• The long vistas are part of a Blue Ridge Parkway experience

    Blue Ridge

    Parkway NC,VA

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  • Phone System Down at Julian Price Campground

    The phone system at JP Campground, MP 296.9, is currently out of order. Please refer to recreation.gov to make or change any reservations. For additional questions please refer to the camping opportunities section of our website. More »

  • A traffic light on the Blue Ridge Parkway?

    Parkway officials urge all visitors to observe timers set on stop lights from MP242.4 at Alligator Back Parking Area to MP241. Work in the area involves 24-hour, 1-lane traffic control until November 2, 2014, when a full closure goes into effect.

Natural Features & Ecosystems

Nature and Science
The Parkway winds 469 miles along the crests of the Southern Appalachians providing seemingly endless views of many parallel ranges connected by cross ranges and scattered hills. Beginning in Virginia the Parkway follows the Blue Ridge Mountains for the first 355 miles. Then it skirts the southern end of the massive Black Mountains, named for the dark green spruce and fir that cover them, weaves through the Craggies, the Pisgahs, the Balsams, and ends in the Great Smokies.

Growing on over 70,000 acres of the Parkway are forests of varying age and type. Spruce-fir forests at the highest elevations are more typical of forests found hundreds of miles to the north. In the moist coves and hollows at mid- to low-elevations are mixed hardwoods of the cove hardwood forests. And in the driest, hottest sites can be found the oak-pine forests.

A variety of wetland types are found on the Parkway including southern Appalachian bog, high elevation seeps, swamp-forest bog complex, and bottomland (floodplain) forest. The southern Appalachian bog in particular is unique. Within the southeastern U.S. these increasingly rare wetlands support more species of rare, threatened and endangered species than all other types wetlands combined. Among some of the rarer species that are found within these unique habitats are the bog turtle, Gray's lily, large cranberry, and Cuthbert's turtlehead.

Did You Know?

Blue Ridge Parkway (photo courtesy of NC Division of Tourism)

The Parkway was the most visited unit of the National Park Service every year from 1946-2012.