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  1. Default Blue Ridge Parway Nov 1st - 3rd

    Hello Everyone,

    Me and my friend are planning on road trip to blue ridge parkway from nov 1st to 4th. Please let me know your suggestions and thoughts.

    Start Nov 1st start morning from atlanta to great smoky and start the road trip on Blue ridge parkway.

    Nov 3rd. Start morning from luray caverns in virgina to atlanta, through blue-ridge up to great smoky and interstate from great smoky's to atlanta.

    Points of Interest
    2)Peaks of otter
    3)Grandfather mountain
    4) crabtree or linville fallas
    5) Biltmore estate
    6) lin cove viaduct
    7) Chimney rock.
    Apart from the above mentioned list, we would like to stop by at the overlooks.

    1) Is it possible to drive during Nov 1st week?
    2) Would 3 days and 2 nights be sufficient for relaxed trip?.

    Any suggestions/comments appreciated


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Be aware, a section of the BRP is currently closed between Asheville and Mount Mitchell do to a road failure. They are working on a temporary bypass that they hope to have open by Labor Day, but I would certainly keep checking for updates. Of course, by early November, you also have at least a slight chance of winter weather too, so keep that in mind.

    I'm a little confused by your plan. It sounds like you are hoping to get from Atlanta to Luray via the BRP on Nov. 1 and 2, and then drive back to Atlanta, on Nov 3, but by backtracking again on the BRP?

    If that's the case, I think you need to rethink. It would be pretty tough to make it from Atlanta to Luray in 2 days via BRP, especially if you want to also explore Great Smoky NP. I certainly wouldn't call that a relaxed pace. Getting back from Luray to Atlanta would need to be Interstate Highways the whole way if you want to to be a a one day trip.

  3. Default

    Thanks Micheal.

    You are right we would like to go from atlanta to luray to and fro by BRP.

    My calculation goes like this
    Avg speed in BRP 35mph.
    Total distance to cover in BRP ~400.
    One way time in NRP ~11hrs.

    Currently we have two plans
    First one.
    We are thinking of traveling from Atlanta to luray Nov1st and Nov 2nd( stopping at the "interest points" and overlooks) and then from luray to atlanta on Nov 3rd ( without stopping except for food).

    Second plan
    Having a schedule to be in BRP for 12 hrs ( 7am to 7pm) was to drive 7 hrs and use the rest of the 5 hours for food and interest places.

    Repeat the same for Nov 2nd and 3rd.

    Also atlanta to smokys is about 2 hrs so we are planning to start early on nov 1st so we can have be on BRP schedule.

    That was just ourcalculation on the travel time and everything, let me know how many days would we need to make it relaxing?.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Even by the Interstate it is 600 miles to get from Luray to Atlanta, that's a full day trip - 10+ hours - at freeway speeds. You simply can't get that far in a day on a slow going parkway, which not only will have slower speeds, it will also add a couple hundred extra miles to your trip. I also just don't understand what you hope to accomplish by doubling back on the BRP, but ultimately with the time you've got available, it really isn't an option.

    There are some other problems with the plan you've laid out.

    First, you don't have 12 hours of daylight to work with in early November. Sunrise is going to be around 7am but the sun will be setting a little after 5. Hard to enjoy the BRP after dark!

    Second, you're overestimating just how fast you can drive on the BRP. The speed limit on much of the highway is 45, but there are sections where it is only 25 mph, plus there are lots of sections that will have slower moving traffic or curves that are just not safe to travel at 45. Even a 35 mph average is likely optimistic.

    Third, your distances are off. Atlanta to Smoky Mountain NP is nearly 200 miles, mostly on 2 lane roads. That's at least a 3-4 hour drive, not a 2 hour one, and that doesn't include driving inside the park! It's also more than just 400 miles from the Smokies to Luray. The BRP alone is 470 miles, and its another 50 miles beyond that to Luray.

    To do this at what I would call a relaxed pace, I'd think you'd want about a week, which also includes time to explore the Smokys, Shanendoah, and onto Luray. For just the parkway alone, one way, 4 days is actually suggested. If all you've got is 4 days total, you can certainly have a nice trip. You probably could drive from Atlanta to Luray via the BRP in 3 days, and spend your 4th day driving home, but that would need to be at a pretty quick pace. If I were you, I would enjoy the drive from the first 3 days and just get as far as you get, even if you don't complete the whole parkway, leaving yourself day 4 to sprint home on the Interstates.

  5. #5

    Default Far too ambitious

    Hello 7abhi,

    Reiterating some of MM's accurate observations:

    The BRP is 469 miles from Cherokee, NC to Rockfish Gap, VA, where the Skyline Drive (SD) begins and runs another 105 miles to Front Royal, VA. One can either drop down into the Shenandoah Valley at Rockfish Gap via I-64 or can continue on the SD to Thornton Gap to reach Luray. Using a liberal estimate of 30 mph average travel speed, which would allow but few stops, Cherokee to Rockfish Gap is about 16 hours.

    Add at least an hour to reach Luray by either the SD or I-64 to US 340 from Waynesboro.

    Central Atlanta to Cherokee is about 120 miles. You have the choice of several lousy ways to get there, none of which are likely to take less than 3 hours. I'd assume 3.5 to 4.0 and be happy to beat that by much.

    Take into account how difficult it can be to drive the BRP and SD. They're great drives, no doubt, but the driver never gets to relax even a bit as can be the case on a wide-open interstate. You are quite simply never out of line of sight from a blind curve, steep grade, turn-out, or intersection. It taxes the focus much more than most folks realize. There are a lot of veteran RoadTrippers who would find 469 miles on the BRP to be "too much of a good thing". Lots of folks get motion sickness from the constant curves, accelerating uphill, and braking downhill.

    The weather can be a factor, and not just snow and ice, which can close segments of the BRP without notice inasmuch as there is no plowing or salting to remove it. Clouds/fog very frequently envelope long segments of the BRP, and when that happens, travel can slow to 10-15 mph and is exactly zero fun, possibly for hours on end. You need a highway atlas on board and the willingness to plot an escape route.

    You've listed 7 preferred stops. You must allow at least an hour, more likely 2 or 3 hours, to reach and enjoy any of the stops listed. The stops at Biltmore Estate and Grandfather Mountain can each occupy 3 or even 4 hours.

    I forget the exact total, but I think the total number of overlook turnouts along the BRP is something like 250. Plenty of them are not particularly lovely, but plenty more demand a stop and a long look.

    So, there is not much likelihood that you can even run the BRP one way, visit Luray Caverns, and speed run back to Atlanta in 3 days. If you did, you'd not be able to visit many, or any, of your listed stops. Might I suggest saving the northern segments of the BRP/SD and Luray Caverns for another trip, and focus on the southern segments of the BRP and some of stops you listed. Running I-85 to I-26 to Asheville, thence about an hour up the BRP to Mount Mitchell (first assuring the road is open--see MM's note about construction currently targeted for completion next week), spend about an hour at Mitchell (but only if the weather is fairly clear--not much need to go up there if it's socked in with fog), double back to Biltmore, have lunch there, then take a slow and easy drive over the Pisgah summit to Cherokee. A longer variant would be running I-85 to US 321 at Gastonia, NC, thence US 321 to Blowing Rock, get on the BRP there, include your desired stops at Grandfather Mtn, Linn Cove, and Linville Falls, snag Mt Mitchell late in the afternoon, and overnight in Asheville, doing the Asheville-Cherokee segment, which is another 80 miles, mind you, after seeing Biltmore in the morning of Day 2. I have not done the math, but Day 1 of this variant is undoubtedly a LONG day, and you might want to stop at Little Switzerland or Spruce Pine after Grandfather, Linn Cove, and Linville Falls, picking up Mt Mitchell on the morning of Day 2.


  6. Default

    Thanks Foy and Mitchel,

    Taking your advise, we are changing our plans to start from DC to luray to BRP and extending our trip to 4 days. Also I understand BRP in virgina has more "place to look" than NC. As per advise of mitchel, we will stay in BRP for 3 days starting from virgina, go as far as we can and use the 4thday to travel back to DC.


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