Blue Ridge Mountains

The Blue Ridge Mountains stretch from Georgia to Pennsylvania, a part of the larger Appalachian range, covering a total of eight states. Along the way, you’ll find a pair of fantastic national parks that are worth a visit, especially in the fall. Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains are two of the most visited national parks in the U.S. But that’s just the beginning. The Blue Ridge Parkway a scenic drive with no equal, winds through the mountain range that takes it name from the blue mist that settles over the peaks.

Some 40 peaks in the Blue Ridge Mountains are taller than 6,000 feet in elevation. The tallest is Mount Mitchell in North Carolina, which stands 6,684 feet tall. By contrast, only one mountain in Appalachians aparts from the Blue Ridges is more than 6,000 feet: Mount Washington in New Hampshire. In total, the average elevation in the Blue Ridge is 3,000 feet—pretty impressive when you figure in all of the deep valleys.

Blue Ridge Mountains Virgina

Blue Ridge Mountains Virgina
Blue Ridge Mountains Virgina

Even though the Blue Ridge Mountains cover a span of eight states, they’re closely associated with western Virginia. A stark contrast from the beaches, the entire region is dotted with mountain peaks and towering fir trees. If you want to see the Blue Ridge Mountains, there is no better place than Shenandoah National Park, which encompasses more than 75 miles of scenery running along the crest of the Blue Ridges. Within its boundaries, you’ll find more than 500 miles of hiking trails, welcoming lodges packed with amenities, and tumbling waterfalls. The highlight of the park for many is the Skyline Drive, a byway that winds for 105 miles through the park. Beyond the park, the Blue Ridge Mountains are the landscape that gave birth to country music, which is celebrated with museums and live concerts in Bristol. The arts take center stage in Abingdon, while Blacksburg is the home of Virginia Tech, a serious center of college football.

Blue Ridge Mountains North Carolina

Blue Ridge Mountains North Carolina
Blue Ridge Mountains North Carolina

Moving south, these mountains have long attracted attention of both outdoor enthusiasts and artists. Here, 88 miles of hiking trails follow the Appalachian Trail along the Blue Ridge spine. From the pottery shops to the hiking trails and beyond, this region is delightful place to explore. Asheville, home of the fabulous Biltmore Estate, has grown into am artist colony as much as shopping and dining hotspot. There’s also skiing, wineries, and of course, driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway. In and around the town of Cherokee, today’s visitors can play in the same playground of the Cherokees, where hiking, fly-fishing, and kayaking offer fun during the day. By night or any other time of day, Harrah’s Cherokee casino offers plenty of gaming and dining to enjoy along with that mountain scenery.

Blue Ridge Mountains Georgia

Blue Ridge Mountains Georgia
Blue Ridge Mountains Georgia

In the northern reaches of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the peaks are narrow, rarely more than a mile or two wide. By the time the mountains reach their southern end and turn to the west, they spread out. Some places in north Georgia feature 60-mile-wide swaths of the mountains as well as deep valleys and beautiful waterfalls. This region offers everything you need for a charming getaway, from the cabins and eateries to things to do. Shopping is big here, as is outdoor adventure and the arts. For a fun and relaxing way to explore, consider hopping aboard the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, which follows the Toccoa River through the Cherokee National Forest, from Blue Ridge, Georgia, to McCaysville, Tennessee, and back.

Blue Ridge Mountains Tennessee

Blue Ridge Mountains Tennessee
Blue Ridge Mountains Tennessee

Few places are more identified with mountain vacations as the Smoky Mountains. This sub-range of the Blue Ridge Mountains crosses the Tennessee-North Carolina border. Because of its importance and unique cultural and natural history, this region has been declared a UNESCO World Biosphere Preserve. The Smokies themselves and the national park of the same name are popular places for vacations in any season. It’s one of the best places in the Southeast to find snow, and it doesn’t get too hot here in the summertime. Three vacation-friendly towns, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville have everything you need for a full-fledged vacation. Whether you want to ride the coasters at Dollywood, ski Ober Gatlinburg, or do some outlet shopping, you’ll find in this mountain vacation paradise.

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