Exploring the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina

The Blue Ridge Mountain range runs through North Carolina and there is a lovely drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway. There are many overlooks to pull into and admire the view.

Entering the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Along the way there are many popular points of interest on and off the parkway such as the Linn Cove Viaduct, Grandfather Mountain, The Blowing Rock, Boone, Linville Caverns and Linville Falls.

Over the course of three nights and two days I managed to explore all of these points of interest.

On the way into Boone I stopped at The Blowing Rock. This natural rock has a romantic legend behind it which you can read by clicking HERE.

Entrance to The Blowing Rock.

The views from the lookout deck are spectacular and on a clear day it seems to continue forever. I can only imagine the beauty of these mountains during the Fall.

The view from the observation deck.

The second stop was at one of the most photographed sections of the parkway, the Linn Cove Viaduct. Created as an alternative to a tunnel through the mountain the viaduct hugs the curve of the mountain providing more spectacular views. In the Fall the trees will change colour to red and orange giving the impression the mountain side is on fire.

Linn Cove Viaduct in Summer.
The view from the Linn Cove Viaduct.

Not far from the Linn Cove Viaduct is Grandfather Mountain, my third stop. At the top of Grandfather Mountain is a swinging bridge that is now thankfully metal. I arrived early in the morning with low level cloud racing over the top of the mountain making the crossing foolish. There are warning signs of when not to cross so I decided to come back later in the day.

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The wind might have blown me off the bridge!
The bridge when the weather had cleared.
The view from Grandfather Mountain.

While I was exploring the Blue Ridge Parkway I stopped for two nights in Boone, my last stop for the day. This is where Appalachian State University is and my home for the Fall semester.

I was lucky enough to catch the last week of the Horn in the West outdoor drama performance. Honestly, after the Trail of Tears in Cherokee it looked amateur and was was only mildly entertaining.

Horn in the West.
Horn in the West.

Before the performance I walked through the Hickory Ridge Living Museum. Volunteers told tales about each building and life back in the day. For me, I prefer to look about then move on but I found myself obligated to stop and listen to each and every person, making it tiring and less enjoyable.

One of the heritage building in the living museum.

The following day it was time to drive down to Linville area, home to both falls and caverns.

On a hot day the Linville Caverns provide relief from the heat. A short tour through was a nice way to spend half an hour out of the sun and humidity.

Welcome.
Inside Linville Caverns.
Inside Linville Caverns.
Inside Linville Caverns.

Next up it was time to take the leisurely hike along Erwins Trail at Linville Falls. Just kidding, the hike in this climate was not so leisurely! Going up is always harder then going down.

The Erwins trail is the main trail with three overlooks, the upper falls, Chimney View and Erwins View.

Many tourists follow this trail and anyone can do it (I saw an elderly vision impaired man walking up) but know it will take some time as the altitude may impact your breathing if you are not used to it.

The upper falls.
Chimney View.
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Eriwins View.

At the end of the day I checked into a cabin at a local campground Linville Falls Campground. The cabin was cute and only for one night. Not sure any longer would work with the limited room inside.

The Outback Cabin.
The studio style layout.
The dining area and bathroom.

It was a nice place to relax, stay in and fall asleep to the rattle of the cicadas.

The parkway is easily accessible and attractions are close by each other. There are many options to pull into an overlook or a car park and take a walk along a trail. You can spend as much or as little time as you want along the parkway. For the outdoorsy types or those who like a nice view, this parkway is for you!

Author: Melanie Birch-Inwood

The question is not 'where have I been' but 'where haven't I been'. I can guarantee if I haven't been, it's on the list! I am an Aussie who loves to travel and I have currently been to 64 countries over 6 continents with no plans on slowing down anytime soon. Currently I am living and studying in America at Appalachian State University for the Fall semester. Join me as I share my experiences, tips and reviews of all things travel and foreign.

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