No trip to the mountains would be complete without a scenic tour of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Travel north from Asheville on America's favorite drive and you will eventually discover Craggie Gardens and Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi. Many of the trails in this area offer gorgeous mountain vistas and a diverse collection of plantlife making for the perfect day hike. Currently the rhododendron is flowering as well as a large number of other native Appalachian flora and fauna such as the Indian Paintbrush shown below. Begin your journey at the Craggie Gardens Visitor Center on milepost 364.6.