Gary Everhardt: The “Right Man at the Right Time” on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Nations everywhere name buildings to honor pivotal figures, the people whose contributions form the foundation on which the future stands. We all see such structures, but it’s rare to wander the halls of one with the person whose name is chiseled on the plaque and attached to the boulder out front -- especially when it’s the headquarters of the most visited unit of the National Park system.

Traveler's Checklist: Doughton Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway

As I cross Basin Creek one more time on my way to Caudill Cabin, I carefully place my left foot and then my right between rocks and wonder where the drought is now that I could use it. It’s a warm mid-summer day and I’m in one of the most remote areas I’ve been in.

Fall Spectacular: Fall Colors Delight Motorists on National Park Roads -- Part I, Eastern States

Many national park scenic drives offer fall colors as a seasonal bonus. Here are some picks and tips for following the crowd or taking the road less traveled in the eastern states.

Fall Spectacular: Fall Colors From a National Park Lodge

You'd be hard-pressed to stay in a national park lodge in the fall without some spectacular vistas. Still, there are some places that seem slightly better situated to capture the display of foliage. Contributing writers David and Kay Scott share their thoughts on some of the best lodges to call home during the fall.

Watch For Hunters Passing Through National Parks This Fall

National park visitors hoping to spot wildlife in the parks this fall might encounter a disturbing sight: hunters toting their kills through the parks.

Rebuilding Stone Guardrails Will Cause Traffic Problems in Blue Ridge Parkway

Part of the beauty of traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway is man-made -- the gorgeous stone guardrails along some of the bends in the 469-mile parkway. Unfortunately, needed work on some of those guardrails will cause some traffic problems in the months ahead.
Hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway, 2nd: The Ultimate Travel Guide to America It's more than appropriate that this year, the 75th anniversary of the Blue Ridge Parkway, that when you visit the parkway you get out and take a hike. And Randy Johnson is ready to tell you where to go.

Blue Ridge Parkway Has a Poet Laureate

If you believe nature is poetry in motion, than you can understand why the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation has named a poet laureate for the parkway.

Trails I've Hiked: Far Below And Long Ago—Basin Creek Trail to Caudill Cabin in Doughton Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Video thumbnail view of Doughton Park
Countless Blue Ridge Parkway motorists peek over Wildcat Rocks to see tiny Caudill Cabin 1,500 feet below in North Carolina’s Doughton Park. Take this hike to the cabin and explore a quintessential setting of Appalachian isolation.

Your Own Eastern National Park Road Trip

Several years ago we wrote “The Best National Park Trip,” an article that described the wonders of visiting Zion, Bryce Canyon, and the Grand Canyon during a tour of the West. This is indeed a great trip that can be extended with visits to Lake Powell, Cedar Breaks, and other nearby units administered by the National Park Service.

Mountains-to-Sea Trail Weaves Through North Carolina's National Parks

Every state wants to have a long-distance hiking trail to show off the best of its natural features. The Long Trail in Vermont that meanders from the Massachusetts border to Canada is the oldest, having been created in 1910. Farther south, the Mountains-to Sea Trail runs from Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the Atlantic.

Along the Blue Ridge Parkway: Peaks of Otter Lodge Really Has An Otter

Friday's weather was much improved with mostly sunny skies on the drive from Rocky Knob Cabins to Peaks of Otter Lodge, a distance of about 90 miles. Before heading north, we stopped for breakfast at Mabry Mill, where Kay went through a combination pancake platter consisting of one sweet potato pancake, one buckwheat pancake, and one corn meal pancake, before waddling back to the car. I demonstrated restraint by consuming two biscuits topped with black cherry preserves.

America's Smallest National Park Lodge

Wednesday entailed a short drive of 75 miles along the Blue Ridge Parkway on a day of clouds, mist, and fog. Even in this weather the parkway is an enjoyable drive, especially compared to interstates with speeding vehicles and pesky 18-wheelers.

Bluffs Lodge and the Best Coffee Shop in a National Park

As our lodging experts, David and Kay Scott, continue on their 2010 odyssey across the National Park System, they get to sample some of the best lodging, food, and coffee there is to be had. This dispatch came from the Bluffs Lodge along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Road Work Forces Our Intrepid Travelers To Detour Along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Roadwork along the Blue Ridge Parkway forced our intrepid travelers to detour off the parkway, but the sidetrip proved worthwhile.

On The Road Through The National Park System

We are beginning the ultimate 2010 road trip: North along the 469-mile length of the Blue Ridge Parkway followed by 105-mile-long Skyline Drive that winds through Shenandoah National Park. Then west to St. Joseph, Missouri, to follow the Oregon Trail to Oregon City, Oregon, before returning via the route followed by Lewis & Clark along the Columbia and Missouri rivers.

Ask A Ranger. Violence Is Nothing New To The Blue Ridge Parkway.

Wayward bears addicted to Kentucky Fried Chicken are the least of a park ranger’s worries. Just ask Bruce Bytnar, who worked at the Blue Ridge Parkway for 27 years before he retired in 2008. In his book, A Park Ranger’s Life: Thirty-Two Years of Protecting Our National Parks, Bytnar tells the real story behind what it is like to patrol a 469-mile long park through some of the best scenery the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and North Carolina have to offer.

The Numbers Behind National Park Visitation

What's in a number? When it reflects visitation to national parks, it's not always as obvious as it might seem.
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Symposium Marking Blue Ridge Parkway's 75th Anniversary Coming Up

Seventy-five years is a pretty good show of longevity, and shouldn't be treated lightly. It certainly isn't being overlooked at the Blue Ridge Parkway, where two symposiums are scheduled to celebrate the beautiful ribbon of highway that runs through the Appalachian Mountains.

Free Entrance to All NPS Sites during National Park Week, April 17-25

NPS entrance station.
If you're planning a spring trip to a National Park Service site, you may be able to save a little money if you schedule your visit between April 17 and 25, 2010. Free admission to all 392 NPS sites is being offered during National Park Week

Moses H. Cone Memorial Park: A Jewel Along The Blue Ridge Parkway

Much of the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina currently is closed due to ice, snow, and at least one rock slide. But visitors can still access some parks along the Parkway.

Blind Hiker Plans to Hike The Entire Appalachian National Scenic Trail

Hundreds of hikers set out along the Appalachian National Scenic Trail from Springer Mountain, Georgia, come springtime with sights set on reaching Mount Kathadin in Maine before summer expires. But how many are blind?
When the Parkway Came Part of FDR's "New Deal," the Blue Ridge Parkway was envisioned as an economic development tool that would pump both life and dollars into the Appalachian Mountain Range between Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains national parks. But the long and winding road with the fantastic vistas also took a good deal of life out of the landscape as farms that stood in the path were razed and the families moved off.

Kentucky's Sen. Bunning Singlehandedly Idles Road Construction Projects Nationally, Including Many in National Parks

Jim Bunning, Kentucky's contrary U.S. senator, singlehandedly has shut down road construction projects across the nation, including many in national parks, because he doesn't want to help middle-class families weather the economic storm, U.S. Department of Transportation officials said Monday.

When Is Conservation of Park Lands Prudent, and When is the Spending Wasteful?

While some House Republicans are denigrating a proposal to spend $50 million to create a national historic site in the Virgin Islands, one that would preserve a centuries-old plantation and critical natural resources, a GOP senator is asking for $75 million to be spent on land acquisition for the Blue Ridge Parkway.
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Deadly Weather Buffets Great Smoky Mountains, Shenandoah National Parks

Powerful winds and heavy rains descended on the Appalachians on Sunday and lingered into Monday, downing trees, flooding roads, and resulting in a death in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Winter Storm Closes Shenandoah’s Skyline Drive and Some Sections of Blue Ridge Parkway

A major winter storm has created hazardous driving conditions in the three major Appalachian parks. All of Skyline Drive and some sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway have been closed. Great Smoky's Newfound Gap Road is subject to closures at night due to ice.

Some Unusual Lodges To Consider For Your Next National Park Visit

Any mention of national park lodges causes most people to envision park icons such as Old Faithful Inn, El Tovar, Ahwahnee, or Many Glacier Hotel. Dozens of other national park lodges are scattered across the country, of course, although many receive little publicity and remain virtually unknown to many experienced travelers.

Blue Ridge Parkway and Cumberland Gap among Parks Still Coping with the "Blizzard of 2009"

Snow on Blue Ridge Parkway
For travelers and emergency workers in much of the country, any dreams of a "White Christmas" will likely be remembered as bad ones this year. Many parks have been impacted by recent storms, but among the hardest hit are the Blue Ridge Parkway and Cumberland Gap National Historical Park.