Whether you desire to experience The Blue Ridge Parkway by milepost or activity type there is so much to offer. Everything from hiking, biking, driving, camping, picnicking and the list goes on and on. The Parkway encompasses Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee. Below are just a few of my favorite stops along the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway, which is more than just a road.
Mabry Mill and Rocky Knob
Within the Virginia side you will be able to get a glimpse of the early days of settlement and how traditional mountain life was lived at Mabry Mill and Rocky Knob. Probably one of the most photographed structures on the Blue Ridge Parkway is at Mabry Mill. Originally operated as a sawmill and gristmill this stop is rich in heritage and continues to be a favorite gathering place where on most Sunday afternoons you will find a variety of dancers and musicians gathering. You will also find an assortment of exhibits ranging from the blacksmith shop to the gristmill. If hiking is your thing then take the path into Rockcastle Gorge. If you want to stay on the Blue Ridge Parkway the Rocky Knob Cabins are the only cabins available for rent on the Parkway itself. Originally built back in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps these cabins are unique and rich in history.
This is where construction of the Blue Ridge Parkway began back in 1935. Located near the Virginia state line this was the first recreation location that was opened to the public and continues to be a favorite stop for both visitors and locals alike. Plan to see a variety of wildlife, including birds, and take a tour through the visitor center. Hiking opportunities exist at Gully Creek and you will witness a range of vast open fields to lush woodlands.
James River and Otter Creek
This area presents many recreational opportunities including camping, picnicking, fishing and hiking. Otter Lake is a great location to fish for warm water species. The James River Visitor Center and Battery Creek Lock should also be on the list of places to explore at this stop. This stop represents the lowest elevation along the parkway at only 650 feet above sea level. If you enjoy hiking then be sure to take the 3.5 mile Otter Creek trail which runs between the James River Visitor Center and the Otter Creek Campground. The Kanawha Canal Lock was built from 1845 to 1851 which once completed included 90 locks that went from Richmond to Buchanan, Virginia.
Dating back to the Early European settlers this area is rich in history and located at the northern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway offering hiking trails and breathtaking scenery. The Humpback Mountain area offers visitors a variety of nineteenth century farm buildings to tour as well as a visitor center, trails, picnic grounds and interpretive exhibits.
A favorite destination for many, the Blue Ridge Parkway offers something for all ages. Be sure to take some time to explore all that this beautiful Parkway has to offer, I know you will be glad that you did!