Blue Ridge Parkway North Carolina - Blue Ridge Parkway Lodging  
Blue Ridge Parkway North Carolina

The Blue Ridge Parkway travels south from the Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, winding through some of the most beautiful scenery in Virginia and North Carolina. The Blue Ridge Parkway has been designated an "All-American Road" by the Federal Highway Administration. This means that it has nationally significant qualities and one-of-a-kind features that make driving the road reason enough for a trip to the High Country. Only a few miles into your trip along the Parkway, you will understand how it came to receive such an honor. As the Parkway winds through miles of natural habitats and historic areas, panoramic views abound. A drive on the Parkway will confirm that it is indeed a destination unto itself.

As you travel on the Blue Ridge Parkway North Carolina, you will find a wide variety of attractions; some located on the Parkway and others located just a few miles away in the neighboring communities. Banner Elk North Carolina (located just off the Parkway near Mile Post 305) offers many attractions and diversions for those traveling on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

One of the more breathtaking sights along the North Carolina stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway is the Linn Cove Viaduct. The Viaduct wraps around Linn Cove on the side of Grandfather Mountain and was the last section of the Parkway to be finished. The Viaduct is one of the most complicated concrete bridges ever built, as it was designed to have as little impact on the environment as possible. There is a Visitor's Center at the Viaduct with a trail that gives visitors a beautiful view of the Viaduct. (This trail is handicapped accessible).

Just a mile from Milepost 305, you'll find Grandfather Mountain. It's the highest peak in the Blue Ridge Mountains and offers spectacular views, several hiking trails, a museum and natural habitats for bears, otters, eagles, cougars and deer. If you view the mountain from Hwy 105, you'll see where the mountain gets its name. Along the profile of the ridge, you'll see the old man, "Grandfather." Local legend says that he laid down on the ridge of the mountain to rest, fell asleep and laid there so long that he became part of the mountain. There are also many legends about the mountain in the local Cherokee lore that designate the mountain as a passage to the underworld. The mountain is privately owned, and it is interesting to note that the present owner's father, Hugh Morton, was largely responsible for the Linn Cove Viaduct. It was Hugh Morton's dedication to protecting the environment on his beloved mountain that produced the Viaduct, one of the environmentally-friendly bridges in existence. For more details, click on the link on the right side of the page.

Near Blowing Rock on the Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most popular and expansive attractions is the Moses Cone Manor Memorial Park, a 3,500 acre park full of pristine High Country beauty. At the heart of the North Carolina High Country resort area and Blowing Rock NC, Moses Cone Manor National Park is "historic splendor at its finest." Moses Cone was a "prosperous textile entrepreneur, conservationist, and philanthropist of the Gilded Age." The park's focal point is Flat Top Manor, a magnificent white 20-room, 13,000 square foot mansion built in 1901 in the grand Colonial Revival style. The Manor is home to the Parkway Craft Center, one of five shops of the Southern Highland Craft Guild that has handmade crafts by hundreds of regional artists. Throughout the season, local artists demonstrate crafts such as quilting, embroidery, weaving, pottery, glass-blowing, and woodcarving on the front porch of the Manor. Call the Parkway Craft Center for the daily schedule at 828-295-7938. They are open from March 15 through November 30 from 9am - 5 pm daily. For more details, click on the link on the right side of the page.

At the foot of Grandfather Mountain, near Blowing Rock, North Carolina is the Julian Price Memorial Park. The entrance is located at Milepost 295. The Park adjoins the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park and together the two comprise the largest area developed for recreation along the Parkway. The Julian Price Memorial Park covers more than 4,300 acres, including a small lake and offers many activities for visitors, including hiking, fishing, canoeing, camping, guided walks and evening campfire programs. The grounds include 100 picnic sites, with shelters and comfort stations. A 300-seat amphitheater is used for lectures and talks during the summer months. Canoes can be rented for use on Price Lake. The Julian Price Memorial Park has seven hiking trails (see our Hiking & Biking page) including the Price Lake Loop Trail and the challenging Boone Fork Loop Trail. The ingeniously engineered Tanawha Trail passes under the Linn Cove Viaduct and wraps around the southeastern ridge of Grandfather Mountain. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Park Campground Kiosk: 828-963-5911
Sandy Flats Ranger Station: 828-295-7591
Blue Ridge Parkway Headquarters: 828-271-4779
Visitor Information Recorded Message: 828-298-0398

Also, off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, there are several small lakes that have a variety of fish. Price Lake allows non-motorized boat traffic while Sims Pond, Bass Lake and Trout Lake allow bank fishing only. An NC or VA license without a trout stamp is valid for these bodies of water. For more information, call the Blue Ridge Parkway Headquarters at 828-271-4779.

Another attraction you will find just off the Parkway is the Old Hampton Store in Linville North Carolina. The Old Hampton Store began operating around 1920. Here you will find the old-fashioned general store and grist mill. (They make their own cornmeal, grits and buckwheat pancake mix! Yummy!) Stop by and enjoy some of the best BBQ in the High Country, served on homemade sourdough bread! Next door is an art gallery, featuring southern folk art, pottery, wood carving, blacksmithing, weaving, blown glass and jewelry. The Old Hampton Store is full of great old-time family fun!

The Weaving Room in Crossnore offers an excellent opportunity to watch the mountain tradition of weaving in action. You can also visit the craft shop and the Blair Fraley Thrift Store. These are all located on the campus of Crossnore School in Crossnore NC.

Linville Caverns gives visitors the opportunity to take a guided tour through caverns filled with stalactites and stalagmites and watch the trout swim through streams running below the caverns. The caverns stay a constant 52 degrees all year long! The caverns are open from March 1 to November 30 and are very family-friendly. Don't forget to visit the gift shop containing souvenirs, local pottery and rock specimens. For more information, please call Linville Caverns at 800-419-0540 or email them at

The Brown Mountain Lights are a mystery that no one has ever been able to fully explain. The yellow, red or bluish-white lights appear over Brown Mountain in all seasons. There are many legends to explain the mystery of the lights. One of the more enduring stories is that after a clash between the Cherokee and Catawba, several wives went up on the mountain to search for their missing husbands. The legend says that the lights are the torches of those wives as they continue to search for their lost loves. Locals say that while the lights can be visible year-round, the best chance of seeing the lights is on a fall night just after a good rain. There are several North Carolina Blue Ridge Parkway overlooks to view the lights: an overlook on NC 181 near Jonas Ridge, Lost Cove Overlook on milepost 310 and Thunder Hill Overlook on milepost 290.

And of course, the North Carolina Blue Ridge Parkway has access to countless hiking trails, many of which offer breathtaking views of local waterfalls. See our Hiking & Biking Page for the milepost location, names, mileages and levels of difficulty. A & W Mountain Rentals offer the best Blue Ridge Parkway Lodging for your NC Mountain vacation.

The Linville River begins as a tributary off Grandfather Mountain and gains strength as it travels southeast toward what is now the Linville Gorge; a fantastic feat of nature achieved over thousands of years. Linville River's tremendous scouring action, propelled by its dramatic 2,000 foot drop within 12 miles, formed one of Eastern America's most scenic and rugged gorges. For more details, click on the link on the right side of the page.

For the hardcore hiker, Linville Gorge offers a wide variety of trails and rock climbing. Known as the "Grand Canyon of North Carolina," the Gorge is very rugged and remote and a wonderful challenge for serious hikers. For more details, click on the link on the right side of the page.

At the northern end of the Gorge is Linville Falls. The Falls are located off Mile Post 316 of the Blue Ridge Parkway. There are trails leading to the views of both the upper and lower falls. Surrounding forests are filled with hemlock, white pine, oak, hickory and birch trees. There are also a variety of colorful wildflowers surrounding the trails in the spring and summer. In autumn, the changing colors of the leaves will leave you breathless. Swimming is prohibited at all areas of Linville Falls. Plan to spend a lot of time down here soaking up the beauty. There are numerous places along your hike to have a picnic. Be sure to bring lots of water and don't forget to bring a camera. For more details, click on the link on the right side of the page.

The trails to Linville Gorge and to Plunge Basin begin at the visitor center and fork approximately 0.2 mile from the center. The right fork leads to the Plunge Basin Overlook which offers views of the lower falls. The Linville Gorge trail winds down through the rock cliffs to the bottom of the falls. Both of these trails are strenuous and you should remember that swimming and climbing on the rocks are prohibited for safety reasons. For more information on these and other places to hike, see our Hiking & Biking page.

Located in Spruce Pine directly on the Parkway at Milepost 331 (at Gillespie Gap), the North Carolina Minerals Museum is a great place for families! Look at beautiful North Carolina gems and learn about the importance of NC Gem Mining to the High Country's history. For more information, call 828-765-9483. Also for more details, click on the link on the right side of the page.

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