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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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Grandfather Mountain Nature Photography Weekend

Saturday, May 30, 2015, 9:00 am

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Saturday, May 30, 2015, 10:00 am

Sidewalk Art Show

Saturday, May 30, 2015, 10:00 am

Blue Ridge Music Festival with Brad Paisley & Florida Georgia Line

Saturday, May 30, 2015, 11:00 am

17th Annual Lebanese Festival

Saturday, May 30, 2015, 11:00 am

"Yell Fire"

Saturday, May 30, 2015, 7:00 pm

Dinosaurs and the Blue Ridge Mountains

Saturday, May 30, 2015, 7:00 pm

Coyotes

Saturday, May 30, 2015, 7:00 pm

"Yell Fire"

Saturday, May 30, 2015, 7:00 pm

Tracks Music & Dance

Saturday, May 30, 2015, 7:00 pm
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Grandfather Mountain Nature Photography Weekend

Sunday, May 31, 2015, 9:00 am

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Sunday, May 31, 2015, 10:00 am

57th Annual Sidewalk Art Show

Sunday, May 31, 2015, 10:00 am

Sidewalk Art Show

Sunday, May 31, 2015, 10:00 am

17th Annual Lebanese Festival

Sunday, May 31, 2015, 11:00 am

Informal Jam on the Porch

Sunday, May 31, 2015, 2:00 pm
           

Highlights & Happenings

  • Mount Pisgah, MP 408
  • Mount Pisgah’s spectacular views, hiking trails, camping and the Mount Pisgah Inn make this area a popular destination for visitors along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The mountain and thousands of surrounding acres was originally purchased by indust
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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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