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Biodiversity Along the Parkway

Millions of visitors enjoy the Blue Ridge Parkway each year. Some think of it as just a motor road or a pleasant drive. But the Parkway is also a place of varied and significant natural resources.

Spanning the southern and central Appalachians, the Blue Ridge Parkway offers an exceptional glimpse of the regional flora and fauna. It is world renowned for its diversity.

The Parkway covers a wide range of habitats along the Appalachian Mountains, and some of these habitats are exceptionally rare. Visitors encounter unsurpassed diversity of climate and vegetation as well as geological features.

The wide range in elevation offers a tremendous variety of wildflowers during spring, summer, and fall months. While the summer wildflowers are blooming in the valleys, the spectacular spring wildflowers are just beginning to bloom on the high peaks.

The same environmental variability that leads to such spectacular bloom displays in the spring and summer also contributes to autumn leaf color. Throughout the month of October the leaf color changes gradually, beginning in the high mountains and concluding at the lower slopes and valleys.

Not to be outdone by the plants, many species of animals make their homes along the Parkway. A Parkway visit may seem incomplete without the glimpses of white tailed deer, wild turkey, and perhaps a chance to see the elusive black bear.

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Upstairs Tours at Cone Manor

Wednesday, July 29, 2015, 10:00 am

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Wednesday, July 29, 2015, 10:00 am

Mid-Day Mountain Music

Wednesday, July 29, 2015, 12:00 pm

"Gypsy"

Wednesday, July 29, 2015, 2:00 pm
30

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Thursday, July 30, 2015, 10:00 am

Mid-Day Mountain Music

Thursday, July 30, 2015, 12:00 pm

"Gypsy"

Thursday, July 30, 2015, 2:00 pm

Peak Perfection Vintner Dinner

Thursday, July 30, 2015, 6:00 pm

Marion Mountain Music

Thursday, July 30, 2015, 7:00 pm
31

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Friday, July 31, 2015, 10:00 am

Dinosaur Train™

Friday, July 31, 2015, 11:00 am

Mid-Day Mountain Music

Friday, July 31, 2015, 12:00 pm

Summer Art for Kids

Friday, July 31, 2015, 1:00 pm

"Gypsy"

Friday, July 31, 2015, 2:00 pm

Woody's Original Mountain Music

Friday, July 31, 2015, 7:00 pm

Black Light Nighttime Underground Mine Tour

Friday, July 31, 2015, 9:00 pm
 

Highlights & Happenings

  • Blue Ridge Music Center
  • The Blue Ridge Music Center is a state-of-the-art performing arts facility built to preserve and promote the historic music of Virginia and the Blue Ridge. The Blue Ridge region has produced more old-time and bluegrass musicians per capita than any o
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. The m
  • Waterrock Knob, MP 451.2
  • An ideal spot for watching sunrise and sunsets across the rugged mountains, Waterrock Knob Visitor Center sits at almost 6,000 feet elevation. Exhibits, book sales, and a trail leading to the summit of Waterrock Knob await visitors. The last hik
  • Craggy Gardens, MP 364
  • These high elevation summits are home to spectacular floral displays. June and July are usually prime times to view the pink and purple blooms of rhododendron, but don’t despair if you miss the peak bloom. Violets, blackberry, May-apple, a
  • 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.
  • Civil War Sesquicentennial
  • 2015 marks the 150th year anniversary of when the last shot east of the Mississippi was fired during the Civil War, which rang out in present-day Waynesville.
  • Parkway Road Conditions
  • An open Parkway is a safe Parkway. Be sure to check road conditions online or by phone before you travel and during your visit.
  • Hiking Trails
  • A journey on the Blue Ridge Parkway offers motorists spectacular views of Southern Appalachia’s diverse beauty for 469.1 uninterrupted miles.
  • Blue Ridge Parkway Directory & Travel Planner
  • The 66th edition of the Blue Ridge Parkway Directory & Travel Planner is your ultimate source for planning a trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains.
  • Camping
  • Camping is one way visitors traveling through the Blue Ridge Parkway can spend the night under the stars in one of America’s most beautiful natural settings.
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