Favorite Blue Ridge Parkway stops?
August 30, 2020 6:24 PM   Subscribe

Next week my wife and I will be spending Labor Day week working our way down the Blue Ridge Parkway, north to south. What are the can't miss stops?

I've got a long list of places to stop on the Pkwy, way too many to do in one week. What are your favorite absolutely don't miss it stops on the BRP?

Also, is a side trip to Mt. Airy for some Sheriff Andy Taylor nostalgia worth the effort?

Right now I'm not planning on going all the way to Cherokee, but I'm willing to be convinced otherwise if you think Cherokee is awesome.

We'll be camping in 14 ft. camper - 2 nights each near Peaks of Otter, Stone Mountain State Park in NC, and one other campground not too far north of Asheville. My current plan is to do a short hike (1-2 miles) each morning and afternoon as we work our way South.
posted by COD to Travel & Transportation around United States (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
is a side trip to Mt. Airy for some Sheriff Andy Taylor nostalgia worth the effort?

In normal times, maybe. It's not terribly exciting, but there's some nice small tourist town things to do/eat/see.

In covid times, a bunch of the nostalgia places are required to be closed and the demographic attracted to the area is likely to not be using masks or observing distancing.

Likewise, ordinarily I'd recommend some of the bluegrass and old time music stops along the way, but they're either going to be closed or not terribly safe.
posted by Candleman at 6:32 PM on August 30, 2020

Humpback Rock, at the northern end of the Parkway, is a short and highly rewarding hike. It's moderate intensity but with a short steep segment near the end. Very popular; get there early if you can as the parking lot is really small.
posted by basalganglia at 6:59 PM on August 30, 2020

Peaks of Otter had horribly narrow and potholed roads last time I went, just be aware. And check your brakes, there are some crazy switchbacks that rival those out west, all over the parkway.

I liked the trails around Mt. Pisgah, the Pisgah Inn has some great views out of the back patio too. In kinder times the restaurant would be nice.

I wouldn't bother with Mt. Airy unless you need to pick up some Rebel flags.

If you like beer, stop by Devil's Backbone, you can even camp there and walk to the brewery.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:23 PM on August 30, 2020

I'm incredibly fond of Moses Cone and the viaduct
posted by Jacen at 8:29 PM on August 30, 2020 [1 favorite]

It's close to Humpback Rocks, but Raven's Roost (around MP 8-9) has spectacular views of the Shenandoah Valley. Not much to do but look, but it's always been my favorite view from the BRP.
posted by kuanes at 4:01 AM on August 31, 2020

Cherokee is full of crappy t-shirt stores. But it does have some great museums, some of which are apparently open. If you go and it's hot be sure to go tubing down the river, it's fun and not challenging.

Honestly, I think you should just let your trip find its own trajectory. It's all beautiful. Just did a couple of large segments of the parkway myself a couple of weeks ago. Most amazing sight: a baby bear crossing the road.
posted by mareli at 6:01 AM on August 31, 2020

Let me throw out this page that shows real-time road info for the BRP

Local favorites:
Devil's Courthouse 422.4
Graveyard Fields 418.8 (parking may be an issue)
Craggy Gardens 364 (hike to the top from parking north of the little visitor's center)

If it hits you at the right time, there's a cool little hike to Rattlesnake Lodge from a small parking area at the south entrance of Tanbark Ridge Tunnel (374.5). If you like the destination but the parking there doesn't work out, you can also get there via the MST by parking at the intersection of Elk Mth Scenic Hwy (375.7)
posted by achrise at 9:26 AM on August 31, 2020

Some sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway south of POO are closed to vehicle traffic due to massive washouts from spring rains.

I'm just south of POO and 2 nights there is more than enough. You'll have time to visit Appomattox, the National D-Day Memorial, and the B-25 that crashed on Sharp Top during WWII if you're up for more than the 1-2m hike. The views from the summit are worth it.

When you leave there, stop in Roanoke for biscuits or beer, to visit the star, and to browse at Black Dog Salvage before heading south.
posted by headnsouth at 2:09 PM on August 31, 2020

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