville Falls trails range in difficulty from moderate to strenuous.

Looking Glass Falls @ Mile Post 411 Looking Glass Falls is one of the most symmetrical waterfalls in western North Carolina. The name comes from Looking Glass Rock which resembles a wintertime mirror, or “looking glass,” of sunlight as water freezes on its side and reflects the sun.

Crabtree Falls @ Mile Post 339 At the base of the 2.5 mile loop trail is spectacular Crabtree Falls, where water cascades over a 60-foot rock cliff. Many types of ferns and wildflowers thrive in the hollow benefiting from the fall’s cool spray. Originally, these falls were known as Murphy’s Falls. The National Park Service changed the name to Crabtree Falls when the Parkway was built in the 1930’s.

Graveyard Fields Falls @ Mile Post 419 The name “Graveyard Fields” originates from a time when a great windstorm felled hundreds of spruce and fir trees in the area. The moss covered stumps resemble graves.

Skinny Dip Falls @ Mile Post 417  Skinny Dip Falls features a swimming hole at the bottom of the cascades. These falls lie along the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.

Falling Water Cascades @ Mile Post 83 Near Peaks of Otter, the trail is lined with rhododendrons creating a beautiful hike setting.

Apple Orchard Falls @ Mile Post 78 These falls have a viewing platform directly underneath the falls creating a refreshing shower during the summer months.

picnic-table-bear-heysmokies

Be mindful of your picnic supplies or may have an unexpected guest!

The Blue Ridge Parkway has something for everyone. Here at HeySmokies we love to pack a picnic basket and drive until we find a beautiful spot for lunch. Critters love your “pickanick” basket, so please be extra careful with your picnic supplies! Be mindful with your picnic basket or you may have some unexpected guests!

More Hey Smokies Features:

Appalachian Bear Rescue's Bearly 5K Run/Walk
Appalachian Bear Rescue's Bearly 5K Run/Walk...
Appalachian Bear Rescue's Bearly 5K Run/Walk Saturday October 26, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. This fun family event will begin at the ABR Visitor and Edu[Read More >>]
Dollywood Fall Fun Events
Dollywood Fall Fun Events...
Dollywood Fall Fun Events! Everyone is invited to “get their fall on ya’ll” at Dollywood’s annual Harvest Festival. Dollywood’s Harvest Festival[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Hunter's Moon
Smoky Mountain Hunter's Moon...
Smoky Mountain Hunter's Moon is on the rise this month. This full moon is often called the Blood Moon, Sanguine Moon and the Full Hunter's Moon.[Read More >>]
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Bans Backcountry Campfires
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Bans Backcountry Campfires...
Great Smoky Mountains National Park bans backcountry campfires. Park officials have placed the ban due to recent drought like conditions in the [Read More >>]
Priceless Historical Heirlooms Return To Great Smoky Mountains
Priceless Historical Heirlooms Return To Great Smoky Mountains...
Priceless Historical Heirlooms Return To Great Smoky Mountains. Millions of national park visitors visit the Dan Lawson homestead in Cades Cove [Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Poets
Smoky Mountain Poets...
Smoky Mountain Poets. These mountains have inspired generations to express themselves through songs, deeds and words. Remarkable words that tran[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Goldenrod
Smoky Mountain Goldenrod...
Smoky Mountain Goldenrod. Of all the wildflowers that grace the fields in late summer and fall, probably none is more misunderstood than goldenr[Read More >>]
Great Smoky Mountains Fantastic Fall Foliage Forecasted
Great Smoky Mountains Fantastic Fall Foliage Forecasted...
Great Smoky Mountains Fantastic Fall Foliage Forecasted. Leaf peeping is always a Smoky Mountain special event! A fantastic display of fall foli[Read More >>]
Mountains To Sea Trail Celebrates 42nd Anniversary
Mountains To Sea Trail Celebrates 42nd Anniversary...
Mountains To Sea Trail Celebrates 42nd Anniversary. The 42nd anniversary of North Carolina’s the Mountains-to-Sea Trail celebrates with some 33 [Read More >>]
Great Smoky Mountains Music Of The Mountains Event
Great Smoky Mountains Music Of The Mountains Event...
Great Smoky Mountains Music Of The Mountains Event will be held Saturday, September 7, 2019 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. This fun, free family e[Read More >>]
Cades Cove Stargazing Event
Cades Cove Stargazing Event...
Cades Cove Stargazing Event Saturday, September 7, 2019 beginning at 7:30 p.m. The public is invited share the wonders of the our amazing night [Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Southern Fried Green Tomato Recipe
Smoky Mountain Southern Fried Green Tomato Recipe...
Smoky Mountain Southern Fried Green Tomato Recipe is the perfect solution to all the extra tomatoes from your garden. The HeySmokies.com culinar[Read More >>]
2019 Bear Necessities Black Fur & Bluegrass Event
2019 Bear Necessities Black Fur & Bluegrass Event...
2019 Bear Necessities Black Fur & Bluegrass Event benefiting Appalachian Bear Rescue is scheduled for Saturday, September 14th from 4:00 p.m[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Hiker Magazine
Smoky Mountain Hiker Magazine...
Smoky Mountain Hiker magazine is an exciting magazine for the whole family to enjoy.  There are so many aspects of Great Smoky Mountains to expl[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Bears
Smoky Mountain Bears...
Smoky Mountain Bears are the symbol of the Smokies and sighting one is always a special event! With the tourist season in full swing and a recor[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Fairy Rings
Smoky Mountain Fairy Rings...
Smoky Mountain Fairy Rings. Finding a Smoky Mountain fairy ring is always a special event! Last year was one of the wettest on record, more than[Read More >>]
Smokey Bear Turns 75
Smokey Bear Turns 75...
Smokey Bear Turns 75. This year marks Smokey’s 75th year that he has cautioned Americans about the dangers of wild fires. Smokey Bear’s iconic f[Read More >>]
Great Smoky Mountain Hot Air Balloon Festival
Great Smoky Mountain Hot Air Balloon Festival...
The Great Smoky Mountain Hot Air Balloon Festival will light up the Smokies on Saturday August 17, 2019. Beginning at 3 p.m. and culminating wit[Read More >>]
Jared Hard Smoky Mountain Music Tour
Jared Hard Smoky Mountain Music Tour...
Jared Hard Smoky Mountain Music Tour. Jared will be bringing his musical stylings to the HeySmokies region for several months in late [Read More >>]
Remember When, Lost Smoky Mountain Attractions - Porpoise Island
Remember When, Lost Smoky Mountain Attractions - Porpoise Island...
Remember When, Lost Smoky Mountain Attractions - Porpoise Island. Pigeon Forge, TN is widely known as a national vacation destination offering s[Read More >>]