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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.

Calendar

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Take A Child Outside Week (TaCO)/Family Campout

Friday, August 28, 2015, 6:00 pm

Fall Migration Bird Hike

Friday, August 28, 2015, 8:00 am

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Friday, August 28, 2015, 10:00 am

Mid-Day Mountain Music

Friday, August 28, 2015, 12:00 pm

Woody's Original Mountain Music

Friday, August 28, 2015, 7:00 pm
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Take A Child Outside Week (TaCO)/Family Campout

Saturday, August 29, 2015, 6:00 pm

Railroad Heritage Weekend

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Music in the Mountains Concert Series

Saturday, June 6, 2015, 6:30 pm

Upstairs Tour of Cone Manor

Saturday, August 29, 2015, 10:00 am

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Saturday, August 29, 2015, 10:00 am

Mid-Day Mountain Music

Saturday, August 29, 2015, 12:00 pm

The Blue Ridge Music Center Presents Steep Canyon Rangers with Mountain Park Old Time Band

Saturday, August 29, 2015, 7:00 pm

Tracks Music & Dance

Saturday, August 29, 2015, 7:00 pm

Saturday Night Square Dances

Saturday, August 29, 2015, 8:00 pm
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Take A Child Outside Week (TaCO)/Family Campout

Sunday, August 30, 2015, 6:00 pm

Railroad Heritage Weekend

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Upstairs Tours at Cone Manor

Sunday, August 30, 2015, 10:00 am

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Sunday, August 30, 2015, 10:00 am

Mid-Day Mountain Music

Sunday, August 30, 2015, 12:00 pm

Informal Jam on the Porch

Sunday, August 30, 2015, 2:00 pm
31

Take A Child Outside Week (TaCO)/Family Campout

Monday, August 31, 2015, 6:00 pm

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Monday, August 31, 2015, 10:00 am

Mid-Day Mountain Music

Monday, August 31, 2015, 12:00 pm
         

Highlights & Happenings

  • Parkway Visitor Center, MP 384
  • Visitors traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway can now make one stop to learn about the entire 469 miles and 73-year history of the Parkway. The Parkway Visitor Center opened in 2008 and unveiled innovative, high-tech interactive exhibits. The LEED-certif
  • Julian Price Memorial Park, MP 297
  • A majestic 4,200 acres at the foot of Grandfather Mountain, named in honor of Julian Price, comprises this popular park and lies directly adjacent to the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park. Together these parks make up the largest developed area set as
  • Moses H. Cone Park, MP 294
  • A majestic 4,200 acres at the foot of Grandfather Mountain, named in honor of Julian Price, lies directly adjacent to the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park. Together these parks comprise the largest developed area set aside for public recreati
  • 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
  • Doughton Park, MP 240
  • Renew your senses amid this landscape of open meadows. Doughton Park is one of the best places along the Blue Ridge Parkway to view white-tailed deer, raccoons, red and grey foxes, and bobcats.  Flowers burst on the scene in late spring and crea
  • Humpback Rocks, MP 5.8
  • At the northern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Humpback Rocks is perhaps the best representation of the varied combination of natural and cultural resources anywhere along the Parkway corridor. Visitors can tour a collection of nineteenth century far
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Hiking Trails
  • A journey on the Blue Ridge Parkway offers motorists spectacular views of Southern Appalachia’s diverse beauty for 469.1 uninterrupted miles.
  • 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.
  • Attractions, Dining, Shopping & More
  • From fine arts to fun, experience the best places and activities to enhance your visit to the Blue Ridge Parkway region.
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