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Malia & Mom's

Blue Ridge Parkway Plan

Mid June, 2007

7/14/07 - Yaaay - we have completed our mission to see every milepost of the Blue Ridge Parkway! Whenever we wandered off the parkway for camping, sightseeing, food, etc., we always returned to the same place we left so we wouldn't miss a foot of it. We basically followed the plan I outlined below, but there were some diversions. If you want to see what we did, start here at Mileposts Page 1.
North Carolina:
NC Mileposts State Parks Mountains  
All Mileposts RV Parks White water rafting  
Note: Low clearance tunnels (10'6" to 11'3") are on 3 mile stretch from mileposts 461-458. See Parkway Tunnel Clearance page. Explore that part in toad while staying at Smokemont. When leaving in motorhome, go south to Hwy. 19 for the 9 mile stretch that meets up with the parkway at Soco Gap.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Park Headquarters: 865-436-1200 Smokies Trip Planner (pdf)
Park Map (pdf)
Smokemont CG site map

Date

Mile Post

Miles since
last stop

Campground
Attraction / Info
6/18
469
4

Smokemont CG
Great Smoky Mt. NP

4 miles from CG to Southern end of Parkway. Per website 5/27, res. system not working, so all 1st come, 1st served.
451   Waterock Knob - Panorama of the Great Smokies, visitor center, trail
6/19 408
61

Mount Pisgah CG
(1 night)
(828) 456-8829

70 RV sites. Highest, coolest and most secluded CG on Parkway. A granite rock base forms a bowl in this gap, so there is little run-off and the area remains wet creating the 85-acre Flat Laurel Gap Bog. A rare example of the southern Appalachian bog and its ecosystem.

6/20-23

390

18
Asheville: (4 nights)
KOA Asheville East
828-686-3121

Chimney Rock

Family owned since 1902; purchased by North Carolina to incorporate into state park. Open daily (weather permitting) from 8:30 to 5:30 (EDT)

6/24 364     Craggy Gardens Visitors Ctr. - covered with purple rhododendron mid to late June.
355

Mt. Mitchell SP (no rv sites) - A feast for the eyes—breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, rolling ridges and fertile valleys. Forested and forever misty, 1,855-acre Mount Mitchell State Park will provide you with some of the most tranquil moments you'll ever experience.

6/24-25
340
50
Crabtree Meadows CG
(2 nights)
(22 RV sites)
Hiking trails, wildflowers. Crabtree Falls Loop Trail is 40 min., 2.5-mile, strenuous hike to the 70-foot-tall falls.
320 Chestoa View Trail & Overlook - Great view from Humpback Mountain. Easy 30 minute loop
317

Linville Falls CG
(828) 765-7818

(20 RV sites

On the banks of the Linville River - the Parkway’s smallest and most popular campground.

Visitor Center - Start of trails to overlook two falls and gorge. Linville Falls is the most famous waterfall in the Blue Ridge. Allow 1 - 3 hours - Upper Falls (Linville Falls Trail) - 10-12' high into a pool; Lower Falls (Linville Gorge Trail) - 80' into the gorge. Plan on 45 min. to hike to those 2 falls.

Linville River Bridge - A leg-stretcher trail to view an unusual bridge. 0.1 mile, easy.
Linville Caverns - Inside Humpback Mountain - magnificent icicle-like sculptures. Guided tour; crystal-clear streams with trout running below the caverns. 800-419-0540 - $
Dugger's Creek Trail - .5 mile loop to view of Dugger's Falls. Strenuous.
6/26-7/1 312  

Grandfather Mountain RV Park
(5 nights)
800-788-2582

Although the view of Grandfather Mountain is at the Parkway's Milepost 306, you need to exit here (if you're heading north) and take SR 181 and US 281 and go through the town of Linville to get there for a visit. We're going back to where we exited the Parkway from here so we see all the stops. We're exploring Grandfather Mountain while staying here.
       
Grandfather Mountain - 2-4 hours: At 5,964 feet, the highest peak in the Blue Ridge with some of the oldest rock formations in the world. Mile high swinging bridge and globally recognized nature preserve. Nature walks; hiking trails
  308     Flat Rock Trail - An easy self-guiding loop - .63 miles
306     Grandfather Mountain Overlook - One of the best southern views of Grandfather Mountain. You might notice how the mountain also resembles the head of a hawk--which also explains the Cherokee name "Tanawa" meaning hawk.
  305     Rough Ridge - Overlook Trail - see plant life - boardwalks cover much of the trail.
  304     Linn Cove Viaduct - 30 min-1 hour - Perhaps the most photographed section of the entire Parkway is this marvel of modern engineering. A key factor in the decision to construct the viaduct was environmental --they did not want to cut into a mountain, but rather, to wrap a bridge around one! The most complicated concrete bridge ever built, the Viaduct snakes around Linn Cover in an s-shaped curve. Visitors can get out at the Linn Cove visitor's center and hike down on a handicapped-accessible trail to a beautiful view of the Viaduct.
7/2 - 7/5
300
Julian Price CG
(828) 963-5911
or...
Largest CG - 68 RV sites (No reservations) Dump station - Loop "A" is located near Price Lake. Several hikes from CG. RVer comment: This campground will always be our favorite... restores my soul just being there. In late June Rhododendrons are beautiful. Great hiking trails nearby - lovely wooded one around Price Lake.

KOA Boone

Boone - A nice drive up 221 and 105 from Marion, Boone is worth the stop. Make sure you eat at the Daniel Boone Restaurant - they have the best Country Ham Biscuits!
    The Village of Blowing Rock - 1.5 to 3 hrs.- Quaint little village, unique shops and restaurants in a picture-perfect setting complete with a Main Street Park. Breakfast at the Blowing Rock Cafe: fantastic strawberry muffins, huge fluffy pancakes and a mountain of eggs, cheese, potatoes and veggies all mixed together.
290     Thunder Hill Overlook: Great views overlook Yadkin River valley, seeing Hickory & Lenoir.
289     Raven's Rock: Overlook w/ views of valley surrounding Watauga River.
282     Grandview Overlook: Gorgeous view--as the name implies!
276     Rendezvous Mountain: 1-2 hrs. - Follow the "Talking Tree Trail," where the trees talk and tell story of the forest's history.
272     Tompkins Knob Trail: To Jesse Brown Cabin; Easy .6 Mile
EB Jeffress Park: Picnic area, trail to Cascades Waterfall; Cascades Trail loop to view of falls; Moderate .5 Mile
264     The Lump Trail: Easy .3 mile trail to hill top view
261    
Downtown West Jefferson Quaint town set against a picturesque mountain backdrop. Sally Mae's Emporium; Todd General Store - A true mercantile of days gone by; in operation since 1914. Displayed throughout are memorabilia from the early 1900s.
Mount Jefferson State Park
336-246-9653
The highest peak in the county. Picnic areas, hiking trails and beautiful panoramic views of the New River. Mid to late June rhododendron are in bloom. Once part of the Underground Railroad for Runaway Slaves.
New River State Park Second oldest river in the world. Picknicking and picturesque scenery.
Shatley Springs Spring "radium" water believed to possess healing power. Can be purchased or collected for free in your own container.
260     Rocks Trail: A forest path to a great view. 1 mile, Easy.
259    

Churches of the Frescoes

Turn toward Glendale Springs, pass the first stop sign, turn right and drive for ½ block to the Holy Trinity Church. (open 24 hours; free).

The "Last Supper" covers an entire wall of the Church. The 3 fresco paintings are the "Mystery of Faith", "John, the Baptist" and "Mary, Great with Child". Notice that the beams of the church are incorporated into the fresco. Also, notice that there is a bumble bee that is immortalized in the John the Baptist fresco because it "bugged" the artist so much while he was painting!

NW Trading Post Handmade crafts, homemade jams and goodies, quilts, etc.
Glendale Springs Cozy mountain corner - Hospitality and relaxation.
246    

Thistle Meadow Winery
Take Elk Knob Road (SR 1143), 3 miles to the Burgiss Farm.

A winery that allows you to see just how wine is made daily and how you can make wine to YOUR taste.
245
52

Doughton Park CG

(25 sites)
(336) 372-8568 or...

RVer Comment: Our favorite camping, where host told us about the "Honeymoon Suite" (isolated campsite T9, where the sunset was stupendous and we were alone with the parkway and our RV).
7,000 acres of land with picnic areas and 30 miles of hiking trails. Visit the restored Brinegar Cabin and, in summer, watch hand-weaving demonstrations.
241     Wildcat Rocks: See homestead of Caudill family, a dramatic exhibit of isolated mountain life.
235 Mahogany Rock Mountain: A prime place to view hawks sailing the updraft and thermals along the Blue Ridge on their southern migration (late August and early September).
229
Stone Mountain SP
(336) 957-8185
Camping - no reservations. Several hiking trails, including one to summit of the 600-foot granite dome. From Parkway: Take Hwy. 21 South. About 4 miles, see P.O. on right (Roaring Gap). 2nd road to right: Oklahoma Road (this is paved road, but pretty curvy with a couple sharp ones, but larger RVs and trucks do travel this road.)
219     Fox Hunter's Paradise: Overlook & parking area
217 Cumberland Knob: 1,000 acres park. Picnic areas and trails. 15 minute loop trail to Cumberland Knob - ideal lazy-day walk.
      Entering Virginia
VA Blue Ridge Parkway Info Trails Info
 
   
     
7/6
177
65 or
Full hookups. Bus. 58W & Parkway. (276) 952-2292
     

Mabry Mill: One of several NPS historic sites here.

169
76
Rocky Knob Campground
25 RV sites & campfire circle (540) 745-9660 - See Mabry Mill from here.
To the west, Bluffs Coffee Shop, service station, and information center.

7/6 - 7/7

161
  Visitor Center with Picnic Area - To the east is Wildcat Rocks Overlook. A short trail leads up to the overlook where a sign describes the homestead of Martin Caudill, which can be seen in the valley below the overlook.
154   The Trail Cabin, circa 19th-century - Represents the isolation of mountain residents. The location has been described as spectacular.
130   Roanake Valley Overlook - View of the largest community along the parkway.
121
48
Roanoke Mountain Campground (2 nights) 30 RV sites. 6 miles of hiking along Roanoke River (two miles of which abut the park).
(540) 767-2492 (See VA's Explore Park from here - 8 miles away)
115  
Virginia’s Explore Park - 1100-acre outdoor living history museum and recreation park offering visitors a bevy of opportunities for leisure activity, learning and fun. Costumed interpreters teach visitors about life in western Virginia from the pre-contact Native American.
  Roanoke River - Roanoke River Gorge opens before you from the overlook, after a 10 minute walk.
85
Peaks of Otter CG
62 RV sites
(540) 586-4357 or...
Visitor Center, Restaurant; behind the lodge is Abbott Lake, a 24-acre lake featuring a one-mile loop trail. Forum comment: We camped here and enjoyed it. No hook-ups but the scenery made up for it. The City of Bedford, down the mountain from the Peaks of Otter, has several sites designed for overnight camping at their visitor center. (See this one on the way back)
83     Fallingwater Cascades: Seen along a 1.6 mile loop trail.
  75   Thunder Hill: Overlook offers an exceptional view of the valley & other mountain ranges. A wonderful opportunity to access the Appalachian Trail which passes directly through the overlook area.
  64

56

or...

Otter Creek CG
(2 nights)
24 RV sites
(434) 299-5941
or...
Natural Bridge: One of 7 natural wonders of the world - 540-291-2121 - $12.00
Monacan Village: What life would have been in a typical Monacan Village 300 years ago.
  James River - Visitors Center, CG, restaurant
    Many of the campsites are along the banks of Otter Creek. Explore Natural Bridge from here.
  61 RVer comment: Otter Creek Restaurant yummy. Nearby Wildwood CG good; 434-299-5228
7/8 - 7/9  
50
KOA Natural Bridge
540-291-2770
2 nights
  16   Sherando Lake CG USFS CG - 65 sites; 30 with electric ($20) - first come, first served. 540-291-2188
In George Washington National Forest about 4.5 miles off the Parkway on Highway 814.
  10     Humpback Rocks - Visitors Center, then start of Skyline Drive
7/10-11
 
70
Big Meadows CG Shenandoah NP
7/13-14
124
Mom to Richmond Airport on July 14
RESEARCH:

469 miles between Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks. The zero milepost marker is south of Shenandoah National Park (VA). Each mile is numbered progressively toward the south end of the Parkway at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (NC).

Virtual Parkway Blue Ridge Online Skyline Drive Byways.Org Misc
Overlooks tours Area Campgrounds FAQs NPS site Lodging
Driving Tour Road Conditions Trails & Camping Trails Info Tunnel Clearances
RVer sites: Lynn Selton    
Forum Discussions: Campgrounds Attractions  
Info Line 24-hour info line 828 298-0398 for latest road conditions
Gas Not available on parkway, but not far off at Highway Intersections
Speed Limit 45 or less
Campgrounds per NPS No reservations - No water/elec./sewer. Centralized water and restrooms are available. $16/site - Golden Age or Golden Access Passports discounts.
Campgrounds per BRP Assn. Reservations may be made for some sites at the Price Park, Linville Falls and Mt. Pisgah campgrounds. To reserve, visit www.recreation.gov or call (877) 444-6777. Reserved sites: $19
Open Most visitor facilities (picnic areas, campgrounds, visitor centers) - open from mid May through October.
RVs The winding nature of the road may make it difficult for large recreational vehicles, but all personal vehicles, motorcycles, tour buses and bicycles are allowed. No commercial traffic is permitted!
Springtime show rivals the display of trees in fall. Due to range in elevation (from 649 to 6,047 feet), peaks occur at different times and places - earlier in VA than in NC. Flame azalea at its best south of Roanoke to Rocky Knob about mid-May and in the high mountains west of Asheville about mid-June. Mountain laurel along Otter Creek in mid-May and elsewhere on Parkway in first two weeks of June. Thickets of catawba rhododendron turn purple north of Peaks of Otter to Onion Mountain and along the bluffs of Doughton Park first week of June and in Craggy Gardens and through the Balsams after mid-June. Various wildflowers begin to bloom in April and continue through fall. May is probably the best month for wildflowers. Rhododendron in mid June.
National Parks Service: Campgrounds along the Parkway
Chart from CG Info: Milepost Tent sites RV sites Picnic sites Acreage Elevation

Supplies
(Gas)

Hiking trail Fishing Visitor Ctr.
Otter Creek 60.9 45 24 -- 552 800 --- Y Y Y
Peaks of Otter 86.0 86 62 62 4150 2565 Y Y Y Y
Roanoke Mountain 120.5 74 30 -- 1142 1500 Y
Rocky Knob 167.1 81 28 72 4200 3100 -- Y Y Y
Doughton Park 239.0 110 25 56 6430 3600 Y Y Y --
Julian Price 297.0 129 68 100 3900 3400 -- Y Y --
Linville Falls 316.3 50 20 100 996 3000 -- Y Y Y
Crabtree Meadows 339.5 71 22 82 253 3750 Y Y -- --
Mount Pisgah 408.6 70 70 50 690 5000 Y Y -- --
Technically the Blue Ridge Parkway itself does not extend into Tennessee. However, the Newfound Gap road through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a natural extension to the southern end of the Parkway.
  Want to
? To those who have asked about donating - you make me blush, but thank you! I'm thrilled to hear that you find my compulsive planning to be useful in your own planning. I'm so happy to be able to live this RVing lifestyle and sharing the info with others is a lot of fun, too. I'm always happy to hear from you, so feel free to email me at www.MaliasMiles.com if there's something else you'd like to see on the site. Happy trails!