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  1. Default Blueridge Parkway & Skyline Dr

    I live outside of the USA and are planing a trip to the East Coast for May & June 2010. I have read some interesting posts regarding these two roadtrips and would like to get some idea of the number of days we should allow to travel south along the Skyline, down the Blueridge (at this stage we are thinking of picking up a rental car in Baltimore).

    We would like to have a look at the Shenandoah and Great Smokey National Parks as well - or maybe you get to see the best of them from the two roads? We are primarily looking at the scenery but would stop to look at historical sights as well.

    Thanks for your help

  2. Default

    Karaka the Skyline Drive- Blueridge Parkway would be a great road trip in May & June. I would start on the north of the Drive at Front Royal, Va & end in Great Smokey Mountains NP. This drive is just a little less than 500 miles. You could make the drive in 5 days. But if you have the time I would plan on 2-3 days in Shenandoah NP & 3-4 in the Great Smokey NP. There is just so much to do & see on this road trip that if you take a slow pace you will really enjoy the trip. www.blueridgeparkway.org/directory.htm will take you to the Blueridge directory where you can find the on line Blueridge Milepost you can print this or order the book. This site will give you excess to a lot of info. on the Blueridge Parkway. Enjoy your trip & Welcome to the USA.

    billy bob

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Western/Central Massachusetts
    Posts
    1,703

    Default Hop off the roads for a bit

    In Shenandoah, one of my favorite roads is VA-256 through Weyers Cave and Grottoes. Heading East on this road, you can see the mountains which Skyline Drive rests atop come into view straight ahead.

    There are also quite a few vineyards in the area, if you're an oenophile. On a recent trip I had the pleasure of visiting three of them, and it was an enjoyable experience.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,053

    Default Here are some field reports with photos!

    Check out Peter Thody's tales of travel along the Parkway here
    Megan's visit to the Great Smokey Mountains NP

    Mark

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,922

    Default Fog and Rain

    The scenery and views along the Blueridge Parkway and Skyline Drive can be quite amazing. Be prepared, however, to be flexible enough to sit out fog and inclement weather. On my three attempts to drive this mountain road I have been twarthed by weather and missed most of it. Has not however, deterred me from having another try.

    Front Royal is a neat little town.

    Lifey who will be back

  6. #6

    Default More tips

    Hello karaka,

    Here are a few more thoughts concerning the Skyline Drive (SD), the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP), Shenandoah National Park (SNP), and Great Smokey Mountains National Park (GSMNP):

    From the northern (closest to Baltimore) end of the SD, it's 575 miles down to the end of the BRP. That includes 105 miles of the SD and 470 miles of the BRP.

    The SD is the main access and travel route within SNP, essentially bisecting it from north to south. The SNP is long and narrow, atop the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the SD runs along its spine for its whole length.

    The BRP then connects SNP to the GSMNP, some 470 miles farther south. The BRP is its own National Park unit, albeit a long (470 miles) and very narrow in width, varying from < 100 yards to just a mile or two. The stated purpose of the BRP when planned in the 1930s was to connect SNP and GSMNP.

    Travel is slow on both the SD and the BRP. Nowhere are speed limits > 45 mph and many segments are but 35 mph speed limits. Particularly on weekends, traffic will be rather heavy, especially close to cities. Once you get south of Roanoke, VA on the BRP, traffic will thin out a bit until you get back into it in the Boone/Blowing Rock, NC area. Allowing time for some of the hundreds of vista points and exhibits, it's quite likely you would average but 25 mph over a "beginning to end of day" basis. That said, a leisurely trip down the parkways, from end to end, is at least a 3 to 4 day endeavor. If you stop a lot and/or get off the routes to visit Charlottesville, Roanoke, Blowing Rock, Asheville, and the like, it's more like a 5 or 6 day trip.

    Some think a trip down the entire length of the SD and BRP is "too much of a good thing", and some people even experience a bit of motion sickness due to the effects of continuous curves and hills for days on end. I mention this just so you'll use some of your planning time exploring the many opportunities to get off the SD and BRP via US 29, I-81, I-77, US 421, and a variety of roads in the Asheville, NC area.

    From her many posts, I am aware of Lifemagician's frustration with the weather in the Blue Ridge Mountains of VA and NC. It is most certainly possible to have heavy fog (clouds, actually) for parts of several days, and sometimes for days on end. That's where your Plan B comes into play, as normally just coming down off of the higher elevations into either the Shenandoah Valley or the VA or NC Piedmont gets you below the clouds.

    Have a great time planning and taking your RoadTrip!

    Foy

  7. #7

    Default

    We would like to have a look at the Shenandoah and Great Smokey National Parks as well - or maybe you get to see the best of them from the two roads? We are primarily looking at the scenery but would stop to look at historical sights as well.
    The BRP won't give you any sort of a taste of the Smokies, or not much of one anyway. It spends a few miles in the Balsams Range, which pokes into the southeastern bit of the park, but on the whole it explores what it's named after: the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Smokies are worth many days to themselves with plenty of scenery and historic sites (mostly pioneer settlements). The North Georgia mountains and Cumberland Plateau are worth looking into as well.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,053

    Default That's just part of the charm!

    Quote Originally Posted by Foy View Post
    From her many posts, I am aware of Lifemagician's frustration with the weather in the Blue Ridge Mountains of VA and NC. It is most certainly possible to have heavy fog (clouds, actually)
    Actually, I never seen the Blue Ridge Parkway when it wasn't shrouded by heavy fog... but that's sorta the charm of the place. You stop at the local artisan places, wander around and generally take it easy and slow.

    Mark

  9. #9

    Default Trust me!

    Having lived within sight of the BRP near Grandfather Mountain for several years, and having visited that same locale regularly for the 30 years since then, I can assure past and future visitors that cloudless days do occur. I'd say on average 2 out of 3 days are cloud/fog-free. Relatively more in winter and relatively fewer in summer.

    You'll recall my Asheville, NC-Meadows of Dan, VA traverse on November 2 and 3 of this year. High pressure dominated the weather, the sky was completely cloudless, and the views from Mount Mitchell and the flank of Grandfather were in the 70-80 mile range. We even made it up to the house and bagged a sunset--always a pleasure.

    Foy

  10. Default Thank you

    Thank you to everyone who has replied to my question. I will review your replies over the Christmas break and probably come back with a followup question(s) next week. Once again, thanks for your help and have a great Christmas.

    Karaka

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