Two Day [355-451]
Day One – Morning
Heading out of Spruce Pineor Little Switzerland in the morning, you will notice the number of tunnels that begin to dominate the Parkway through the rugged mountains of this part of North Carolina. Crabtree Falls Trail (2.5 miles) is a strenuous hike to one of the Parkway's best waterfalls. Mount Mitchell State Park is accessed at Milepost 355.3, with a drive up to the highest mountain east of the Mississippiat 6,684 feet. At Craggy Gardens (Milepost 364.5) stop at the visitor center for great views and exhibits on the rhododendrons that blanket the mountainshere, drawing visitors for generations. A short hike (.3 miles one way) leads to a shelter built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the early days of Parkway construction.
Day One – Mid-Late Afternoon
In Asheville, visit the Southern Highland Craft Guild's Folk Art Center (Milepost 382) and the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center with film and exhibits (Milepost 384).
Day One – Late Afternoon - Early Evening
A visit to the Biltmore Estate is always worth the time. Overnight in Asheville will convince any visitor why this mountain city remains a popular tourist stop as it has forwell over a century.
Day Two – Morning
Climbing out of the Asheville area, prepare to enjoy "the top" of the Parkway with elevations consistently over 5,000 feet and topping 6,000 feet for a short distance. This is, without a doubt, the place where the Parkway feels the most like "wilderness." Arrive at Mount Pisgah (Milepost 407 – 409) for lunch at the picnic area or at PisgahInn. If you brought good hiking boots and lots of energy, hike the trail (2.6miles round trip) to the summit.
Day Two – Mid-Late Afternoon
At Graveyard Fields (Milepost 418.8), or Devil's Courthouse (Milepost 422.4), stretch your legs by strolling at least a short part of trails that lead to vistas.
Day Two – Late Afternoon-Early Evening
At Richland Balsam overlook (Milepost 431.4) the Parkway tops out at 6,047 feet and many photos have been taken at the marker that signifies the elevation. At Waterrock Knob (Milepost 451.2) a panoramic view of many mountain ranges have given this place the reputation of having the best sunrise and sunsets anywhere on the Parkway. It is less than 20 miles to the end of the Parkway at Cherokee, NC for an evening of dining and experiencing the Native American culture of the Cherokee.
Did You Know?
There are 176 bridges on the parkway, which makes up 10% of all National Park Service bridges.