Pull Up a Tent: Camp on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Fall camping on Price Lake Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, NC.
There's great camping all along the 469-miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway, starting with the Parkway's own campgrounds.

As Time Nears To Hit The Appalachian Trail, Some Stats For Thru-Hikers To Keep in Mind

With an eye on the prize, this year's crop of would-be Appalachian Trail thru-hikers are getting ready to hit the trail. With that in mind, here are some stats, courtesy of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, to help them stay focused.

Ranking The National Parks By Visitation In 2011

People seem to like numbers, and hierarchy, so here's a rundown of the leading units of the National Park System in terms of 2011 visitation. The first list combs through all 397 units in the system, while the second looks only at "national parks."

Walking to Rattlesnake Lodge on the Blue Ridge Parkway

BLRI - Cistern at Rattlesnake Lodge
At the time when most of the Blue Ridge Parkway seems closed in North Carolina, you can take a delightful, short hike on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail to Rattlesnake Lodge. You'll see the many remains of the summer home of Chase Ambler.

Winter Closure to Interrupt Two Portions of Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway tunnel in winter.
Repairs to two Blue Ridge Parkway tunnels will interdict the high road from mid-February through mid-April between Asheville and Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

TRACK Trails Offer Nationwide Weapon Against “Nature Deficit Disorder”

A new grant appears likely to popularize outdoor education and exercise for families with national franchising of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation's TRACK Trails concept.

Blue Ridge Parkway Digital History Now Online

A new Web site rounds up remarkable visual resources about the history of the most popular unit of America's National Park System.

We've Added The Blue Ridge Parkway To Our Collection of Essential Park Guides

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a globally recognized icon of the American landscape. Stretches of road elsewhere in the United States may indeed be spectacular, but nothing matches this manicured, uniquely uncommercialized, half a thousand mile thoroughfare through the lofty heart of America’s first frontier.

Blue Ridge Parkway

Moses Cone Park, Blowing Rock, North Carolina. Photo by Randy Johnson


The Blue Ridge Parkway is a globally recognized icon of the American landscape.

Stretches of road elsewhere in the United States may indeed be spectacular, but nothing matches this manicured, uniquely uncommercialized, half a thousand mile thoroughfare through the lofty heart of America’s first frontier.

Trails We Hiked During 2011

We managed to get out on some national park trails during 2011 -- not as many as we'd like, but still a few that brought smiles to our faces. Here's a look back at those trails.

Winter: A “Secret Season” in the South’s Loftiest National Parks

When the snow closure signs go up on portions of the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, and the Great Smoky Mountains, cross country skiers and snowshoers are often seen striding and stomping into a winter wonderland.

NPS to Package Three Lodges on the Blue Ridge Parkway Under One Concessions Contract

The National Park Service recently announced that it would package the Blue Ridge Parkway concessions operation for lodging, retail, and food and beverage visitor services for Peaks of Otter Lodge, Bluffs Lodge, and Rocky Knob Cabins under a single prospectus expected to be released in April 2012.

Grant Will Rehabilitate Boone Fork Trail Portion of Mountains-to-Sea Trail on Blue Ridge Parkway

A $75,000 grant from the North Carolina Recreation Trails Program will fund rehabilitation and improvement of one the most popular trails in Julian Price Memorial Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Fears Rise That Congress Could Open More Units Of National Park System to Hunting

Few units of the National Park System are open to hunting, but there are fears that legislation now working its way through Congress could clear the way for hunting across dozens of parks in the system.

License Tag Law Threatens Support for Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Blue Ridge Parkway and Appalachian National Scenic Trail

License tag money has helped support national parks in North Carolina for over a decade. But a new law enacted by the Republican legislature will decrease the amount of money that will go to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.

Blue Ridge Parkway Management Alternatives Draw More Than A Little Debate

The first-ever management plan for the Blue Ridge Parkway treads a fine line between two forces park managers have juggled for the 76-year history of the high road—the economic development aspirations of adjacent communities and the need to ensure the integrity of a “national park” that’s 469-miles long and a half-mile wide.

NPCA Report Paints Somber Portrait Of An Underfunded National Park Service

America is abundantly rich in the "natural assets" found within the National Park System, but inadequate funding by Congress is threatening the core health of that system, according to the National Parks Conservation Association.

Four Men Given Jail Time For Digging Up Gingseng In Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Jail terms ranging from 15 days to 120 days were handed to four men convicted of digging ginseng in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Stretches Of Blue Ridge Parkway To Be Closed For Months For Work on Historic Guardrails

Planning to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway in the months to come? Be sure to bring your roadmap, as construction work along three stretches in North Carolina will impede your progress.
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Joshua Tree National Park Abandons General Management Plan Revision, Blue Ridge Parkway Proceeding With Its GMP

While Joshua Tree National Park officials have abandoned efforts to revise their long-range General Management Plan, preferring instead to focus on specific issues, Blue Ridge Parkway officials are moving ahead with their own GMP.

Backroads and Byways – Balsam Mountain Road in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

If you're looking for an alternative to the more heavily-traveled roads in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, here's a great option for the fall color season, or for a late spring or summer drive next year: the Balsam Mountain Road.

Colors Peaking In The National Parks Across The Country

With mid-October practically here, the fall colors are really starting to put on their best in many national parks, places like Shenandoah, Great Smoky Mountains, Olympic, and Acadia.

Spend Your October Weekends Visiting Mabry Mill Along the Blue Ridge Parkway

If you live close to the Blue Ridge Parkway, you might consider visiting Mabry Mill on weekends this month to enjoy programs ranging from making apple butter to basket-making demonstrations.

Fall Color Without the Crowds at the Great Smoky Mountains or the Blue Ridge Parkway?

Both Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway are justly famous for their fall color—and a flood of mid-October visitors. Can you avoid the heavy traffic and still enjoy some autumn foliage by timing your visit a bit earlier? Here's a Traveler trip report.

New Section Of Historic Trail Approved Along Blue Ridge Parkway

More than 200 years ago hundreds of patriot militia on horseback crossed the Blue Ridge Mountains to play a role in the battle at Kings Mountain. This week that section of trail will be officially certified as part of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail.

Easy Park Hikes – Bass Lake Trail Along the Blue Ridge Parkway

The busiest weeks for the Blue Ridge Parkway—fall color season—are almost here. If a drive along the scenic roadway is on your calendar, here's a fine stop for an easy walk to stretch your legs and enjoy the view at a slower pace.

$701,000 Grant Helps Kids Learn More About National, State and Local Parks

A $701,000 grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation will help kids learn more about, and get more enjoyment out of, local, state, and national parks in North Carolina.

Statewide North Carolina Trail Nearly Completed on the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Video

Despite a very rainy Saturday that could have changed the BIG DIG into the BIG DELUGE, the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail attracted volunteers from across North Carolina and came very close to finishing the Blue Ridge Parkway portion of the trail from the Great Smokies to the Outer Banks.