Meandering 469 miles from Shenandoah National Park in the northern Shenandoah Valley of Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina, the Parkway follows the Appalachian Mountains and boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in the world.
A hundred species of trees, a variety of flowering shrubs and wildflowers as well 54 different mammals and 59 species of birds live along the Parkway - more than the entire European continent!
Skyline Drive connects to the northernmost section of the Parkway, winding along the crest of the mountains from Waynesboro northward 105 miles to Front Royal.
Developed sites along the Parkway make it easy to stop, park, stretch, visit restrooms and exhibits, hike and get a bite to eat. Lodging and campgrounds are available with opportunities to fish and view wildlife.
Appalachian Cultural Sites | Campgrounds and LodgingHiking Trails and Wildlife | Fishing and SwimmingMilepost Services | Just Off the Parkway
See remnants of the oldest settlements along the Parkway, learn a bit of the history from exhibits at the Visitor Centers, and read all the overlook signs. Highlights include:
Milepost 5 - Humpback Rocks - See old Appalachian farm buildings of the 19th century at the Mountain Farm Exhibit. During summer months, enjoy living history demonstrations. The Humpback Rocks Visitors Center features exhibits on housing, community, transportation and entertainment of the region.
Milepost 34.4 - The Yankee Horse Ridge Parking Area features narrow gauge railroad track once known as the Irish Creek Railway. See an exhibit on logging, too.
Milepost 63.6 - James River Visitor Center features an exhibit on the James River and Kanawha Canal, which was once a primary commercial route. A trail takes you to a restored lock dating from the mid-19th century.
Milepost 85.9 - Peaks of Otter - The Johnson farm is a living history farm during the summer. The Polly Woods Ordinary served as a lodging establishment for travelers in the early 1830s. Both are two structures reminiscent of a bygone era.
Milepost 120.4 - Enjoy a 3.7-mile side trip to Roanoke Mountain. Roanoke is where the Great Wagon Road branched south into North Carolina and west.
Milepost 154 - The Trail Cabin, circa 19th-century, represents the isolation of mountain residents. The location has been described as spectacular!
Milepost 176.2 - Mabry Mill is not to be missed. Explore the mill, a blacksmith shop, wheelwright's and a whiskey still. Demonstrations take place spring through fall.
Milepost 189 - The Puckett Cabin, also 19th-century, was the home of Mrs. Orleana.
Milepost 213 - The Blue Ridge Music Center features an amphitheater, where a Summer Concert Series is featured each Saturday evening June through September.
Campgrounds are open from May to October and are maintained and supervised by National Park Rangers. They are primitive sites without hookups, but each is equipped with restrooms, drinking water, picnic tables and grills. Sanitary dump stations are available, too. Campsites cannot be reserved, but please make reservations if you're staying in a lodge. Lodges are open year 'round.
Milepost 16 - Sherando Lake in George Washington National Forest is about 4.5 miles off the Parkway on Highway 814.
Milepost 60.8 - Otter Creek Campground provides 45 tent and 24 trailer sites, restrooms, water, and a campfire circle. Many of the campsites are along the banks of Otter Creek. The James River Visitors Center is a 3.5-mile hike on the Otter Creek Trail.
Milepost 86 - Peaks of Otter Campground offers campsites and non-electrical RV sites. Within walking distance of the Abbott Lake and Peaks of Otter.
Milepost 85.6 - The Peaks of Otter Lodge is open year 'round. It has 62 rooms and a 24-acre lake for fishing! Amenities include a gas station, restaurant, gift shop and picnic area. Bus rides to the Sharp Top Summit are available from the Visitors Center. Sharp Top Summit is the northernmost boundary of the Cherokee Nation. The area has a gas station, 62-table picnic area, campstore and 141 campsites with 53 RV/trailer sites.
Milepost 120.3 - Roanoke Mountain Campground offers 74 tent and 30 RV sites; three sites are accessible to campers in wheelchairs. The city of Roanoke is the largest city adjacent to the Parkway, so if you get tired of camping, there are hotels, motels and BandBs close by.
Milepost 161 - Rocky Knob Campground features 81 tent and 28 trailer sites, restrooms and a dump station for RV's with a campfire circle that accommodates up to 150 campers. The picnic area consists of 72 tables, restrooms, phone and picnic shelter. Route 758 is accessed on the West Side of the Parkway and leads to the Rocky Knob Housekeeping Cabins one mile away.
Milepost 176 - Spectacular views, mountain-top chalets, elegant dining, conference facilities, and a wide array of recreational activities await you at Primland Resort. Fish, hunt, ATV, golf and so much more all while staying in an elegant resort.
The following hiking trails include only those that are about a mile or longer. Other easy to moderate "leg stretching" loops can be found all along the Parkway, especially to points of interest.
A state fishing license is required and creel limits are enforced. Please inquire at Visitor Centers or Ranger Stations along the Parkway.
Milepost 16 - Sherando Lake is a recreation/camping area in the George Washington National Forest. Swimming facilities include a sandy beach, a shaded grass area and a bathhouse with warm showers.
Milepost 58-63.6 - Otter Creek runs 10 miles down the Blue Ridge to the James River, and Otter Lake is accessible from the Otter Creek Campground. Fishing only.
Milepost 71 - Petites Gap to Cave Mountain Lake, seven miles off the Parkway in Jefferson National Forest, is ideal for swimming and fishing.
Milepost 84-87 - Peaks of Otter Lodge features a 24-acre lake stocked with smallmouth bass, catfish, golden shiners, sunfish and blue gill.
In case your trip down the Blue Ridge Parkway requires replenishment, visit one of the communities just a hop, skip and a jump away.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a Virginia Green attraction!
Last Updated: 03/15/2016
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