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ASHEVILLE, N.C. (May 30, 2014)—Test drive your road trip.  This summer millions of travelers will set their sights on the famed Blue Ridge Parkway, traditionally the most visited unit in the National Park System.  With 469 miles of cinematic views traversing the highest peaks in the East and connecting to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway is a gateway to adventure. Navigating the only linear national park just got easier (and more inspiring) via a new interactive travel guide designed to look, move and sound like a journey on the Blue Ridge Parkway:

Explorers of the blue ridge parkway

Discovering America's Favorite Scenic Drive 

Top hikes, sweeping vistas, historic dramas, wildflower hunting tips and wildlife adventures:  See the Blue Ridge Parkway through the eyes of the people who love it and know it best.  Explorers of the Blue Ridge Parkway offers summer travel inspiration and practical tips, illustrated and made accessible through the stories and histories of seven "explorers" who serve as guides.

Included in Explorers of the Blue Ridge Parkway: 

3 amazing blue ridge parkway itineraries

  • Views & Ventures:  Race mountaintop-to-mountaintop on an epic new tour and scale the East's top peak
  • Culture & Curves:  Explore storied cultural treasures and mountain folk legacies, then enjoy an iconic waterfall
  • Wildflowers, Waterfalls & Wildlife:  Bring a camera and field guide to hunt for elk, black bear and elusive orchids

Parkway travel packages

New summer travel packages for adventures on the Blue Ridge Parkway include a gourmet picnic fit for a picture perfect overlook, topographic map and boutique hotel backdrop; falconry (hiking with a hawk!) and star gazing at a remote mountain lodge; and expert hiking recommendations with survival-ready day packs at a historic bed and breakfast.

Blue RIdge Parkway - By the numbers

Born of the desire to support the Appalachian region's climb out of the Great Depression through the creation of a "museum of the American countryside," this elongated park is unique in the National Park System, traversing peaks, ridges and valleys of five major mountain ranges.

  • 469 miles long
  • 16 peaks above 5,000 feet
  • 382 overlooks
  • 26 tunnels and 176 bridges
  • 369 miles of hiking trails
  • 91 historic buildings

* Resource: Blue Ridge Parkway Summary of the General Management Plan, National Park Service, October 2013 


basecamp asheville

More travelers get on and off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Asheville than anywhere else along the scenic road.  Home to George W. Vanderbilt's legacy, Biltmore, and encircled by the loftiest mountains in the Appalachians, the Asheville area makes for a vibrant and stylish basecamp with 250 independent restaurants, 19 craft breweries, an engaging art and music scene, the region's top outdoor adventure outfitters and excursion outposts, and myriad accommodations from cozy inns to historic mountainside lodges.

Along the Asheville portion are some of the Parkway's most popular attractions:  Become immersed in the area's natural heritage through colorful gardens, trails and exhibits at the North Carolina Arboretum (milepost 393) or witness the rich mountain craft traditions still alive today at the Folk Art Center (milepost 382).  The Blue Ridge Parkway Destination Center in Asheville (milepost 384) offers historical context and high-tech trip planning via the interactive I-Wall map.  More Blue Ridge Parkway travel planning inspiration, itineraries and packages at