Guide Book 1949
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Blue Ridge Parkway is a unit of the National Park System, which is owned by the people of the United States and administered for them by the National Park Service of the Department of the Interior.


A Scene on the Parkway
Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia-North Carolina
The Four Seasons
What to Do and Where
Mile Posts, Special Information, Entrances
Blue Ridge Parkway by Sections:
     Shenandoah National Park—Roanoke, Va.
     Roanoke, Va. —North Carolina State Line
     Virginia State Line—Linville River, N. C.
     Linville River—Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Regional Map

(click on image for a PDF version)


Enforcement of regulations is a part of the Parkway rangers' job, but the rangers are eager also to help you enjoy your visit. A copy of the regulations may be seen in the superintendent's office. The regulations are for your protection and for the protection of your property—The Parkway.

While on the Blue Ridge Parkway please remember the following:

Fire is the forest's greatest foe; build fires only in places provided, and be cautious generally.

Drive carefully. Speed zones are posted. Not all the guard rail has been built.

The Parkway is for passenger cars. Commercial vehicles may not be used on it.

Park only in parking areas along the way—not on Parkway shoulders unless in emergency.

The flowers, the game, the woods, the land, belong to everyone; please be careful not to damage them.

Address inquiries to: Superintendent, Blue Ridge Parkway, P.O. Box 1710, Roanoke, Va.

Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina.

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, Newton B. Drury, Director

Revised 1949

Fox Hunters Paradise Overlook, North Carolina.


Blue Ridge Parkway, high road through Virginia and North Carolina, designed especially for the leisurely tourist, represents a new conception in roads. It is not an express parkway of the type built about the big cities, but a quiet way through a distinctive part of the American scene—a road intended for gypsy-like travel on the ride-awhile, stop-awhile basis.

You travel the Southern Highlands, a land of forested mountains, exquisite during the flower of spring, cool in the green summer, colorful in the red autumn. The stretches of woodland, the clustered mountains, and the views out to the lowlands are enlivened by the fields and pastures of highland farms, where split rail fences, weathered cabins, and gray barns compose the "hill culture."

Not all is completed of this scenic parkway, the first of its kind to be developed by the Nation; but long portions are paved and were enjoyed by more than a million visitors last year.

Among the national parks in the East are Shenandoah, in northern Virginia, and Great Smoky Mountains, in North Carolina and Tennessee. One of the purposes of the Parkway is to connect these wilderness areas over a mountainous distance of nearly 500 miles. The Parkway, about two-thirds completed, leads through an "elongated park" which protects a roadside of varied highland character. The roadway slopes are naturalistically planted in many places with rhododendron, azalea, white pine, and other native species. Parking overlooks to the side are convenient balconies. Along the Parkway at intervals are recreational areas with picnic grounds, campgrounds, trailer sites, and hiking trails which lead to exhibits of unspoiled nature and to spots of native folk lore.

Native Flame Azalea.

The Four Seasons

The four seasons are definite in the southern mountains, each with qualities which set it apart. The Parkway motor road is open the year round, but is not recommended for winter travel.

SPRING is the favorite season of many in the Blue Ridge, for nowhere is there a greater show of native flowers. In mid-April the shadblow blooms, lacy white on the hillside; but the real procession starts in early May,—pink azalea, dogwood, redbud. In mid-May the flame azalea appears like fire through the undergrowth. Purple rhododendron, native of certain areas in Virginia and prevalent in North Carolina south from The Bluffs, are next to bloom (late May to mid-June). The mountain-laurel is everywhere and breaks during June. The white to pink rhododendron comes later in June and lingers well into July. There are many spring and summer blooming shrubs and ground flowers in the wild places along the Parkway. Among these is the galax,—glory ground cover of the Southern Appalachians.

SUMMER in the Blue Ridge is a refuge from the warm temperatures, the altitude accounting for as much as five degrees of coolness per thousand feet. The eastern mountains, forest covered, are notable for their summer greenery. The intermittent highland valleys are a changing color pattern of growing corn, buckwheat, rye.

AUTUMN comes to the highlands later than you might think. The sumac, gums, the famous southern sourwood, turn brilliant red early in October, but are usually not joined by the colorful display of the hardwoods until the last part of the month, even early November.

WINTER sometimes comes suddenly to the Blue Ridge. Travel then becomes uncertain at best. Ice storms, persistent fogs, and blustery winds make it so. There are many times when the mountains are clear and beautiful, but we advise local inquiry about travel conditions during the winter months before venturing on to the Parkway.

What to Do and Where

Motoring.—Blue Ridge Parkway is meant to serve this American pleasure. In the course of a motor trip along the Parkway, plans should include a stop at one of the several recreational areas for a picnic lunch. Here comfort stations and drinking water will be found from April 15 until the first freeze, usually mid-October. In these areas we suggest a leg stretcher along an easy trail, or there are short trails leading from many of the parking overlooks to selected vantage points.

Picnicking.—Picnic areas, ideal for the family group, include parking spaces, tables, fireplaces, drinking water, and refuse cans. These areas are designated on the maps by the Parkway emblem.

Picnic Grounds. Cumberland Knob, North Carolina.

Tourist Facilities.—Gas stations are being constructed at Rocky Knob, The Bluffs, and Crabtree Meadows. The one at The Bluffs will be ready during the 1949 travel season. Others are located within a short distance of the Parkway on the more important State highways.

At Cumberland Knob, Mile Post 219, there is a sandwich shop operated during the travel season by National Park Concessions, Inc. This company will also operate the coffee shop and lodge being built at The Bluffs, but these facilities may not be available until well into the 1949 travel season.

At the Peaks of Otter, Mile Post 86, a sightseeing bus service is offered by the Peaks of Otter, Inc., from the Parkway to the top of Sharp Top, one of the famous twin Peaks of Otter. Sandwiches, soups, and other like items are sold at the bus station during season.

Tourist facilities along the Parkway are being planned only where accommodations are not reasonably convenient in the towns and cities nearby. For information about accommodations and points of interest in the Blue Ridge Parkway vicinity, write to the Virginia State Chamber of Commerce, Richmond 19, Va., or the State News Bureau, Raleigh, N. C.

Camping.—At Rocky Knob in Virginia and The Bluffs in North Carolina are trailer sites and campgrounds. There you will find tent platforms, fireplaces, garbage receptacles, drinking water, and comfort stations. Camping supplies are not available. Length of stay is not limited.

Highland Pastures, Rocky Knob, Virginia.

Hiking.—Trail systems have been developed in the Parkway recreational areas. At The Bluffs there are more than 20 miles of foot trails, and in each of the other areas from 3 to 5 miles. Grades are easy and can be walked comfortably.

Photography and Painting.—The Parkway opens to you a photogenic and paintable country. Flowers, mountains, valleys, streams, wildlife, and the hill farms are fine subjects.

Fishing.—This is trout country. Rainbow and brook trout haunt many streams up and down the Parkway. State licenses are required. Outside the Parkway boundary State laws apply. Within the Parkway boundary special regulations, covering creel limit, bait, and season, prevail. The season in North Carolina lasts from April 15 through August 31, and in Virginia from April 20 through July 31.

Golfing, Swimming, Tennis.—Facilities for this type of active sport are not provided on the lands of Blue Ridge Parkway, but the Parkway is a convenient way to reach resort areas where there are fine mountain golf courses, tennis courts, saddle horses, lakes, and swimming pools.

Several State areas and forests and portions of the national forests, through which the Parkway winds, have many recreational developments within easy reach of the Parkway.

The Mile Posts

mile post marker

Along paved sections of the Parkway you will observe numbered mile posts. Zero marker is at Rockflsh Gap just south of Shenandoah National Park, and each mile is numbered progressively southwestward on the Parkway. Thus each Parkway mile is identified by a specific number.

Special Information


Interpretive signs carrying the squirrel gun and powder horn symbol will be found at various points along the Parkway where there is a legend, old building, or place of scientific interest.


parkway logo

At the entrance to each of the recreational areas along the Parkway you will find a large carved wooden sign bearing the Parkway emblem. This is also the designation used on the maps herein to locate the recreational areas now ready for use.

Elias Mabry Mill on the Parkway, Virginia.

Shenandoah National Park—Roanoke, Virginia

North of the James River the Parkway winds through large sections of the George Washington National Forest. This scenic route is very spectacular where it crosses the high cliff sections of Humpback Mountain. Purple rhododendron blooms here in early June. Through this region, too, are glimpses of isolated mountain farm groups, as well as distant views to the fertile "bread basket of the Confederacy" in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

The Parkway is paved from Rockflsh Gap south for nearly 46 miles to U S 60. Three small bridges along this route are being constructed, but traffic is maintained with little inconvenience to the traveler.

The Parkway section south of the James River to Roanoke features the lowest point on Blue Ridge Parkway, 670 feet elevation, where it will cross the river, and Thunder Ridge, where it climbs to almost 4,000 feet. South a few miles are the famed Peaks of Otter. This spectacular section lies partly through the Jefferson National Forest.

The famous Appalachian Trail, making its way from Maine to Georgia, touches the Parkway at several points. For detailed information, write the Appalachian Trail Conference, 1916 Sunderland Place, NW, Washington 6, D. C.

Shenandoah National Park conserves a large section of the Virginia Blue Ridge (74 miles southwest of Washington, D. C.). Well known for the Skyline Drive, a road wholly within that park but connecting with the Blue Ridge Parkway at Rockflsh Gap, Shenandoah also has many miles of developed foot trails and varied tourist accommodations. For complete information, address Superintendent, Shenandoah National Park, Luray, Va.

Mile Post
0Rockfish Gap-Junction Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive of Shenandoah National Park.1,909
6Humpback Rocks, craggy rock outcropping. Foot trail from parking area to the Rocks.3,210
15Sherando Lake (George Washington National Forest). Swimming, fishing, picnicking. Turn on VA—814 for 3-1/2 miles.1,500
27Tye River Gap2,969
45.6U S 60 crossing. Parkway grade dead-ends 7 miles south2,312
63.7Junction U S 501 and Parkway section southward670
74.7Thunder Ridge Parking Area. One minute walk to superb view of Arnolds Valley.3,485
76.7High point on the Parkway in Virginia. Apple Orchard Mountain (El. 4,229). Forest Service fire tower.3,950
80Purple rhododendron blooms early June.
83.8Wilkinson Gap. Foot trail to summit Flat Top Mountain takes 1-3/4 hours. Trail down south side of mountain to vicinity Big Spring on VA—43 (1 mile off Parkway) takes 1 hour.2,511
86 Peaks of Otter. Sharp Top (El. 3,875). Flat Top (El. 4,001). Recreational area under development. Sightseeing bus trips to top of Sharp Top; sandwiches, soups, drinks, sold at bus station. VA—43 to Bedford.
90VA—43 to Buchanan. Parkway closed to south. ROANOKE (Magic City). Western Virginia's largest city. Population 100,000. Parkway headquarters.1,000

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Roanoke, Va.—North Carolina State Line

From Adney Gap (19 miles south of Roanoke byway of U S 221) the Parkway is paved south to the State Line and beyond to Deep Gap near Boone and Blowing Rock. This section of Parkway through lower Virginia is notable for its pictures of mountain farming. The Blue Ridge here is a high rolling plateau which breaks in a sharp escarpment toward the east and the lower Piedmont. The Parkway generally follows the crest, which is the water divide between Atlantic and Gulf drainage, affording occasional fine views over the low country. In other places the Parkway recedes into wooded and pastoral valleys of quiet charm.

Mile Post
136Adney Gap. Terminus 140 mile paved section to Deep Gap, N.C.2,690
144Devil's Backbone Parking Overlook. Fine view over farming region.2,685
144.8Pine Spur Parking Overlook. Named for the white pine which is the tree depicted on Parkway emblem.2,703
150Magnificent flame azalea; blooms mid-May.
154.5 Smart View, 500 acres, hiking trails, large picnic grounds, comfort stations, drinking water. The cabin home of T. T. Trail, immediately adjacent entrance road, is picturesque. Rim trail in this area is part of Appalachian Trail system. Smart View is center of Parkway's dogwood bloom in early May.2,500
164Fine azalea show. Also mountain-laurel in late May.
165.2Tuggles Gap. VA—8, turn-off for Fairy Stone State Park 16 miles. Swimming, boating, picnicking.2,752
Rocky Knob, 4,000 acres. Picnicking, camping, trailer sites, hiking, comfort stations, drinking water, fishing 5 miles of Rock Castle Creek. Foot trail from Saddle Parking Overlook (Mile 168) to summit of Rocky Knob (El. 3,570) takes 10 minutes, continues along rim to Grassy Knoll (Mile 170). Fine for flame azalea late in May.3,225
176.1Mabry Mill, grist and sawmill, wheelwright and blacksmith shops, illustrating typical mountain "industrial plant," fascinating and ingenious. Buildings will later be opened for inspection.2,855
177.7Meadows of Dan. U S 58 longest east-west road across Virginia. Inquire locally about Lovers Leap and the Pinnacles of Dan.2,964
189.2Groundhog Mountain Parking Overlook, high point affording 360 view. Observation tower, simulating old tobacco barn. Examples of various types of old chestnut rail fences, such as snake, post and rail, and buck.3,030
189.9Puckett Cabin, home of Arlena Hawks Puckett, storied midwife of the local hills.2,850
199.5Fancy Gap, U S 52, where local products, such as cabbage, are gathered to be trucked down the mountains.2,920

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Virginia State Line—Linville River

The northerly 60 miles shown finished on the map facing this page, like the section north toward Roanoke, thread a country remarkable for its mountain fields and pastures; but the country is more rugged, the Blue Ridge becoming more defined and higher. It is completed as to landscaping between the State Line and The Bluffs. A sandwich shop is open at Cumberland Knob.

Sixty miles of Parkway are available southward from Linville. From Deep Gap, near Boone, it is not far to Blowing Rock and Linville, resort towns at the edge of Grandfather Mountain. This "patriarch," elevation 5,939 feet, is one of the oldest, shaggiest mountains of the Appalachians. The road across Grandfather, US 221, is known as the Black Bear Trail (Yonahlossee in the language of the Cherokee).

Mile Post
216.9North Carolina-Virginia State Line. 2,547
217.5 Cumberland Knob, 1,000 acres, sandwich shop (sandwiches, drinks soups picnic box lunches), picnic area, comfort stations, drinking water 15-minute loop trail to Cumberland Knob (El. 2,855) Loop trail into Gully Creek Gorge, 2 hours.2,740
218.6Fox Hunters Paradise Overlook and Parking Area. 10 minutes by trail to the Paradise, where old-time hunters listened to their hounds.2,805
219Fine display of pink azalea; blooms early May. Flame azalea blooms mid-May.
228Fine beds of pink azalea; blooms early May. This section also fine for mountain laurel in early June.
The Bluffs, 6,000 acres—picnic grounds (Mile 241), campgrounds (Mile 239), trailer sites, comfort stations, drinking water 20 miles of trail. This area affords fine examples of bluegrass downs terminating in precipitous bluffs. Purple rhododendron in meadows and on trails late May. At Mile 238.5 is the picturesque Carolyn Brinegar Cabin. Be sure to visit Wildcat Rocks (Mile 241.1), from which you may look down 1,500 feet upon what was once the homestead of the Caudill family, dramatic exhibit of isolated mountain life. 10-minute trail to Fodderstack Mountain. Gas station and coffee shop open.3,710
271.9Cascades Parking Overlook. Woodland trail along a mountain stream to cascades tumbling several hundred feet. Delightful 8-minute walk.3,570
276.5Deep Gap. Between Deep Gap and Beacon Heights there are good connecting paved roads. The Parkway between Mile Posts 282 and 292 will be paved during 1949.3,140
304.9Beacon Heights. Make inquiry at Linville or Blowing Rock for entrance to Daniel Boone Boy Scout Trail over the seven peaks of Grandfather Mountain for which the larger part of a day must be allowed.3,140
308.2Flat Rock Parking Area. 10-minute trail to superb prospect of Linville Valley and Grandfather Mountain. Easy climb and most worth while. 3,995
316.4Linville River Parking Area. Here is one of the Parkway's largest stone arch bridges, three spans of 80 feet each. Fishing in Linville River under State laws.3,250

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Linville River—Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Parkway between Linville Falls and Asheville traverses one of the great mountain sections of North Carolina where the Blue Ridge, the Blacks, and the Craggy Mountains merge. Mount Mitchell, 6,684 feet in elevation, and the highest peak in the East, is prominent from the Parkway. The large holdings of the Mitchell Division of the Forest Service and the Asheville Watershed have protected the area from despoliation.

Parkway through Devils Garden, North Carolina.

Mile Post
320.7Chestoa View offers an unusually fine view from one of the many vertical cliffs on Humpback Mountain.4,110
339.5Crabtree Meadows, 160 acres lying within the Pisgah National Forest and now partially developed. Hiking, picnicking, and comfort stations available. The 40-minute walk to Crabtree Falls is not to be missed.3,735
355.4Swannanoa Gap, Mount Mitchell State Park. 4.8 miles on spur road. South to Mile Post 367.5 the Parkway is under contract to be completed early in summer of 1949 when this spectacular section will be opened to traffic. Make local inquiry. Paving of the Parkway through the Craggy Mountains is scheduled for 1950, and over the crushed stone surface special care in driving should be exercised.5,185
367.5Bee Tree Gap, turn off for Craggy Rhododendron Gardens. Forest Service development. The peak of the rhododendron bloom is in mid-June. Make inquiries in Asheville for highway connection to Parkway from the city. ASHEVILLE, a leading city in the South. Population, 50,000.4,769
407Mount Pisgah. The Forest Service Pisgah motor road, Cutthroat Gap to Wagon Road Gap, is still open, and 5 miles of Parkway, graded with loose gravel, extend beyond Wagon Road Gap and are available for a "preview."
468The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where the Parkway will one day terminate, is located equally in North Carolina and Tennessee. Its 460,000 acres of mountainous wilds may be viewed from paved roads and many wilderness trails. Tourist accommodations are in nearby towns. Inquire Superintendent, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, Tenn.

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Last Updated: 03-Mar-2009