The 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway has been called one of the most beautiful drives in America. It also happens to be a drive I have completed end-to-end twice now. If you’ve ever wondered what there was to see and do, where to stay, and how to drive the Parkway, this road trip story is for you.
The 6 Sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway
When I first started writing “Road Trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway” I quickly realized a single road trip story would be gargantuan. Some of my friends suggested I convert the post into an eBook. It was a tempting idea, but it would have meant more work.
Instead I decided to break this 469-mile road trip on the Parkway into six individual road trip sections. Each section is easily accessible from either end, includes where to find food, gas, and lodging, and can easily be used as a one-day road trip.
All of the combined you’ll have everything you need for an exciting drive along the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway. You could potentially complete the Parkway in as little as 3 days, I typically take 6 days, or it could take as long as two weeks.
Section 1: Waynesboro to Lexington (45.6 miles)
This first section is admittedly the sparsest of this road trip. Take your time leaving Waynesboro, maybe find a place with some great coffee, before heading up to the Parkway. Hike out to Humpback Rocks, enjoy the view at Ravens Roost, because you’ll be in Lexington in just a couple of hours.
Section 2: Lexington to Roanoke (74.9 miles)
This section covers some of the highlights of the Parkway like the lowest point at the James River, highest point in Virginia at Apple Orchard Mountain, the exciting Peaks of Otter area, and a couple of gorgeous overlooks on Roanoke Mountain.
Section 3: Roanoke to Galax (94.5 miles)
This section is an easy drive along a low elevation section of the Parkway. It includes a detour into the small town of Floyd, visiting tasting rooms at a couple of wineries, and one of the most iconic destinations on the entire Parkway.
Section 4: Galax to Blowing Rock (77.1 miles)
This long section into Blowing Rock and Boone includes a detour to the cute town of West Jefferson, a waterfall at the end of a short hike, and some beautiful scenic overlooks.
Section 5: Blowing Rock to Asheville (96.7 miles)
This is the longest section of the Parkway and also the most active. It’s my favorite to drive because there is so much to do between the Linn Cove Viaduct, Grandfather Mountain, Linville Falls, Mount Mitchell, and Craggy Gardens.
Section 6: Asheville to Cherokee (80.2 miles)
The final section of the Blue Ridge Parkway begins in Asheville, continues through the beautiful Mount Pisgah area, includes the highest point on the Parkway, and ends in Cherokee at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.