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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 new 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. FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge Parkway has an office here, and the Roanoke-based Western Virginia Land Trust promotes Parkway conservation and stewardship in our region

Area Visitor Centers

Lodging, Dining, & Things to Do

More Area Resources

Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway

Stories from Roanoke Valley Area

March 22, 2019
As the weather warms, spring fever leads many of us outside and to planning some trips. Whether an impromptu weekend getaway or looking ahead to what's happening later this season, there's no shortage of fun activities in the regions near the Parkway in spring. Read on for our break down of what's going on this season in each region of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
November 18, 2018
Spending the holidays in the Blue Ridge Mountains brings to mind cozy fireside nights under homespun quilts, a brisk family hike to find the perfect Christmas tree on the 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.
October 18, 2018
When will the leaves be at peak color this Fall along the Blue Ridge Parkway? While it would be nice if we could forecast the moment Autumn foliage will dazzle us with peak vibrancy as reliably as we track the ocean's tides, just when and why the leaves change colors is a complex array of factors far less predictable.
September 20, 2018
The Blue Ridge Parkway Association announces hiring of new Executive Director to succeed Tom Hardy, who will retire later this year.
December 27, 2017
"Amid the clutter of instruments in Barr’s Fiddle Shop on Galax’s Main Street, three guys sat playing bluegrass tunes on guitar. Sometimes, the owner Stevie Barr – a man who had played for the Queen when she visited Virginia in 2010 – would join in."
November 27, 2017
“Three days, two lanes, and one spectacular fall road trip along the South’s most storied highway. Jason Frye, accompanied by his wife,…

Recommended Itineraries

Region: Virginia
Duration:1 day
A slow-paced, one day trip from Roanoke, Virginia (Milepost 120) to the North Carolina state line (Milepost 216) is highlighted by intensive exposure to the Blue Ridge cultural landscape. The rural experience on the Parkway and on adjacent lands highlights mills, music, and agriculture, demonstrating how people have interacted with…
Region: Virginia
Duration:2 - 3 days
Ridge Region Weekend Getaway 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 the ridge-top driving experience, including magnificent views…
Region: Virginia
Duration:2 - 3 days
Parkway Weekend Getaway by R.V. A two-day trip along the Blue Ridge Plateau from Roanoke (Milepost 120) to the Virginia state line (Milepost 216) is highlighted by intensive exposure to the Blue Ridge cultural landscape. The rural experience on the Parkway and on adjacent lands highlights mills, music, and agriculture,…