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About Roanoke Valley Area

Roanoke is the largest metropolitan area along the Blue Ridge Parkway and combines small-city charm with big-city amenities. A well-traveled crossroads since colonial times, the coming of the Norfolk & Western Railway in 1882 sparked the region’s development as southwest Virginia’s commercial and cultural hub.

The city’s thriving downtown is anchored by its Historic Farmers Market, where vendors sell everything from fresh produce and garden plants to arts and crafts all year long. This National Register district also enjoys a lively cultural scene, featuring myriad unique retail shops and galleries, a variety of international restaurants, the ever-popular Center in the Square that houses several museums, and the exciting Taubman Museum of Art.

Roanoke served as an early headquarters for the development of the Parkway. In a building downtown, field supervisor Stanley Abbott coordinated a team of experts in preservation, landscaping, engineering, cultural interpretation, and other disciplines who brought their skills to bear on the Parkway’s design and construction. In addition, the Appalachian building styles around Roanoke helped influence the look of new structures created to serve the Parkway.

Today, Roanoke offers several access points to the Parkway from Milepost 110 to Milepost 121, including the spur from the Parkway to Mill Mountain at Milepost 120, completed around 1970. In the 1980s the City got behind the Explore Park Project as a way to better connect with Parkway travelers. Explore Park‘s visitor center is a valuable resource and the Roanoke-based Western Virginia Land Trust promotes Parkway conservation and stewardship in the region.

The Town of Vinton borders Roanoke.  Here, you can experience small-town charm right off the Blue Ridge Parkway, including shopping, restaurants, festivals, events and museums.

Stories from Roanoke Valley Area

November 18, 2021
Spending the holidays in the Blue Ridge Mountains brings to mind cozy fireside nights under homespun quilts, a brisk family outing to find the perfect Christmas tree on a local farm, and the very the best slopes for skiing and sledding. We've rounded up all this and more in our guide to festive winter fun in the communities along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
November 11, 2021
There are many places in the Blue Ridge region where you can snag a prime fishing spot if you know where to look and what regulations to follow.
September 16, 2021
Virginia's creative and sometimes whimsical LOVEworks are a wonderful photo opportunity. Why not start a new tradition and make some family memories finding and photographing a few LOVE signs while enjoying the out of doors this year?
August 23, 2021
When will the Parkway's leaves change to their wardrobe of fall colors? Read on for travel tips to aid in planning your fall trip to the Blue Ridge region.
June 17, 2021
Many activities in the regions surrounding the Blue Ridge Parkway are available year-round for free. Special events, hiking, live music, volunteering and lots more are included in this article.
February 24, 2021
A drive along the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway is literally a trip through time. But there’s lots more history and heritage to experience along the Parkway beside the route itself. But there’s lots more history and heritage to experience along the Parkway beside the route itself.
January 25, 2021
The last Tuesday in January is National Plan for Vacation Day. Academic research shows that trip planning and anticipation bring positive effects. Here are some tips for planning your upcoming Parkway travels.
December 31, 2020
When high elevation nighttime temperatures dip below freezing, sections of the Parkway may be closed due to ice and snow. The roadway is not plowed or salted so closed areas become wonderful winter playgrounds for pedestrians, cyclists, skiers and snowshoers alike.
December 4, 2020
Many of the businesses along the Blue Ridge Parkway remain open year-round and offer such eclectic merchandise that you can shop for everyone on your holiday gift list from the comfort of your home and have the gifts delivered to your door or directly to the recipient.
October 14, 2020
These routes offer sites worth visiting that promise to tickle your taste buds, enthrall your eyes and enchant your ears. There are tours, routes and trails to suit every traveler, taste, and location from Tennessee to Virginia.

Recommended Itineraries

Region: Virginia
Duration:1 day
A slow-paced day trip from Afton Mountain and Rockfish Gap (Milepost 0) to the Peaks of Otter (Milepost 86) will highlight the ridgetop driving experience of the Ridge region with magnificent views of the flora and fauna of Appalachian hardwood forests and sweeping vistas of the Great Valley of Virginia.
Region: Virginia
Duration:1 day
A slow-paced, one day trip from Roanoke, Virginia (Milepost 120) South to the North Carolina state line (Milepost 216) is highlighted by intensive exposure to the Blue Ridge cultural landscape. The rural experience on the Plateau Region of the Parkway and on adjacent lands highlights mills, music, and agriculture, demonstrating how people have interacted with the landscape over time.
Region: Virginia
Duration:2 - 3 days
A two-day trip from Afton Mountain and Rockfish Gap (Milepost 0) to the Peaks of Otter (Milepost 86) and on to Roanoke, the largest metropolitan area on the Parkway, offers plenty of time to experience this region and highlight hiking, including magnificent views of the flora and fauna of Appalachian hardwood forests and sweeping vistas of the Great Valley of Virginia.
Region: Virginia
Duration:2 - 3 days
A two-day trip along from Roanoke (Milepost 120) South to the Virginia state line (Milepost 216) is highlighted by intensive exposure to the Blue Ridge cultural landscape. The rural experience on the Plateau Region of the Parkway and on adjacent lands highlights mills, music, and agriculture, demonstrating how people have interacted with the landscape over time. The opportunity to camp overnight in two iconic Blue Ridge towns will make this a memorable visit.