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An Explorers Guide to the Blue Ridge Parkway near Boone and Blowing Rock
Known as America's longest linear park, the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina runs the spine of the Blue Ridge for 469 miles from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains Nation Park in North Carolina. Built to showcase the immense beauty of the Appalachian Mountains and to provide economic relief during the Great Depression, the Blue Ridge Parkway is the most visited unit of the National Park System, playing a crucial role in preserving Appalachian cultural and natural history.
Work on the Blue Ridge Parkway began in 1935 as a federal works project enacted as part of the New Deal. All but a small section of the Parkway was completed by 1966, and it would take more than 20 years to finish the remaining 7.7 miles along the rugged eastern flanks of Grandfather Mountain between Blowing Rock and Linville.
The last remaining section of the Blue Ridge Parkway officially opened in 1987. It includes the famous Linn-Cove Viaduct, a quarter-mile s-shaped bridge spanning steep technical terrain that won numerous awards, including the President's Design Award for its elegant, economical design and unparalleled views.
Whether in your car, riding a motorcycle, or pedaling your bike, this historic section of Blue Parkway near Boone and Blowing Rock is unique for its breathtaking vistas, rich cultural history, and access to scenic overlooks, trails, and diverse attractions.
You'll find picnic areas, restrooms, campgrounds, and craft centers, but remember that services like gas and food are not available directly on the Parkway. Many facilities will close in the late fall, and road closures due to weather conditions are common in winter. You can check the park service website for up-to-date information before you visit. Here are some other essential things to keep in mind when you visit the Blue Ridge Parkway:
- Is there an entry fee? There is no fee to drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
- Where should I start? There are several easy-to-access entrances in Blowing Rock.
- Are there bathrooms? Yes, bathroom facilities are at various points along the Parkway, including the Moses Cone Manor House and Price Park Picnic Area.
- Why is it so popular? With its proximity to Boone and Blowing Rock, breathtaking scenic views, an abundance of hiking trails, and rich cultural history, it's no wonder this is one of the most visited sections of the Parkway.
- Is there an app? Yes, there are apps available to enhance your Parkway experience with maps and information. We like the Blue Ridge Park Association Parkway Planner App.
- Is the Skyline Drive the same? No, Skyline Drive is a different scenic road located in Virginia's Shenandoah National Park.
The Blue Ridge Parkway near Boone and Blowing Rock, North Carolina offers an incredible journey through the Appalachian landscape, rich in both natural beauty and cultural heritage. As you traverse this historic stretch of road, whether by car, motorcycle, or bicycle, you'll be greeted by stunning vistas, an array of outdoor activities, and a glimpse into the vibrant Appalachian history. Remember to plan your trip with the changing seasons in mind and utilize available resources like the Parkway Planner App for a safe and enriching experience.