The Blue Ridge Parkway is only 22 miles from our vacation cabin rentals in Lake Lure. A drive down the Parkway is slow paced and relaxing. Almost any overlook or trail will reveal much of the natural and cultural history here. Explore the many communities along the route that make our region so special. The Blue Ridge Parkway is designed as a "drive awhile and stop awhile" experience. Please don't be in a hurry!
From Asheville, you can drive north on the Parkway toward Mt. Mitchell or south toward Mt. Pisgah, Looking Glass Rock (photo above) and the Smoky Mountains. From your cabin in Lake Lure, you can take a leisurely ride either direction on the Parkway and take "regular" roads for a quicker return to your cabin.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a National Parkway and All-American Road in the United States noted for its scenic beauty. The Parkway winds for 469.1 miles (755 km) from the southern terminus of Shenandoah National Park's Skyline Drive in Virginia to U.S. 441 at Oconaluftee in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Cherokee, NC. It runs through the famous Blue Ridge Mountains, a major mountain chain that is part of the Appalachian Mountains. There is no fee for using the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Overlooks, picnic areas, campgrounds, visitor centers, hiking trails, and other areas of interest are available along the road. The best way to experience this place is to take advantage of these opportunities. Short trails offer the chance to get away from the road and see the Blue Ridge up close and personal, even if just for a few minutes. Longer trails are also available for the more adventurous. Bicycling, photography, birdwatching, and practically any other responsible outdoor activity is available for the Parkway visitor!
Hundreds of overlooks allow opportunities to catch a glimpse of sunrises or sunsets, have a picnic, or just enjoy the view across the mountains and valleys of the region.
While many people think of the Blue Ridge Parkway just as a motor road, it is also a place of varied and significant natural resources. Along this route an unsurpassed diversity of climate zones, vegetation zones, physiographic zones, and geological features are traversed. The more than 81,000 acres of Parkway lands pass through a highland area of five degrees longitude and approximately 3 degrees latitude, making it the third largest unit of the National Park Service in terms of area covered. Park resources include 400 streams (150 headwaters), 47 Natural Heritage Areas (areas set aside as national, regional or state examples of exemplary natural communities), a variety of slopes and exposures, and possibly 100 different soil types. With an elevation range of 5,700 feet the Parkway provides a home for both southern species at the lower elevations and northern species on the mountaintops.
Taking advantage of this diversity are 14 major vegetation types, about 1,250 vascular plant species (50 threatened or endangered), and almost 100 species of non-native plants. Nearly 100 species of trees grow along the Parkway, about as many as are found in all of Europe. Added to that are estimates of almost 400 species of mosses and nearly 2000 species of fungi.
Not to be outdone by the plants, many species of animals make their homes along the Parkway. Fifty-four different mammals, more than 50 salamanders and 40 reptiles can be found on Parkway lands. One hundred fifty-nine species of birds are known to nest here with dozens of others passing through during fall and spring migrations.
Weather conditions high on the mountains can vary tremdously from the weather in the surrounding valleys or piedmont region. Carrying a jacket or some rain gear is always a good idea. Check forecasts before your trip to the mountains and always have a few emergency supplies in the trunk of your car.