In the stunning backdrop of Lake Keowee and Lake Jocassee are the Blue Ridge Mountains. Winding through the beautiful Appalachian mountains is a scenic road comprised of over 450 miles known as the Blue Ridge Parkway. Making its way through 29 counties, this National Parkway is America’s longest linear park. Protected within this park are spectacular mountain landscapes and views that extend far beyond the road itself.
Work on the road began in 1935 as a way to connect the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and the Great Smoky National Park in North Carolina. The parkway was not completed until 1987 with what was known as the “missing link” around Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina. While not a National Park but part of the National Park System, the Blue Ridge Parkway has been the most visited unit every year since 1946 except for two years. Just think of all the remarkable sunsets and sunrises seen since opened! The views are not the only sites to see. This parkway also boasts many beautiful tunnels that were constructed through rock – 25 tunnels in North Carolina!
Anyone with a love for botany or flowers in general will adore the shrubs and wildflowers that color the parkway in the spring. Many annuals and perennials line the parkway in summer months and what can be said about the autumn leaves! Stunning does not describe the brilliant colors you can see in the fall.
For residents of The Reserve at Lake Keowee and The Cliffs Communities, many of the highlights along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina are perfect for a day trip! For some views of Grandfather Mountain or Lineville Valley, pull over at mile 308.3. At mile 355.4, you can visit the Mount Mitchell State Park which has the highest point (Mount Mitchell) east of the Mississippi River. The Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center is at mile 384 and has many exhibits, including an interactive map of the entire Blue Ridge Parkway. You can stop in to the Biltmore Estate around mile 408. For a quick hike to an exposed mountaintop, stop in at Devil’s Courthouse at mile 422.4 (pictured). These are just a few of the many attractions along this scenic parkway.
Whether you are simply along for the ride or up for a hike, the Blue Ridge Parkway is a wonderful place for a get-a-way!