My wife and I are planning to drive the Blueridge Parkway in mid-October, beginning at the southern end. Can anyone provide any guidance on how many miles per day one could reasonably assume to drive, taking ample time for enjoying the scenery and photo opportunities? Thanks in advance.
#1. "RE: Blueridge Parkway" | In response to Reply # 0Ned_L Charter MemberTue 11-Sep-12 12:35 AM
We need more information. Are you only going to drive it and periodically get out at the overlooks and take photos, or are you going to get out and hike? What do you like to do? Are there particular places along the Parkway you've identified that you plan to stop? Are you continuing up the Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park? Are you planning to try to stay overnight along the drive, and if so do you have reservations already? Are you planning to explore Great Smoky Mountain National Park at the southern terminus of the Parkway? What kind of vehicle do you have; a car, van, recreational vehicle, other? Tell us more about what you'd like to do Harry.
Just as a quick guide, as far as driving goes, the speed limit averages about 45mph if I remember right, but at that time of year everyone is out for the fall foliage and the speed you'll get will probably be about 10mph less, on average.
A Nikonians Team Member
Visit my Travel Photography Blog and my Galleries.
#2. "RE: Blueridge Parkway" | In response to Reply # 0Skyco Nikonian since 12th Mar 2012Tue 11-Sep-12 01:08 AM | edited Tue 11-Sep-12 01:13 AM by Skyco
>My wife and I are planning to drive the Blueridge Parkway in
>mid-October, beginning at the southern end. Can anyone provide
>any guidance on how many miles per day one could reasonably
>assume to drive, taking ample time for enjoying the scenery
>and photo opportunities? Thanks in advance.
For me its not about miles per day at 45 mph and what ever traffic or people on bicycles slowing things up or wildlife on the road. Its just being there. To be honest I prefer the Tennessee side - The Foot Hills Parkway - That said just be there. How long will you want to linger over mountain ridge lines with autumn foliage? Do you want to stop and visit any of the sites along the way? Give yourself plenty of time. In NC we have plenty of waterfalls, Grandfather Mountain and Chimney Rock, all worth a visit. Virginia has nice overlooks and a mill worth stopping at.
I have read posts by people on other forums that they "can do" Yellowstone in a day - day and a half. For me two weeks in Yellowstone is not enough. For me two weeks in the Smokies and Blue ridge mountains are not enough. I hope you can get away from your car - walk some trails even just a little bit - and breath the air. And just be there.
I hope you enjoy the beauty.
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
#3. "RE: Blueridge Parkway" | In response to Reply # 2nodim2 Nikonian since 31st Jul 2006Tue 11-Sep-12 12:42 PM
All good questions and comments, thanks very much. We will be driving a SUV (Honda Pilot). We've visited eastern Tennessee and Western Carolina during the fall, so we're not total strangers to those areas. Our intention is to start at the southern end (we've done the Smoky Mountain National Park before) and take our time, ending up at the Shenandoah Valley, spending a bit of time there (likely a couple of days). Our hiking would be restricted to nothing more than a mile or two off the Parkway, and then only to see something that we thought warranted the walk. The primary purpose is to drive the Blueridge with frequent stops to enjoy the scenery and photo ops (my wife is very patient). We don't have reservations yet. That's what I'm trying to determine when I asked how many miles per day on the Blueridge so I can see what's available at those mile markers. I don't want to feel rushed. We're in no hurry, no schedules to keep, and we want to insure we take our time and enjoy it all. I don't want to come back home and say to myself "I wish we had taken more time".
#4. "RE: Blueridge Parkway" | In response to Reply # 3Skyco Nikonian since 12th Mar 2012Tue 11-Sep-12 03:37 PM
I think your plan sounds really great. I think from my experience driving in the Smokies and Blue Ridge... you might count on 50 miles taking as long as two hours even with traffic moving pretty well and possible photo stops - maybe longer if someone is driving real slow.
May I suggest if the timing fits with your travel, a Hampton Inn in near Dobson NC, in the Yadkin Valley. Its just off HWY 77, 20 minutes from the Blue Ridge Parkway and close to the VA state line. This Hampton Inn is owned by Shelton Vineyards which is also a pleasant place to visit. Mabry Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway is a short drive into Virginia on the Parkway from there. http://www.virtualblueridge.com/parkway_tour/overlooks/00177.asp
I hope this helps. One time I got off the Parkway because the line of cars etc. was long and crawling, so I took a side road to get on the Parkway ahead of the slow vehicles - which kind of worked for a while. My Garmin was unreliable in the mountains so a map with adjacent highways might be good.
Visit my Nikonians gallery.