Discover the Best Spring and Summer Drives on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Discover the Best Spring and Summer Drives on the Blue Ridge Parkway

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Discover the Best Spring and Summer Drives on the Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway, often called "America’s Favorite Drive," offers some of the most breathtaking scenic drives in the United States, especially during the spring and summer months. Stretching 469 miles through the Appalachian Mountains, from Virginia to North Carolina, this iconic route is a haven for nature lovers, photographers, and anyone looking to escape into the beauty of the great outdoors. Here are some of the best drives along the Blue Ridge Parkway during the vibrant seasons of spring and summer.

1. Peaks of Otter to James River

Starting your journey at the Peaks of Otter (Milepost 86), you’re greeted by picturesque views of the surrounding peaks and serene Abbott Lake. Springtime brings blooming wildflowers, while summer offers lush greenery. Continue north to the James River (Milepost 63.8), where the lowest point on the Parkway provides a refreshing change of scenery with its calm waters and opportunities for picnicking and leisurely walks along the river.

2. Asheville to Mount Mitchell

One of the most popular sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway runs from Asheville, North Carolina, to Mount Mitchell (Milepost 355.4). Asheville’s vibrant arts scene and culinary delights are a great starting point. As you drive north, the road climbs higher, leading you to the highest peak east of the Mississippi River, Mount Mitchell. Spring brings a tapestry of colorful rhododendrons and azaleas, while summer provides cool mountain air and panoramic views that stretch for miles.

3. Grandfather Mountain to Linville Falls

The stretch from Grandfather Mountain (Milepost 305) to Linville Falls (Milepost 316) is a must-see. Grandfather Mountain is famous for its Mile High Swinging Bridge and wildlife habitats. The drive south to Linville Falls showcases stunning vistas of rugged cliffs and dense forests. The falls themselves are a highlight, where you can hike to various viewpoints to witness the powerful cascade.

4. Craggy Gardens to Little Switzerland

Between Craggy Gardens (Milepost 364.4) and Little Switzerland (Milepost 334), the Parkway reaches some of its highest elevations. Craggy Gardens is renowned for its Catawba rhododendron blooms in late spring. The drive through this area offers cool, misty conditions in summer, a welcome respite from the heat. Little Switzerland provides quaint charm and an array of local crafts and dining options.

5. Roanoke to Mabry Mill

Heading south from Roanoke, Virginia, towards Mabry Mill (Milepost 176.1), you’ll pass through some of the Parkway’s most iconic scenery. Mabry Mill is one of the most photographed spots on the Blue Ridge Parkway, especially stunning in spring and summer when the surrounding foliage is lush and vibrant. The historic mill offers demonstrations and a glimpse into the region’s past.

Tips for Your Drive

  • Plan Ahead: Check for any road closures or maintenance updates on the official Blue Ridge Parkway website.
  • Pack Essentials: Bring water, snacks, and a map, as some areas have limited services.
  • Respect Nature: Follow Leave No Trace principles to keep the Parkway beautiful for everyone.

Spring and summer on the Blue Ridge Parkway offer unparalleled beauty and tranquility. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or simply a scenic escape, these drives promise unforgettable experiences. So, pack your bags, hit the road, and immerse yourself in the natural splendor of the Blue Ridge Parkway.


Cruisin' in the Blue Ridge Shirt - Get inspired by your drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway with our exclusive t-shirt design featuring a bear and an elk driving on the parkway.