Blue Ridge Parkway
Experience America's Favorite Drive
Home > What To Do > Blooms & Wildlife Watching > Interacting With Wildlife & Plants
Decrease Text Size Increase Text Size Email This Page Print This Page Bookmark This Page

Interacting With Wildlife & Plants

The Blue Ridge Parkway is more than a road - it's a journey! Make a difference during your visit on behalf of the plant and wildlife species by observing the following tips:

  • The best diet for all animals is a natural one. Human food can make any wild animal sick. The digestive system of a white tail deer, common around campgrounds and picnic areas, only breaks down the natural food sources including twigs, bark, leaves, grasses and acorns. Wild animals like the taste of human food, but for their safety and health, do not feed them.
  • The Parkway has unique habitats that support rare and endangered plants and animals. Many of these plants are threatened by foot traffic. The problem can be alleviated by the simple practice of staying on the trail. There are several especially sensitive areas, including the Tanawha Trail around Grandfather Mountain, the Craggy Pinnacle Trail at Craggy Gardens, and at Devil’s Courthouse. Whether you suspect the presence of rare plants or not, please stay on the trail – if for no other reason than to protect all plants and to prevent erosion.
  • Rabies can be transmitted by most wild animals. Animals in the park should not be treated as pets or lured close enough to feed or touch. If a squirrel, chipmunk, or other animal comes close without your encouragement, it could be a sign of serious illness, please tell a ranger.
  • All plants on the Parkway are protected. Many of our native wildflowers in the Blue Ridge are threatened by illegal harvesting. The large, round, shiny evergreen leaves of Galax have been gathered commercially in the southern Appalachian mountains for generations for decorative uses in floral arrangements. Now harvested on a much larger scale, they are being shipped to flower shops around the world.

Highlights & Happenings

  • Peaks of Otter, MP 86
  • With stunning views, natural beauty, and the surrounding Jefferson National Forest, it’s no wonder the Peaks of Otter area has attracted people to the region for more than 8,000 years.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Moses H. Cone Park, MP 294
  • Today the manor and the entire estate are one of the most heavily used areas along the Parkway and home to the Parkway Craft Center. Carriage roads are popular for hiking, horseback riding and cross-country skiing, especially by residents of the Boon
  • 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.
  • Mount Pisgah, MP 408
  • Mount Pisgah’s spectacular views, hiking trails, picnic area, campground, lodge, restaurant, and country store make this area a popular destination for visitors along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
  • Parkway Visitor Center, MP 384
  • Watch an orientation video and learn how to make the most of your visit to the Parkway and region at this visitor center. View exhibits featuring the unique Parkway design and construction, the natural and cultural history, and recreational opportuni
  • 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.
Contact | Press | Sitemap | Mobile

© 2017 Blue Ridge Parkway Association, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
P.O. Box 2136, Asheville, NC 28802-2136
webmaster@blueridgeparkway.org
Web Design by BlueKey in Charleston, SC