Last Updated on December 22, 2022 by Jim Ferri
A Blue Ridge Parkway drive is a wonderful road trip.
The incredibly amazing Blue Ridge Parkway runs from Virginia through the Smoky Mountains all the way to Cherokee, North Carolina. There you’ll find the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Asheville, North Carolina.
It’s the most popular drive in America, beautiful scenery all along it with overlooks and amazing vistas the whole way.
By the way, the Smoky Mountains National Park is the most popular National Park in the USA!
Incredible Flora and Fauna
Since the road crosses the peaks of the Smoky Mountains, for the first half of your ride you’re headed uphill, and downhill once you reach the top. Near the peak at Newfound Gap there’s a large, popular turnout providing beautiful vistas over the mountains. When I got there though, it was totally fogged in (although still surprisingly crowded). So I moved on down the road a quarter of a mile and found another beautiful view under the clouds. All along the way I was admiring the patches of Black-eyed Susans that poked their heads up out of the roadside greenery.
And there’s plenty of flora and fauna. In fact, the Great Smoky Mountains has 100 species of native trees, more than in all of northern Europe. That’s in addition to extensive varieties of other flora and fauna.
Astonishingly, scientists currently know only about 17 percent of the plants and animals that live in the park. In fact, that’s about 17,000 species of probably 100,000 different organisms.
It’s a wonderful drive you should certainly take. And if you time it right – driving back to Asheville in the late afternoon – you might come across some elk grazing alongside the road near the Oconaluftee Visitor Center at the eastern entrance.
And you’ll certain want to visit nearby Asheville, a city that renowned for it restaurants.
Come take a Blue Ridge Parkway drive with us…
Editor’s Note: you may also enjoy Asheville, NC – Not Your Typical Small Southern City, Road Trip: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the USA.