Day One – Morning
Leave Roanoke early in the morning and drive the four mile loop around Roanoke Mountain (Milepost 120.4)for some great views of the region and a stroll along the Summit Trail (.1mile) before heading south. Climbing up onto the flat plateau of the Blue Ridge, pull into overlooks at Cahas Knob (Milepost 139) or Devil's Backbone (Milepost 143.9) where you can look off of the steep escarpment and across the east to the piedmont. At Smart View Picnic Area (Milepost 154) look at the Trail Cabin, one of the many rustic single room dwellings associated with early Blue Ridge settlement. Spring wildflowers are particularly nice at Smart View.
Day One – Mid-Late Afternoon
There are many options for picnicking in the Plateau District including Smart View (Milepost 154) andRocky Knob (Milepost 169). Pick up a book or some information at the Rocky Knob Visitor Center (Milepost 169). In the area, take the opportunity to hike along the ridge tops with options that include the Picnic Area Loop Trail (Milepost 169, 1.0 miles) or the Black Ridge Trail (Milepost 169, 3.1 miles).
Day One – Late Afternoon - Early Evening
After exploring Rocky Knob by foot or in your car, head into Floyd, VA (from VA Rt 8 at Milepost 165, six miles to Floyd) for crafts, shopping, restaurants, and lodging in one of the most eclectic small towns anywhere in the Blue Ridge.
Day Two – Morning
Arrive at Mabry Mill(Milepost 176) for buckwheat cakes at the restaurant and a leisurely stroll through Ed Mabry's mill and blacksmith shop. Demonstrations of Appalachian and Blue Ridge crafts are often highlighted here.
Day Two – Mid-Late Afternoon
Heading south, there are a number of attractions worthy of a short stop. Round Meadow Overlook (Milepost178) offers a nice short hike (.5 miles) to Round Meadow creek. At Groundhog Mountain Picnic Area (Milepost 188.8) there is a display of the many kinds of wood fences that you may have admired along the Parkway. Just a mile further down the road at Puckett Cabin (Milepost 189.9), the story of the mountain midwife who delivered 1,000 babies in the region.
Day Two – Late Afternoon-Early Evening
Arriving at the Blue Ridge Music Center (Milepost 213) you can perhaps catch Mountain Mid day Music or an outdoor concert (fees may apply) featuring the best bluegrass, old time, and gospel music in the region. At the visitor center, "The Roots of American Music" exhibition provides a thorough historical introduction to the music that is so much a part of the regional experience. The High Meadow Trail (1.35miles) behind the visitor center takes you through hayfields, wetlands, and an abundance of wildflowers and birds.
Galax, Virginia is ten miles away with lodging, restaurants and its extraordinary collection of bluegrass and old time music traditions providing a memorable evening. Mount Airy and Sparta, North Carolina are also within an hour's drive.