Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway is the name of the road which runs through the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are part of the Appalachian Mountain Range. Blue Ridge Parkway is famous for its incredible scenery, which stretches all along the more than 450 miles of highway that makes up this famous roadway. Due to its beauty and popularity, the land on both sides of the Blue Ridge Parkway is maintained and monitored by the United State Park Service, which keeps the area protected and the road open for scenic driving tours. This is one of the most popular North Carolina tourist attractions and is one of the most frequented parks in the United States.

The Blue Ridge Parkway project first started under the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt, and was originally called the Appalachian Scenic Highway. Construction of the highway was undertaken in part as part of an attempt to jumpstart the American economy and also to provide a scenic view of the Appalachian Mountains which could be enjoyed by car. Despite the fact construction of the highway began in the 1930's, the last section of road was not laid until 1987. Tourists have been able to drive on completed sections of the highway for many years, however. The Blue Ridge Parkway runs through 27 different tunnels, 26 of which are in North Carolina and make up some of the best North Carolina tourist attractions.

Travelers who take the Blue Ridge Parkway for its scenic delights will not likely be disappointed, as there are many Blue Ridge Parkway Overlooks to be enjoyed along the way. When driving down from the north into North Carolina, one of the first great Blue Ridge Parkway Overlooks you will encounter is Cumberland Knob, located about 200 miles in from the north. Here, travelers will find a small parking lot and a few miles worth of trails for walking and stretching out tired legs. Just a few more miles down the way is the Fox Hunters Paradise overlook. These Blue Ridge Parkway Overlooks are named for the fox hunters who used to use this spot to rest and listen to the sounds of their hounds baying down below in the valley. These are both excellent places for pictures of the valley and forest.

Another 30 miles down the road is Doughton Park, which is both an overlook and a campground. Doughton Park is another of the famous North Carolina tourist attractions is known as one of the best places to go along the Blue Ridge Parkway to see deer. Keep driving and you will encounter the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, which has not only hiking trails, but trails for horseback riding and a few area stables where horseback riding trips can be booked. There is also a craft center at this stop.

Wherever you plan to stop along the Blue Ridge Parkway, fall is unquestionably one of the most popular times to visit thanks to the gorgeous colors of the tree leaves. In October, the town of Waynesville, North Carolina hosts the annual Haywood County Apple Harvest Festival, which has apples for sale and bluegrass bands playing for an entire weekend of entertainment. If you feel like driving along with no particular destination in mind, note that you will often see signs at overlooks which show a man with a hiking stick, which is your indicator that you've found a spot with a hiking trail. A few rules do apply along the parkway; no pets without a leash, no fires, and keep your car speed under 45 miles an hour.

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