Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sunsets on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Exploring the South’s most iconic road – the Blue Ridge Parkway – is famous for its stunning views. Some 469 miles long, the Blue Ridge Parkway connects the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina (the country’s most visited national park) and the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.  The road gets more travelers than any park, yet it rarely feels crowded. Every turn reveals something special, and every vista seems more magical than the one before it.

From the Andon Reid Inn, you can enter the Blue Ridge Parkway by traveling west on U.S. 74/23 – the Great Smoky Mountain Expressway, and driving just past the rest area approaching the Balsam area. The entrance will be on your right. As you approach the Parkway, follow the signs for Asheville and turn left. This puts you right around mile marker 444 and the numbers go down from there.

Here, we share our favorite stops for some of the most stunning vistas you will see in the southern Appalachians. At mile post 431, you will have reached the highest elevation overlook - Richland Balsam - elev. 6053'. This is a good stop for photos. Travel just a bit further to Cowee Mountain Overlook, just past mile marker 430 on your right. This is one of the best spots for breathtaking sunset views, as you can see in this photo. And you’ll often see photographers lined up here at sunset.

These don’t-miss spots will give you the best of this scenic road. 

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