When it comes to scenic destinations in the southeastern region of the U.S., the Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most well known. Dubbed “America’s Favorite Drive,” the Parkway stretches from Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley to the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee to Asheville’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Keep reading, and we’ll show you how to plan the perfect road trip! Once you reach your final destination in our mountain town of Chimney Rock, NC, discover the best places to refuel in our free Western North Carolina Vacation Guide. Our local guide is full of recommendations on hiking trails, waterfalls, rivers, and more so that you can spend less time planning and more time exploring.
How to Plan the Perfect Trip on The Blue Ridge Parkway
Where to Get Started
The Blue Ridge Parkway stretches more than 250 miles. Along this road, you’ll pass gorgeous overlooks, hiking trails, swimming holes, and more. The route begins in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but is accessible from multiple mileposts. If you’re in the Asheville area, you can access the parkway from U.S. 70 East at milepost 382 and at milepost 392 on NC Highway 19. Because reception in the mountains often goes in and out, we recommend printing a map in advance. The Blue Ridge Parkway Association is a great resource for maps, roads conditions, and travel tips.
Notable Pit Stops
Once you begin traveling down those beautiful mountain roads, you’ll quickly fall in love with the drive and all the stunning sights along the way. During your trip, don’t miss these popular attractions and activities!
- Linn Cove Viaduct – Milepost 304.4 | The Linn Cove Viaduct is a 7.5-mile section of the parkway that is an engineering feat. Completed in 1983, the viaduct is 1,243 feet long and contains 153 segments, weighing 50 tons each.
- Grandfather Mountain – Milepost 305 | This iconic NC mountain offers hiking trails and stunning views.
- Crabtree Falls – Milepost 339.5 | Take a 3.5 mile hike to a beautiful 70-foot waterfall known as Crabtree Falls. This is a great spot for a photo op.
- Mount Mitchell – Milepost 355.4 | Mount Mitchell is the tallest mountain east of the Mississippi River and a must for any serious hiker.
- Craggy Gardens Visitor Center – Milepost 364.4 | Craggy Gardens is the perfect place to stop for a picnic. The gardens offer a leisurely hike for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages.
- Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center – Milepost 384 | This fascinating visitor center will tell you everything you need to know about the parkway. You’ll also find a theater and gift shop!
Mountain Cabins in the Heart of Chimney Rock
After a beautiful day spent cruising the Blue Ridge Parkway, head home to The Esmeralda Inn & Restaurant. Our inn is surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains and is an ideal home base for all of your adventures. When you book any of our lovely cabins, like the Rocky Broad River Cabin, you can always look forward to the best amenities, vacation packages, and top-notch service. Complimentary gourmet breakfast, spa services, dinner at our award-winning restaurant, and access to our spacious outdoor hot tub are a few perks to enjoy during your stay.