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Blue Ridge Parkway Basics

One of the most enjoyable aspects of exploring the Blue Ridge Parkway is the slow paced travel (45 mph or less) and the opportunity that presents to experience nature both up close and in spectacularly expansive vistas, as well as the regional history and culture. Part of a Parkway experience is getting sidetracked in the towns and communities of the region where you can find music, art, and festivals along with opportunities to taste regional foods and try the offerings of local wineries and breweries. Many small towns dot the extent of the Parkway while Asheville and Boone, NC and Roanoke, VA are the largest cities along the way.

Location: Virginia, North Carolina
Established: June 30, 1936
Length: 469 miles
Entry fee: Free
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Points of Interest Parkway News
Events Road Closures
FAQs RV Tunnel Clearances

Travel the full length of the Blue Ridge Parkway and earn a 469 Award! Terms and Conditions
When To Go
The Blue Ridge Parkway is open year-around, subject to winter snow and ice. Spring and fall are popular times to visit, each with it’s own spectacular seasonal display. Summer offers lush green forests and blue sky vistas.

seasons

Want to see the wildflower blooms or the glorious array of fall foliage? Click here for a variety of sources to help you find the optimal time for your visit.

If you plan to come during a more popular time, schedule your visit to arrive midweek and arrive at visitor centers early. Be aware that many campgrounds, concessions, visitor centers, and areas of interest are open seasonally on the Blue Ridge Parkway. A listing of openings, closing, and hours may be found here.

How To Get There
The Blue Ridge Parkway extends from Shenandoah National Park near Waynesboro, VA (designated Milepost 0) to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Cherokee, NC (Milepost 469). There are entrances and exits at all major federal and state highways. In Virginia, Interstates 64, 81, and 77 all have directions for accessing the Parkway. The same is true for Interstates 40 and 26 in North Carolina. Our interactive map offers information on all access points.

Where To Stay
The Blue Ridge Parkway offers both camping and lodging along it’s length. Lodges along the Parkway are open seasonally, spring thru the fall foliage season. Please check directly with each lodge for specific availabilities.

Campgrounds cost [insert_php]echo CAMPGROUND_COST;[/insert_php] per site, per night but there are online reservation fees of a couple dollars as well should you choose that route. Visitors with the Interagency Senior or Access Pass (or former Golden Age or Gold Access Passports) do pay a reduced camping fee. There is a full list of campgrounds by milepost number here. Some campgrounds are available for reservation on RECREATION.gov.

The Peaks of Otter Lodge, located twenty miles north of Roanoke, VA at Milepost 86 and the Pisgah Inn, located south of Asheville, NC at Milepost 408.6 are the two most noted lodges on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

For a more complete listing of accommodations, please see the Blue Ridge Parkway Association website. The Association is the officially designated marketing partner of the Blue Ridge Parkway and they offer a wonderful list of available accommodations here.

Advisories
Weather
brpweather-smThe mountain ranges often make for unexpected weather patterns. The Parkway varies in elevation from just under 650 feet at Virginia’s James River to over 6,000 feet south of Mount Pisgah in North Carolina. Even in summer, the weather can be cool at these elevations. Check Blue Ridge Parkway Weather here or your favorite weather-related website or app for the Parkway town closest to where you’re traveling for the most up to date information.

Road Closures
The most up to date road closure information is available by calling the National Park Service (NPS) information line (828) 298-0398 (option 1), 24 hours a day. In addition, the NPS now offers a map with real-time road closure and condition information here. This feature is particularly helpful during the winter months when the weather can change the road conditions quickly.

RV Travel
RVs are a popular way to travel on the Parkway. Be aware that certain road grades will make travel slower and it is appreciated when you pull over frequently to allow faster moving traffic to get by. Also, make sure you review the tunnel heights in the areas you’ll be traveling to ensure your rig can safely negotiate all of them. You can find a list of tunnels / specifications by milepost number here.

Camping
Camping is permitted only in designated campsites.

Firewood
Firewood from the states of Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia (odd as it sounds given the Parkway extends into Virginia, yes, please do not bring your own wood for campfires), Wisconsin and the states of Ontario and Quebec in Canada should not be brought onto Parkway lands. The US Department of Agriculture has quarantined firewood from these states to prevent the spread of highly destructive insects that may be in the wood. You can read more here. Camp hosts at the campgrounds often sell firewood that is permitted for use.

Pet Policies
Many Parkway campgrounds allow pets and you can search for openings where pets are permitted using RECREATION.gov. Some hotels and lodges are also offering pet friendly stays. A wonderful reference for those traveling with pets is the AAA book “Traveling with Your Pet” which lists pet friendly lodging all over the United States. Pet policies should always be verified directly with the facilities you plan to stay with. Dogs are permitted on the many trails within Parkway boundaries, but they must be on leash or otherwise physically restrained at all times. Off leash dogs frighten wildlife, fight with other dogs on the trails and frighten hikers. If a pet cannot be kept under control, leave it at home.
BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY NATIONAL PARK SERVICE (NPS) WEBSITE: http://www.nps.gov/blri/index.htm

NPS Blue Ridge Parkway Headquarters is located at Milepost (MP) 384. Their contact information is provided below.

199 Hemphill Knob Road, Asheville, NC 28803-8686
828-271-4779 direct, park information 828-298-0398

The Blue Ridge Parkway NPS is structured in to districts – Ridge [MP 1 – 106], Plateau [MP 106 – 217], Highlands [MP 217 – 305] and Pisgah [MP 305 – 469]. You can contact the district offices at the numbers below.

Ridge 540-377-2377
Plateau 540-745-9681
Highlands 336-372-8568
Pisgah 828-350-3821

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