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Pisgah Region: Weekend Trip Sample

A two-day trip through the Pisgah District 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. An overnight stay In the Asheville area reveals the charm of the Parkway’s home town. 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.

Day One

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. Crabtree Falls Trail (2.5 miles) is a strenuous hike to one of the Parkway’s best waterfalls. Mount Mitchell State Park is accessed at Milepost 355.3, with a drive up to the highest mountain east of the Mississippi at 6,684 feet. 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).

Late Afternoon - Early Evening

A visit to the Biltmore Estate is always worth the time. An overnight stay in Asheville will convince any visitor why this mountain city remains a popular tourist destination for well over a century.

Day Two

Morning

Climbing out of the Asheville area, prepare to 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.” Arrive at Mount Pisgah (Milepost 407 – 409) for lunch at the picnic area or at Pisgah Inn. If you brought good hiking boots and lots of energy, hike the trail (2.6 miles round trip) to the summit.

Mid-Late Afternoon

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

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Explore by Region
  • With 469 miles of scenic beauty, the Blue Ridge Parkway weaves through parts of Virginia and Western North Carolina to the Smokies in Tennessee.
  • Attractions, Dining & More
  • From fine arts to fun, experience the best places and activities to enhance your visit to the Blue Ridge Parkway region.
  • 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.
  • Hiking Trails
  • A journey on the Blue Ridge Parkway offers motorists spectacular views of Southern Appalachia’s diverse beauty for 469.1 uninterrupted miles.
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