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Pisgah Region: Day Trip Sample

A one-day trip through the Pisgah District is a long drive, but comes with unique rewards. There is a natural resource emphasis that features relic populations of plants, long vistas across rugged and remote areas, and a feel of wilderness that dominates many areas. From Mount Mitchell (Milepost 355.3) to places like Craggy Gardens (Milepost 364.3) and Devil’s Courthouse (Milepost 422.2), visitors see sites and facilities that highlight the story of biological diversity as a product of the area's varied geology and topography. In the Asheville corridor, the Folk Art Center (Milepost 382) and Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center (Milepost 384) emphasize the craft heritage and the natural, cultural, and recreational resources of the Blue Ridge region.

Morning

Heading out of Spruce Pine or Little Switzerland in the morning, you will notice the number of tunnels that begin to dominate the Parkway through the rugged mountains of this part of North Carolina. Mark Crabtree Falls as a place to come back when you have time to hike the trail (2.5 miles) to this magnificent Parkway feature. At Craggy Gardens (Milepost 364.5) stop at the visitor center for great views and exhibits on the rhododendrons that blanket the mountains here, drawing visitors for generations. A short hike (.3 miles one way) leads to a shelter built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the early days of Parkway construction.

Mid-Late Afternoon

In Asheville, visit the Southern Highland Craft Guild’s Folk Art Center (Milepost 382) and the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center with film and exhibits (Milepost 384). Lunch in Asheville or head south for a picnic at Mount Pisgah or lunch at Pisgah Inn (Milepost 407.8).

Take your time as you enjoy “the top” of the Parkway with elevations consistently over 5,000 feet and topping 6,000 feet for a short distance. This is, without a doubt, the place where the Parkway feels the most like “wilderness.” At Graveyard Fields (Milepost 418.8), or Devil’s Courthouse (Milepost 422.4), stretch your legs by strolling at least a short part of trails that lead to vistas.

Late Afternoon – Early Evening

At Richland Balsam Overlook (Milepost 431.4) the Parkway tops out at 6,047 feet and many photos have been taken at the marker that signifies the elevation. At Waterrock Knob (Milepost 451.2) a panoramic view of many mountain ranges have given this place the reputation of having the best sunrise and sunsets anywhere on the Parkway. It is less than 20 miles to the end of the Parkway at Cherokee, NC for an evening of dining and experiencing the Native American culture of the Cherokee.

Highlights & Happenings

  • 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
  • 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.
  • Doughton Park, MP 240
  • The Brinegar Cabin, craft demonstrations, and diverse hiking options and make Doughton Park a must-experience destination along the Parkway.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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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