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Highlands Region: Day Trip Sample

A one day trip through the Highlands reveals the shift from flat plateau to mountain ridges. Find yourself in the rolling pastures of Doughton Park (Milepost 240 – 245) or exploring the Grandfather Mountain corridor (Milepost 295 – 300) or the rugged Linville Gorge (Milepost 317). A high degree of original Parkway design remains here and you will find mountain cabins in close proximity to magnificent country estates from the early twentieth century.

Morning

Heading south through Cumberland Knob (Milepost 218), be aware that you are traveling through the first section of the Parkway to be constructed, beginning in 1935. At Brinegar Cabin (Milepost 238.5) you can make a quick stop at the mountain home where Martin and Caroline Brinegar raised their family. Depending on the season or day of the week, costumed interpreters may be demonstrating farm life. This is the only Parkway structure on the National Register of Historic Places. Continuing south, you may want to stop at the Northwest Trading Post (Milepost 258.6) for some snacks or shopping. At E.B. Jeffress Park and the Cascades (Milepost 272), take time to picnic or stroll a short ways on the trail to the Cascades waterfalls (1.2 miles total) or head across the Parkway (.5 mile trail) to the Cool Springs Baptist Church and Jesse Brown Cabin. If picnicking isn’t an option, Blowing Rock is an easy access off of the Parkway and just twenty miles down the road.

Mid – Late Afternoon

After lunch enjoy the Grandfather Mountain corridor here in North Carolina’s High Country. Along the Parkway, visit the Moses Cone Memorial Park (Milepost 294) with the Cone family’s summer resort, Flattop Manor, serving as the Parkway’s official craft center. Views off of the front porch, a system of carriage trails, and shopping are available. Julian Price Park (Milepost 297) and the beautiful Price Lake Overlook (Milepost 297) are just a few miles south. The Linn Cove Viaduct and Visitor Center (Milepost 304.4) is an opportunity to experience the Parkway’s “last link” completed in 1987.

Late Afternoon – Early Evening

Linville Falls (Milepost 317) is one of the Parkway’s busiest areas. Lying along the Linville River, the visitor center has educational items for sale and is the trailhead for short or long hikes that will take you to a variety of overlooks, giving the visitor glimpses into one of the most rugged gorges and the first national wilderness area in the east.

Fifteen miles south, the Museum of North Carolina Minerals (Milepost 331) is the place to learn about the geology of the Blue Ridge region through highly interactive, educational exhibits. A night’s stay in Spruce Pine, Linville, or Little Switzerland completes a busy day!

Highlights & Happenings

  • Folk Art Center, Milepost 382
  • Open year round, the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway showcases the finest in traditional and contemporary craft of the Southern Appalachians.
  • James River & Otter Creek, MP 60-63.8
  • At the lowest elevation along the Parkway, visitors can hike, camp, fish, have a picnic, and see restored Battery Creek Lock from the Kanawha Canal.
  • Rocky Knob & Mabry Mill, MP 169, 176.2
  • These Parkway treasures offer many opportunities for visitors including hiking, camping, picnicking, and one of the most-photographed structures along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
  • Julian Price Memorial Park, MP 297
  • Price Park is a haven for relaxation and recreation with the 47-acre Price Lake as its focal point. Visitors enjoy one of the most popular and largest picnic areas on the Parkway, along with camping, boating and fishing on Price Lake, and ample oppor
  • Craggy Gardens, MP 364
  • For generations, visitors have headed for the Craggies in June, typically the prime time for viewing the pink and purple blooms of Catawba rhododendrons that blanket much of the area.
  • Doughton Park, MP 240
  • The Brinegar Cabin, craft demonstrations, and diverse hiking options and make Doughton Park a must-experience destination along the Parkway.
  • Cumberland Knob, MP 217.5
  • Located near the Virginia state line, Cumberland Knob is the site where construction of the Blue Ridge Parkway began in 1935. It was the first recreation area opened to the public and remains a favorite destination for both locals and visitors.
  • Blue Ridge Parkway Directory & Travel Planner
  • The 68th edition of the Blue Ridge Parkway Directory & Travel Planner is your ultimate source for planning a trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains.
  • Hiking Trails
  • A journey on the Blue Ridge Parkway offers motorists spectacular views of Southern Appalachia’s diverse beauty for 469.1 uninterrupted miles.
  • Blooms & Wildlife Watching
  • Don't forget your cameras and binoculars when visiting the Blue Ridge Parkway! Learn when and where to see blooms along your journey.
  • What To Do
  • The Blue Ridge Parkway is more than a road – it is a beautiful journey that entices visitors to explore a 469-mile gateway to America’s rich cultural heritage.
  • Nearby Accommodations
  • Explore the quaint towns and vibrant cities that the Blue Ridge Parkway weaves through, and a variety of lodging choices.
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