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Old 07-08-2021, 04:53 PM   #1
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Blue Ridge Parkway planning

Trying to schedule a trip this fall ( late Oct ) and would appreciate any advice on the need to schedule campgrounds, reasonable miles per day (taking in sights) and taking our time and any other info that could help us figure out how to approach this trip!
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Old 07-08-2021, 09:31 PM   #2
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Hope you get great weather. The Blue Ridge Parkway Is a wonderful park in nice weather. We have been evicted from Grandfather mountain just off the parkway because 24 inch's of snow was coming in early december.

The blue ridge can be challenging to see because of weather. Rain, Snow, Overcast can make the parkway a waste of time to drive if you do not have the views. There are a lot of days the parkway is in the clouds and its fog. So have a backup plan. It can take several time to see the entire parkway.

Trip planning with a camper: at best 2 long days, but I would plan 3+ full days. The Sothern end of the parkway has some height restrictions in some tunnels.

The Sothern end you have the Great Smokie Mountains NP. The Northern End just east on i-64 you have Jefferson's Monticello. If you don't exit at i-64 the road transforms into Skyline Drive which is VA's State park that is like the blue ridge. Skyline drives go's through Shenandoah National Park
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Old 07-08-2021, 09:32 PM   #3
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I've driven the Blue Ridge Pkwy several times but always in my car. It is a beautiful scenic ride. There are a lot of pull over areas. Unfortunately most of them are small and can fill up easily. You will also be there during the leaf change. The mountains are spectacular at this time of year. Therefore you will find congestion and tight camping facilities.

You didn't mention whether or not you have a toad. That could change a lot of things in your favor.
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Old 07-09-2021, 06:05 AM   #4
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We have a lot in Deer Creek Motor Coach Resort just off the parkway near Galax VA and Mt Airy NC. We have driven most of the BRP at one time or another and while you can do it in a motorhome, it will be more enjoyable to find campgrounds off the parkway and go in the car or on a motorcycle. Skyline Drive has the most breathtaking scenery, followed by the southern end in GSMNP. The middle is not as challenging to drive and you can actually see much more on the back roads near the parkway than on the parkway itself.
There is plenty to do besides driving the BRP but you may have to do a little digging and talk to locals. There are car shows, wineries, music festivals, concerts at the Blue Ridge music center. Caverns to explore, trails to hike, rivers to go kayaking or tubing on.... Best to pick a spot and spend a week or two exploring the area, than to make a dash down the entire length.
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Old 07-09-2021, 08:14 AM   #5
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That's really great information. We will be traveling with another couple, both of us in motor homes and have been discussing how to tackle the BRP. Starting to sound like the best plan may be to hop and skip through it by planning to stay at 3 or 4 campgrounds over the course of a week or two and use the toad for day trips. Now to identify, locate and reserve CG's along the way to use as the base of operations ��
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Old 07-09-2021, 02:43 PM   #6
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There are a couple of web sites and an app that will help you with the parkway itself and places to see along the way, off the parkway. I have them sorta in order of usefulness, but check all of them out.

The app with maps is associated with the first link below (get the app from the Play Store or Apple App store) you can download the maps for offline use for $1.99, probably well worth it as much of the parkway is out of cell service.

https://www.blueridgeparkway.org/

https://www.virtualblueridge.com/

https://www.brpfoundation.org/

https://www.nps.gov/blri/index.htm

https://www.exploreasheville.com/ico...ridge-parkway/

The southern part of the parkway from Ashville to Cherokee is a really nice drive. I have either driven or rode with someone else on the the entire section from Ashville south. Pavement wise the worst section is the very last, from US 19 to Cherokee, but its not too bad. i've pulled the trailer up and down that section a couple of times going to Balsam Mountain or Mile High Campground (same turnoff). Its something like a 3000 ft elevation change in about 10 miles at the south end.

There are few places to leave the parkway, so be sure and stick to the normal/legit interchanges (unless you are absolutely certain of where you are going), as most other roads are either for Park service use, Forest Service use, or private; and most are not something to take anything other than a 4x4 on. The southern section is high, the highest place is at milepost 431.4 at Richard Balsam Mtn.

One good drive in a car/truck/van is to take Balsam Mtn Rd to the end of the pavement past the day use and picnicking areas where it turns into one lane southbound into the forest. Its a 2 to 3 hr ride and there are a few places where you can pull off and let a faster car pass, but its all one lane to the bottom at Round Bottom Horse Campground, where it becomes two way, then it passes Mingo Falls and back into Cherokee. Don't drive it after a heavy rain but otherwise it is a decent road. We saw passenger cars and smaller vehicles (we were in a Ram 2500). Its and easy drive and very scenic deep down in the forest.

Mile High Campground is near the southern end, and as the name suggest is over a mile high. Operated by a Cherokee family on tribal land, it is off the road that goes back to Balsam Mtn Campground which is inside the GSMNP. Neither have any hookups, both have restrooms. Mile High has sites large enough for most class C and trailers to about 30 ft. Balsam Mtn Campground is on Recreation.gov and is limited to about 24 ft and only one back in site, all others are parallel parking sites. Pay attention to which are listed for RV and which are not, as the slope is too much in many cases, so they list tent only (great tent pads however).

Mt Pisgah campground is also on Recreation.gov and has a number of pull off or parallel parking sites and a lot of back-ins which are mostly shorter and many have a good amount of slope, so bring all of your leveling blocks and then some. There are restrooms and one shower (only one on the parkway) and wifi near the entrance and across the road at the Inn. Great store and gift shop.

The interactive maps online allow you to check boxes for hiking trails, overlooks, and dozens of other things, so make good use of them in the planning stages.

Your problem in the fall is the leaf peepers, it will be JAMMED.

I want to drive the parkway, but may do it in segments.

Charles

Highest point



Elk on Balsam Mtn Rd just off the parkway



Mingo Falls, on tribal land just outside of Cherokee

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Old 07-09-2021, 04:21 PM   #7
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Lots of good information here. I will just add, that even though speed limit is 45mph expect to average about 30mph.

The turnouts for the overlooks and other POI’s are small and usually crowded. If you are in a large motorhome with a towed or a pulling a trailer. I would suggest leaving the RV part in a campground and use a car/pickup to get around. Even in our little 23’ motorhome last fall we couldn’t get in 1/2 the turnouts.

If you are flexible on time. Monday thru Thursday is you best bet to miss the worst traffic.

If you are driving you won’t get to see much while underway. The winding road with lots off turns will command your attention along with inattentive drivers, bicycles going too slow and motorcycles going too fast.
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Old 07-09-2021, 04:54 PM   #8
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Lived within a 30 minute drive of the BR Pkwy my entire life. All locals hate RVers on the parkway.....sorry but it's true. PLEASE leave your RV at the campground and drive your toad or TV. If you do decide to take your RV on it, be courteous by pulling over at every pullout/overlook to let all the vehicles that are stacked up behind you pass by.
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Old 07-09-2021, 06:38 PM   #9
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X2 hatchee said

D W and I Did front royal to cherokee on our harley davidson road king . Spectacular. 4 days

There are no services on the parkway and Not big rig friendly, no shoulders, lots of curves, elevations and tunnels
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Old 07-12-2021, 03:31 PM   #10
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Thanks everyone, good information to know and now we will sit down and hopefully plan an enjoyable trip! Any recommendations on campgrounds along/around the Parkway?
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Old 07-21-2021, 09:42 PM   #11
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Blue Ridge Parkway planning

For southern section from Cherokee to Ashville, if you plan to park the RV’s and make day trips in your toad, check out Hominy Valley RV Park in Candler, NC.

We just spent 5 nights there last week in the “Creekside” portion of the campground which is Phenomenal. A very quiet well maintained park of about 8 sites in the valley some of which are right on the creek bank. Our spot had a pergola and the only thing between us and the creek rustling over the rocks 30ft behind the RV was the gazebo with porch swing. (A terrible place for drinking morning coffee, but we managed.) Truly one of the quietest and most peaceful places we’ve ever stayed.

The “Upper” campground is up the hill and across the highway….nothing spectacular about it, but still a good location for a base camp.

The park is close to the parkway as well as some other scenic areas and waterfalls along hwy 276 plus several small towns with unique shops and such.Click image for larger version

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Old 07-22-2021, 09:53 AM   #12
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WOW, that sounds relaxing, maybe too much so, LOL.

We will check it out, thanks for the information!!
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Old 07-22-2021, 09:55 AM   #13
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In 2019 we stayed at Fancy Gap Cabins and RV Park. Full hookups. My only gripe is the RV section is mostly a big gravel lot. Easy to maneuver in but not great on aesthetics. Best feature is it 100 yards off the Parkway and near the 1/2 way point.

https://fancygapcabinsandcampground.com/
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