Time to hit the road! And the trail!
This trail-oriented road trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway takes you between Great Smoky Mountains and Shenandoah National Parks during an almost secret season—the explosive beauty and bounty of Appalachian Spring (check out this article).
Don't think so? Check out this video.
Our road trip leaves the area of Shenandoah National Park and drives "south with the Mileposts," from MP 0 in Rockfish Gap west of Charlottesville on Intersate 64, all the way to MP 469 at Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Cherokee.
Throughout the video, location names and milepost numbers appear so jot down your favorites.
On the way the video highlights great spring hikes at major recreational areas of the Parkway, such as Humpback Rocks, around MP 5. North of Roanoke, you'll see trail options at Otter Creek, James River, and Peaks of Otter.
South of Roanoke, Mabry Mill is featured. Across the state line in North Carolina, hikers head to remote Caudill Cabin for a thunderous welcome. Farther south towards Boone, Jeffress Park features the Cascades Trail and great log cabin interpretation.
The riches of the High Country area are featured, from Moses Cone and Julian Price Parks (including Price Lake Trail), to Grandfather Mountain, and the Flatrock Nature Trail just beyond.
Then you'll take trails to Applachian icons Crabtree Falls and the summit of Mount Mitchell. The Parkway's meadow covered mountaintops arrive next, at the great views of Craggy Gardens.
Dive down to energetic Asheville, then soar south over Richland Balsam (Parkway's highest point) and Waterrock Knob to the high road's terminus at the Smokies.
It's a long trip in a short time—just 4 minutes or so!