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SEASONAL INTEREST

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Every season brings it’s own beauty to the Parkway. And while that is very true, many visitors to the Parkway focus on spring for it’s vivid array of wildflowers or on fall for it’s breathtaking expanse of foliage color.

FRIENDS offers updates thru our social media and e-newsletters on both the natural conditions and the seasonal events on the Parkway that can help with your planning.

There are a number of resources available to visitors to help them plan trips during these seasons, from historical data on past seasons to current situation reports to live web cams where you can view the spread of fall in the Blue Ridge from wherever you reside. We’ve collected information and links to some of the best seasonal information resources on the web for you below. Enjoy!

Spring

spring-wildflowers

Spring wildflowers bring many visitors to the Parkway. Blooms start in February with some plants blooming late in to October. May is often the best month for viewing with warming temperatures and summer on the approach. To see the broadest variety, hike some of the many trails leading off the Blue Ridge Parkway.

You can call the Blue Ridge Parkway National Park Service (NPS) information line to hear the latest wildflower reports during the spring and summer months:
(828) 298-0398 (option 3)

In addition, several websites offer useful information for prospective wildflower hunters:

Blue Ridge Parkway AssociationWildflower Bloom Schedule

Blue Ridge Parkway JourneysUp-to-Date WildFlower Reports

Fall

Fall brings cooler temperatures and incredibly vivid colors. This is the favorite time for many Parkway regulars to enjoy drives, walks on trails scattered with red and gold leaves and maybe a stop at a local brewery or winery.

On average, the Blue Ridge Parkway region experiences the much anticipated fall foliage color around the middle of October. Many factors, however, contribute to variations in when and where colors will peak. The Parkway stretches almost five hundred miles north to south, meanders from the east to west facing slopes, and, most importantly, varies in elevation from just under 650 feet at James River in Virginia, to over 6,000 feet south of Mt. Pisgah in North Carolina. If you are planning your trip ahead, the best plan for viewing fall foliage colors is to plan a drive along the Parkway that changes elevations and north-south orientation. If your timing is more flexible, take advantage of the NPS and other fall foliage reports to find peak color.

fall-leaves
You can call the Blue Ridge Parkway NPS information line to hear the latest fall foliage reports during the fall months:
(828) 298-0398 (option 3)

In addition, several websites have foliage color tips/forecasts, historical records, webcams or up to date fall foliage reports:

Blue Ridge Parkway AssociationTips for Viewing

Blue Ridge Parkway JourneysUp-to-Date Fall Foliage Reports

Virtual Blue RidgeHistorical Foliage Reports

Virginia Department of ForestryFall Foliage Report

North CarolinaMountain Fall Foliage Report

NPS Fall Color Reports – the Blue Ridge Parkway NPS does not have a fall color report, however, the National Parks at both ends do which gives a nice broad brush to the Parkway foliage conditions.
Shenandoah National Park Fall Color Report
Great Smoky Mountains Fall Color Report

NPS Mountain Webcams
Shenandoah National Park / Skyline Drive
Great Smoky Mountains National Park – high altitude Purchase Knob
Great Smoky Mountains National Park – middle altitude Look Rock

Advisories
stay-on-trailAs you enjoy all the beauty the region has to offer, please be aware that the Blue Ridge Parkway has unique habitats that support rare and endangered plants and animals. The over 100 trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway provide ample opportunities for visitors to view these precious areas without damaging them with foot traffic.
Please do not pick flowers along the Parkway or it’s trails. National park areas are set aside to preserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects for the enjoyment of all visitors. Everything from the smallest flower to the trees that fall in the forest are part of the ecosystem of the region that we are charged with protecting.

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