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15 Must-Do Adventures Along The Blue Ridge Parkway

04.19.18

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15 Must-Do Adventures Along The Blue Ridge Parkway
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  • An autumn view from the Craggy Gardens Pinnacle on the Blue Ridge Parkway. - 15 Must-Do Adventures Along The Blue Ridge Parkway
  • A beautiful view is always best when shared with a friend. - 15 Must-Do Adventures Along The Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Spending the day adventuring on the Blue Ridge Parkway? Grab lunch at the Pisgah Inn and take a moment to watch the storms roll in. - 15 Must-Do Adventures Along The Blue Ridge Parkway
  • The view of Looking Glass Rock is absolutely stunning year around! - 15 Must-Do Adventures Along The Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Ridges for days on the Blue Ridge Parkway! - 15 Must-Do Adventures Along The Blue Ridge Parkway
  • The Mount Pisgah Campground is an excellent place to set up a base camp if you plan on exploring the Blue Ridge Parkway for a few days. - 15 Must-Do Adventures Along The Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Each campsite at the Mount Pisgah Campground has a picnic table and fire ring. However, the Pisgah Inn just across the parkway is an excellent spot to grab a meal with an epic view. - 15 Must-Do Adventures Along The Blue Ridge Parkway
  • The view from the Frying Pan Lookout Tower.- 15 Must-Do Adventures Along The Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Southward view of the Blue Ridge Parkway and Looking Glass Rock from the Frying Pan Lookout Tower. - 15 Must-Do Adventures Along The Blue Ridge Parkway
  • The Blue Ridge Mountains in fall splendor.- 15 Must-Do Adventures Along The Blue Ridge Parkway
  • It took a total of 52 years to complete the 452 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway, including the Linn Cove Viaduct seen here. - 15 Must-Do Adventures Along The Blue Ridge Parkway
  • During the spring and summer months, you'll find numerous types of wildflowers all along the Blue Ridge Parkway as well as on area trails. - 15 Must-Do Adventures Along The Blue Ridge Parkway
  • View from Black Balsam Knob.- 15 Must-Do Adventures Along The Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Plaque on Black Balsam Knob.- 15 Must-Do Adventures Along The Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Grassy Cove Top on the Art Loeb Trail. - 15 Must-Do Adventures Along The Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Shining Rock on the Art Loeb Trail. - 15 Must-Do Adventures Along The Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Take time to say hello to the locals along the Art Loeb Trail.- 15 Must-Do Adventures Along The Blue Ridge Parkway
  • The Craggy Gardens Visitor Center is located alongside the Blue Ridge Parkway.- 15 Must-Do Adventures Along The Blue Ridge Parkway
  • View from the Craggy Gardens Pinnacle summit, looking over the visitor center.- 15 Must-Do Adventures Along The Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Graveyard Fields is the perfect spot for exploring with the family or even your favorite canine! - 15 Must-Do Adventures Along The Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Lazy dog days of summer at Graveyard Fields on the Blue Ridge Parkway. - 15 Must-Do Adventures Along The Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Open meadow just north of Mount Hardy.- 15 Must-Do Adventures Along The Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Sunrise from the summit of Black Balsam Knob. - 15 Must-Do Adventures Along The Blue Ridge Parkway
  • The sunrise viewed from Black Balsam Knob.- 15 Must-Do Adventures Along The Blue Ridge Parkway
  • The Cherokee of the Blue Ridge Mountains once used bent trees as markers that tribe members needed along their journey. The bent tree seen here is very likely one of those trees and a natural marker for the falls and stream. - 15 Must-Do Adventures Along The Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Dense broadleaf forest along the trail to Skinny Dip Falls.- 15 Must-Do Adventures Along The Blue Ridge Parkway
  • The largest falls at Skinny Dip Falls with a jumping area to the right.- 15 Must-Do Adventures Along The Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Skinny Dip Falls.- 15 Must-Do Adventures Along The Blue Ridge Parkway
  • The stairs and bridge to cross the river on the Skinny Dip Falls Trail. - 15 Must-Do Adventures Along The Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Looking Glass Rock as seen from the Parkway near mile marker 415.- 15 Must-Do Adventures Along The Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Sunrise over the Blue Ridge Parkway from the Art Loeb Trail.- 15 Must-Do Adventures Along The Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Sunrise from Craggy Pinnacle.- 15 Must-Do Adventures Along The Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Beautiful autumn colors on the Parkway near mile marker 385.- 15 Must-Do Adventures Along The Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Sunset from Craggy Pinnacle on the Blue Ridge Parkway.- 15 Must-Do Adventures Along The Blue Ridge Parkway
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To introduce the Blue Ridge Parkway as the highway to adventure in the Southern Appalachians would still not do justice to the area's potential. Any adventure or outdoor activity that you can dream up can most likely be found along the 469 miles that stretch from Virginia to North Carolina. You'll find never-ending views, hiking and backpacking, rock climbing, mountain biking, photographic opportunities, waterfalls with tranquil pools for swimming and more around every curve. The Blue Ridge Parkway took a total of 52 years to complete, and you could spend just as long exploring every nook of the treasures tucked away along this stretch of the Appalachian Mountains. Take 52 hours, 52 days, 52 weeks, or even 52 years and seek out all of the beauty and adventure that awaits. Below, you'll find 15 spots to get you started on what could turn out to be the journey of a lifetime. 

  1. Mount Pisgah Campground: A perfect base camp for exploring the parkway.    
  2. Frying Pan Lookout Tower : Stretch your legs, get your heart pumping, and soak up the views. 
  3. Linn Cove Viaduct: The Linn Cove Viaduct is possibly the most infamous section of the parkway. Witness it firsthand and you'll quickly see why. 
  4. Art Loeb Trail : Thirty miles of trails that offer a perfect backpacking experience as well as day hike options.
  5. Craggy Gardens Pinnacle : From the gnarled, twisty and magical trees of Craggy to one of the top views of the Blue Ridge Parkway and the entire stretch of the southern Appalachians, the 20-minute climb to the summit of the pinnacle is a top spot on a parkway bucket list. Catch a sunset from the pinnacle for an epic end to your day on the parkway. 
  6. Graveyard Fields: Unlike other adventures on the parkway, at Graveyard Fields you won't be climbing to a summit; instead, you'll be wandering into a very unique mountain valley. 
  7. Black Balsam Knob: Hike to the grassy summit bald of the unforgettable Black Balsam Knob. From the top you'll be able to spot five peaks of surrounding mountains. For a full experience, sleep under the Milky Way and wake up to an Appalachian sunrise.
  8. Waterrock Knob: Sunrise, sunset or just a mid-day stop. You can't go wrong exploring this 16th highest mountain in the eastern United States. 
  9. Skinny Dip Falls: You can probably figure out how this Blue Ridge Parkway waterfall got its name, but no worries, in the summer months guests will be showing off their bathing suits, not their birthday suits. Skinny Dip is a don't-miss waterfall along your parkway journey! 
  10. Devil's Courthouse: Take a short but strenuous hike to the summit of the Devil's Courthouse to soak up an ocean of mountains. Just don't wake up Judaculla, a giant that lived in one of the mountain's caves according to Cherokee legend.
  11. Grandfather Mountain: Whether you choose to hike to the top or drive instead, Grandfather Mountain's 360-degree view and mile-high swinging bridge is sure to take your breath away. 
  12. Crabtree Falls: A stunning 60-foot waterfall that is accessible by a 2.5-loop hike. Soak up the journey as you hike through rhododendrons, a lush forest, and a trail filled with ferns and wildflowers. 
  13. Rattlesnake Lodge: Explore a piece of Blue Ridge Parkway history as you take a step back in time on a hike to the former site and ruins of a 1920s lodge.
  14. Mountains-To-Sea Trail: A 1,175-mile trail that reaches from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. You can access segments of the Mountains-To-Sea along the parkway to customize your experience of the trail to fit your hiking goals. The MTS crosses over the highest summit east of the Missippippi River, Mount Mitchell, at 6,684 feet. 
  15. Waterrock Knob to Browning Knob: Hike to a tucked-away trail gem, a plane crash site from 1983 on Browning Knob. You can then continue on to the summit of Mount Lyn Lowry at an elevation of 6,240 feet. 
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