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Thread: Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina

  1. #1
    Senior Member una_dogger's Avatar
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    Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina

    Hello! I’m in the early planning stages of a four or five day trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway in NC next month-looking for info/suggestions for campground & “must see” hikes. We are generally planning to begin around Blowing Rock and exit somewhere near the VA border.

    Questions for those who have travelled the BRP

    -would we miss any of the “best sites and hikes” if we skip the section from the southern terminus in Cherokee?

    -in early June, do campgrounds fill up with pre-reservations or can we safely try to pick them as we travel day to day? (Traveling in a camper van so easy to roll in and out, no set up)

    Daily goals will be several short hikes (up to 1.5 miles each) and one longer hike daily (4-6 mikes) adding up to a nice balance of driving/sightseeing and hikes to beautiful places.


    Thank you for any suggestions for “must see” places and hikes. I’m already planning on a bunch of the Art Loeb Trail as well as Craggy Gardens, Linville Falls and Gorge, Looking Glass Rock, and a side trip to Brevard and Asheville.

    Thanks for any shares of pics, too!
    Last edited by una_dogger; 05-19-2019 at 12:16 PM.
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    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by una_dogger View Post
    -would we miss any of the “best sites and hikes” if we skip the section from the southern terminus in Cherokee?
    Another angle of your trip to consider other than the hiking is the driving. The latter of which is very scenic also. If you are going as far south as Asheville. I would highly suggest at least driving the loop from Asheville out through Maggie Valley to Cherokee then back on the Blue Ridge to Asheville. It's easily doable in a day but takes you over some of the most scenic parts of the Blue Ridge and it's high point.
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    Senior Member una_dogger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiguy View Post
    Another angle of your trip to consider other than the hiking is the driving. The latter of which is very scenic also. If you are going as far south as Asheville. I would highly suggest at least driving the loop from Asheville out through Maggie Valley to Cherokee then back on the Blue Ridge to Asheville. It's easily doable in a day but takes you over some of the most scenic parts of the Blue Ridge and it's high point.

    Hey Skiguy - thanks - that’s actually what I was hoping to do - drive to Asheville, then Cherokee, then start at the Southernmost terminous. Hike/drive camp to Asheville then continue northward until I get bored or it’s time to drive home ��

    It sounds like you’ve done this? ��
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    Senior Member Stan's Avatar
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    As long as you're in Asheville, you might as well go to Biltmore. It'll provide ideas for home improvements and gardening projects.

    Pick up the Parkway map and you'll see all sorts of little hikes, nature trails and natural attractions ... over the course of a day you can put in several miles of "hiking" this way. Speed is limited by both regulation and rubber necking so allow plenty of time to get around. And don't worry, if you're southbound and find yourself going north for a long time ... you didn't necessarily take a wrong turn. Its that kind of road.

    Grandfather Mountain is worth a visit. It has a private nature center and a fun hike, loop possible, which reminded me of the game, shutes and ladders. Don't underestimate it.

    One of my favorite hikes was Hawksbill Mtn. near Linville Gorge.

    We enjoyed hiking to LeConte Lodge for a couple nights in the Park. It is the only accomodation in the park resembling AMC White Mountain huts. The Smokies are pretty and there's a reason for the name ... there is usually a blue haze due to the fact that this area gets the same amount of precipitation as the Pacific Northwest. Overall, we prefer the Whites.

    Enjoy. Hopefully, the rhododendrums willtill be in bloom.

  5. #5
    Junior Member OnAClearDay's Avatar
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    Don't forget a side trip to Mt Mitchell, the highest point East of the Mississippi- good hikes from there along the ridge, or better yet climb it from Black Mountain Campground.

    Also, when driving stay aware of your vehicle's fuel level, no gas stations along the BRP and an exit off the parkway may not be available when you might need it most..
    https://www.blueridgeparkway.org/gas-availability/

  6. #6
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    When I was sectioning the AT through that area we were early in the season and were slackpacking AT sections using AT shelters for overnights. We were both early risers so we would get going real early in the morning. Frequently there was fog up on the ridgeline in the AM but it cleared quickly and then we had the road to ourselves. The Priest in VA off RT 56 was 4 mile hike similar to NH 4 K. Nice views. There are whitetail deer everywhere including in the road and they are fearless so don't assume they will get out of the road.

  7. #7
    Senior Member blacknblue's Avatar
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    Details are a bit fuzzy in my memory, but there's an area south of Asheville that I went to several times. The Black Balsam area was fantastic--open meadows, high mountains, long views, and plenty of free/legal camping. Nearby Graveyard Falls was a short hike to several magnificent campsites and waterfalls.
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    Senior Member Barkingcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    The Priest in VA off RT 56 was 4 mile hike similar to NH 4 K.
    I was going to recommend The Priest, but if I recall it's pretty far north of the OP's planned exit (Virginia border) from the parkway. Also, having done this hike a couple of times in the past few years, I'd say that's far easier than pretty much any NH 4000-footer. It was so much easier that we added nearby Crabtree Falls to the hike -- worth a visit on its own.

    That being said, if the OP did want to venture further north on the parkway, into Virginia, there are quite a few lovely hikes not too far off of it, and many that use the AT (like The Priest). Something to consider.
    Last edited by Barkingcat; 05-24-2019 at 05:48 AM.

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    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    If you fund yourself near Peaks of Otter consider a stay there. Lovely quiet place and the short steep hike up the Peaks is a great workout in the 4 mile RT range

    Have a great adventure!

    cb
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  10. #10
    Senior Member una_dogger's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the replies! Unfortunately this trip has been placed on the back burner for a bit.
    ADK 46'r NE115'r NEHH NH 48 x 6 NH48W NH 329/576
    Terra NH 48 x 6+ ~93/100 NEHH ~ ADK 35/46 ~Rest in Peace Sweet One~
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