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Blue Ridge Parkway F.A.Q.

Q: Where does the Blue Ridge Parkway start and end?
A: The Blue Ridge Parkway connects Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, stretching 469 miles from Rockfish Gap, VA to Cherokee, NC. Visitors can see the route and the many places to get on and off (access points) on our interactive map.

Q: How do I get to the Parkway?
A: Google Maps recognizes Blue Ridge Parkway North Entrance and Blue Ridge Parkway – South End as the two ends of the Parkway, but it will not route you along the Parkway because it is a slow, scenic route. You can navigate to these points to get to the North or South ends of the Parkway, though.

Q: Can I have a wedding or meeting/event on the Blue Ridge Parkway?
A: 
See Permits & Reservations

Q: When are Visitor Centers, campgrounds and Parkway facilities open?
A:
 Explore seasonal openings, closings and hours.

Q: Where can I find the latest information on Parkway detours and closings?
A:
The most up to date closing information about the Blue Ridge Parkway can be accessed on the NPS closure chart.

Q: Can tour buses travel on the Blue Ridge Parkway?
A: 
Yes – no special permits are required. Please review the tunnel clearance information.

Q: Can large RVs travel the Parkway?
A: 
Yes. Explore the list of all tunnel clearances on the Parkway.

Q: Is parking adequate for large RVs and buses at Parkway scenic views and attractions?
A: 
Yes, but some areas have easier access and bigger parking lots than others.

Q: Is the Blue Ridge Parkway open in winter?
A: 
Subject to snow and ice. Refer to the NPS website for the most current conditions.

Q: What is the speed limit on the Parkway?
A: 
Maximum is 45 miles per hour, with some locations (in congested areas such as Mabry Mill) at 35 miles per hour.

Q: Why are there no white lines on the sides of the road?
A: This is a part of the design of the road itself and allows it to retain a rural feel and blend into the landscape. It is one of the touches that make this road beautiful. The landscape architects maintain this design and it meets federal safety standards.

Q: Do Parkway campgrounds take reservations?
A: 
Yes, some sites can be reserved at www.recreation.gov or toll free at (877) 444-6777. Some sites at every NPS campground along the Parkway are first-come first-serve, so you aren’t required to have a reservation. But if you have a longer vehicle, it may be harder to find a suitable campsite, especially on a weekend, so reservations are recommended.

Q: Do Parkway campgrounds accommodate RVs?
A: 
Yes, but water, electrical and sewage connections are not available. Centralized water and restrooms are available at open Parkway campgrounds.

Q: Can I camp along the Parkway or at an overlook?
A: The only place along the Parkway that you can primitive camp without a permit is along the Appalachian Trail from Rockfish Gap (MP 0) to Dripping Rock (MP 9.6). Other overnight camping is only permissible at the eight Parkway campgrounds. More information is available on our camping page.

Q: Are there any gas stations on the Parkway?
A: 
Not directly on the Parkway. Gas is available not far off the Parkway at most U.S. or State Highway Intersections. Explore our updated list of nearby gas stations.

Q: Does the Appalachian Trail run parallel to the Parkway at any point?
A: 
Yes. In Virginia, North of Roanoke.

Q: Where can I get information and brochures about traveling on the Parkway?
A: 
The Blue Ridge Parkway Association prints and provides these free of charge. The Blue Ridge Parkway Travel Planner and the Blue Ridge Parkway Map brochure are included in a free information packet. You can also request motorcycling information and brochures from a number of area tourism agencies and attractions by completing the form here.

Q: Can Parkway Rangers make an arrest or issue a citation?
A: 
Yes.

Q: How can I learn about local history along the Parkway?
A:
You can purchase Parkway-related materials online, via telephone by calling (828) 299-3507,  or the largest selection of materials is available at any open Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center. Operating dates and hours are available on the NPS website.

Q: How can I find out what there is to see and do along the Parkway?
A: 
Explore our Lodging, Dining & Things to Do section or peruse the Blue Ridge Parkway Travel Planner.

Q: Is it alright to pull over on the grass beside the Parkway and spread a blanket for a picnic?
A: 
The NPS prefers that visitors park in paved parking lots and overlooks rather than along the road shoulder as roadside parking damages park resources such as pavement edges and vegetation. Vehicles should be fully off of the road (and not blocking a gate) so they can be entered and exited without impeding the flow of traffic. Driving vehicles across open fields is prohibited. Please be respectful and do not park in wet areas or on the grass.

Q: Can I leave my car parked overnight at an overlook or visitor center?
A: Yes, but you must first notify Parkway Dispatch at 828-298-2491 so your vehicle is not considered abandoned. We recommend that you choose a visible location, cover your valuables, lock your vehicle, and use caution.

Q: What is a National Park Pass?
A: 
An annual pass available for $80 allows free entry to any National Park Service area with a fee. Anyone age 62 and over can purchase a Senior or Access Pass (annual or lifetime) which allows free entry into Parks with an entrance fee and often provides a 50% reduction for camping and other user fees. There is no fee to access the Blue Ridge Parkway, however, National Park Service Campgrounds along the Parkway do require a fee. Visitors with the Interagency Senior or Access Pass (or former Golden Age or Golden Access Passports) pay a reduced camping fee. More information on passes.

Q: Where can I get a National Park Pass in the Asheville area?

A: Passes (senior, military, annual, etc.) are only available at the campgrounds along the Parkway, not at the visitor centers. The closest campground to Asheville where passes may be purchased is Mt. Pisgah (828-648-2644). Parkway campgrounds are only open May through October. Other sites in North Carolina also offer the passes. We recommend that you call in advance to ensure they have the pass you’d like, verify hours, and confirm any documentation that you need to bring with you to secure the pass.

 

Q: What is The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation?
A: 
Founded in 1997, this nonprofit foundation is the primary fundraising organization for the Parkway. It solicits donations and bequests from individuals, as well as grants and corporate support for a broad range of programs and activities that provide lasting benefits to the Parkway and its visitors. Contributions to the Foundation are tax deductible. For information about Foundation activities, including its estate giving program, write to Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, 717 S. Marshall St, Suite 105B, Winston-Salem, NC 27101, call (866) 308-2773 or visit www.brpfoundation.org.

Q: Who are FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge?
A: 
FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge is a non-profit, volunteer, and membership organization dedicated to protecting and preserving the Blue Ridge region. Members financially support FRIENDS programs. FRIENDS chapters are community-based organizations that empower and coordinate volunteers, projects, and events in their local areas. We extend our reach by working with local and regional government, common-minded nonprofits, clubs, and other organizations. For more information, please visit www.friendsbrp.org or call (540) 772-2992.

Q: Is bicycling allowed on the Parkway?
A: 
Yes, bicycling is allowed on the roadway itself, though no biking is permitted on trails. Because the Blue Ridge Parkway was designed for motor travel, bicyclists should exercise caution, have reflectors, and riders should wear high visibility clothing and helmets. Avoid the Blue Ridge Parkway during fog and periods of low visibility. Long distance travelers should plan their overnight stays and be sure to have plenty of water and food. More information for bicyclists is available here.

Q: Do all of those things apply to Skyline Drive as well?
A: 
Yes. But Skyline Drive (and Shenandoah National Park) has an entrance fee. And some backcountry camping is available. Contact the park at (540) 999-3500 for details.

Q: Can we bury our pet along the Blue Ridge Parkway?
A:
 No. National Park Service regulations prohibit pet burials on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Recommend checking the city nearest where you usually visited the Parkway for pet burial information so you could locate an appropriate location close to that city or town.

Q: When is the best time to see fall color along the Parkway?
A: We recommend mid to late October, but it depends on your elevation and location. More information is available on our Fall Color page and our Story From the Road with tips on Finding Fall Color.

For additional general Parkway information or questions not answered here, call (828) 298-0398 or visit www.nps.gov/blri. To have printed information mailed to you, visit our maps page.