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When Is the Best Time

When Is the Best Time

The best time to visit and drive the Blue Ridge Parkway is from spring to fall. The weather is pleasant, and the possibility of closures on the road is much lower than in the winter months. The peak time for fall colors is in October and early November.

Best known for its fall season colors, the parkway is beautiful and has treasures to offer any time of the year. Even winter can be a nice time to visit as it is possible to see much farther because of the bare trees. 

Spring, summer, or fall are also great times to view the blooming wildflowers along Blue Ridge Parkway. Blooming usually begins in late March at lower elevations and lasts until October.

 

  1. 9 Best Views / Lookouts
  2. Hotel Tips
  3. Seasons & Weather | Monthly Tips
  4. Complete Map

 

Blue Ridge Parkway

Crowd Tip: To avoid the crowds be at the best mileposts early. Stay one night in Boone (check the map at the end of this article): Boone - Blue Ridge Parkway - Hotel Deals.
 

Best Time for Fall Colors

Blue Ridge Parkway
Photo: Linn Cove Viaduct - Blue Ridge Parkway in fall

The best time to catch the peak fall colors is between mid-October and late October. Driving a while on the parkway during this time and being on different elevations will give you almost a 100% chance to view leaf-changing trees.

However, the exact fall color time is difficult to predict as some trees on higher elevations start as early as late-September. However, most trees typically change color during October. Early October fall colors are visible on the highest peaks and advance down into the lower elevations as the month progresses.
 

Best Section on Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway
Photo: Blue Ridge Parkway Asheville view

The best section on the Blue Ridge Parkway is between Cherokee and Blowing Rock. When driving this part, almost every turn has fantastic views, particularly between Cherokee and Asheville.

This applies to driving on the road itself only. The views you experience at various mileposts after short walks and hikes are stunning along the whole Blue Ridge Parkway. However, the above-mentioned section between Cherokee and Blowing Rocks also includes some of the best views at some mileposts: Craggy Gardens, Linville Falls, Linn Cove Viaduct, and more (see below for the list of best views/mileposts).
 

Best Time to Avoid the Crowds

Blue Ridge Parkway Visit Statistics

It's busy on the road in summer and fall. Additionally, mileposts can become crowded.

The best time to avoid the crowds and heavy traffic on the Blue Ridge Parkway is from December to March. However, most visitor centers are closed, and some road sections can be closed. Shoulder months with moderate traffic and crowds are April, May, and November.

Start Early: If you visit in peak summer and fall season, try to start your drive early in the morning. That way, you reach the first mileposts and viewpoints without the heavy crowds. Later in the evening, it's also less busy. Early morning or late afternoon/evening drives also offer amazing views with the light on the mountains and trees.

Avoid Weekends: From spring to fall, it's always a lot busier on the road and at the stops during the weekends. If your schedule allows it, try to drive the parkway during the week. 

Extra Tip: At many mileposts/views, you can find short and easy (sometimes longer) hikes that leave most of the crowds behind.
 

How Many Days Are Needed

Blue Ridge Parkway

It takes 4-5 days to drive the entire 469 miles on Blue Ridge Parkway, spending enough time to stop often enough along the way and visit various attractions. Three days is the recommended minimum amount of time for the whole drive if your schedule won't allow more.

Without any stops or delays, the time to drive the whole Blue Ridge Parkway is about 15 hours. However, this is not advised, and you wouldn't enjoy the parkway.
 

Visiting/Driving in Off-Season | Closures in Winter

Blue Ridge Parkway
Photo: Section of Blue Ridge Parkway closed in winter

While the Blue Ridge Parkway is open year-round, some sections may get closed in winter due to severe weather conditions. Even when the weather is pleasant at lower elevations, closures are possible at higher elevations due to the colder and windier conditions. On the other hand, winters can also be mild in this region.

Visitor centers are also closed between November and April, except the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center near Asheville and two others. Find a complete list here: Official NPS - Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Centers

Check road conditions via the interactive map: NPS - Blue Ridge Parkway Real-Time Status. Campgrounds are open from April/May until the end of October.

Road Closures Outside Winter Months: Closures along the parkway can also happen during late spring, summer, or early fall without ice or snow. Downed trees are the most common cause for closed sections of the road.

 
9 BEST BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY VIEWS (Mileposts)

Besides dozens of other amazing views and spots, we provide you with tips and details of the 9 best views and spots along Blue Ridge Parkway. From north to south.

1. Mabry Mill

Blue Ridge Parkway

  • Milepost 176
  • Restaurant: Yes, open May - October
  • Visitor Center: No
  • Campground: No
  • Hiking Trail: 0.5 miles (easy)

Mabry Mill is located at milepost 176 at Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s a wooden mill from the early 1900s with a still spinning water wheel and is one of the most picturesque and iconic views along the parkway.

Best Time: In fall, the surrounding fall colored trees provide a unique photo opportunity making it a great time to visit. Otherwise, it’s a fantastic year-round destination.

Tips: The restaurant is great. However, in the peak season between summer and fall, the waiting time is up to an hour on weekends. Try to visit mid-week.

The parking lot at Mabry Mill is quite large, making it easier to find a spot during the busy season.
 

2. Doughton Park

Blue Ridge Parkway
Photo: Sunset from Doughton Park

  • Milepost 238.5 - 241
  • Restaurant: Yes, The Bluffs Restaurant is open May - October
  • Visitor Center: Yes, open May - October
  • Campground: Yes, open May - October
  • Hiking Trail: Over 30 miles of hiking trails between 2 - 6 miles (easy-moderate)

Doughton Park is found between miles 238.5 and 241 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Visitors stop here to see the Brinegar Cabin, craft demonstrations, and hike the extensive network of trails. The park offers gorgeous views across the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Best Time: In the spring at Doughton Park, the flowers are in full bloom. Witness the rhododendrons and flame azalea bloom.

Tips: It is one of the best places along the Blue Ridge Parkway to view white-tailed deer, raccoons, red and grey foxes.

During the summer months, camp under the stars for an awe-inspiring milky way view or listen to one of the ranger talks. Carve some time out here to enjoy the various trails, which offer something for different hiking abilities spread over 30 miles of trails.
 

3. Cascade Falls (The Cascades)

Blue Ridge Parkway
Cascades at E.B. Jeffress Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway by Patrick Mueller - CC BY-2.0

  • Milepost 272
  • Restaurant: No
  • Visitor Center: No
  • Campground: No
  • Hiking Trail: 1.2 miles (easy)

Cascade Falls is situated at mile 272 of the Blue Ridge Parkway at E.B. Jeffress Park. It offers a short and easy trail that leads down to the falls. The view of this waterfall is definitely worth the short hike.

Best Time: Try to arrive early at this year-round destination to avoid the crowds.

Tips: The overlook at the falls can only be reached by taking the short hike. Stick to the main trail throughout the hike for safety and comfort.
 

4. Linn Cove Viaduct

Blue Ridge Parkway
Photo: Linn Cove Viaduct in fall - Blue Ridge Parkway

  • Milepost 304
  • Restaurant: No
  • Visitor Center: Yes, but closed in 2021
  • Campground: No
  • Hiking Trail: Various walks and trails, including the 13.5-mile Tanawha Trail (moderate - hard)

Linn Cove Viaduct is located at mile 304 of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The stop offers a visitor center and the challenging 13.5-mile Tanawha Trail. Visitors can hike part or all of the trail.

Tips: Explore the bridge museum and visitor center when they are open to learn more about this seven-mile long section of the Blue Ridge Parkway. A model of the construction technique is displayed in the Linn Cove Visitor Center.

Take the hiking trail from the visitor center to enjoy an up-close view of this engineering accomplishment.
 

5. Linville Falls

Blue Ridge Parkway
Photo: Linville Falls - Blue Ridge Parkway

  • Milepost 316
  • Restaurant: No
  • Visitor Center: Yes, open April to October
  • Campground: Yes, open April to October
  • Hiking Trail: Choose from multiple trails between 0.5 - 2 miles (easy-moderate)

Linville Falls can be discovered at milepost 316 of the Blue Ridge Parkway. It offers multiple short trails for visitors leading to fantastic views of the most popular and biggest waterfall on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Best Time: Visit during the fall to experience the fall colors on the trails. Otherwise, it’s a popular year-round destination.

Tips: Arrive early to explore this area, which is home to the most famous waterfall on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Each of the trails offers something different for visitors, and the Erwins View Trail is a 1.6-mile round-trip that has four overlooks to experience.

Swimming and climbing on the rocks here are prohibited and extremely dangerous.
 

6. Mount Mitchell

Blue Ridge Parkway
Photo: Mount Mitchell - Blue Ridge Parkway

  • Milepost 355.4
  • Restaurant: Yes, open May to October
  • Visitor Center: No
  • Special: Natural History Museum
  • Campground: No
  • Hiking Trail: Choose from multiple trails of various lengths and difficulties (easy - hard)

Mount Mitchell is located at mile 355.4 of the Blue Ridge Parkway. It has the highest peak in the east of the US, with an elevation of 6,684 ft. The 360° view is remarkable.

Best Time: Visit all-year-round, but try to choose a day with good weather for the clearest 360-degree views. On a foggy day, visibility will be poor.

Tips: Visit the Natural History Museum on the park’s grounds to learn more about the area's wildlife and weather. For anyone who doesn’t want to walk, the stone observation platform can be accessed from the parking lot by a 500 ft ramp.

The restaurant offers good food and views, so it is ideal for a stop after your hike. If you plan to hike one of the more challenging trails, prepare yourself for the higher elevation and cooler climate.
 

7. Craggy Gardens

Blue Ridge Parkway
Photo: Summer sunset at Craggy Gardens - Blue Ridge Parkway

  • Milepost 364
  • Restaurant: No
  • Visitor Center: Yes, open April to October
  • Campground: No
  • Hiking Trail: Choose from three trails between 1 - 8 miles in length (easy-moderate)

Craggy Gardens is found at mile 364 of the Blue Ridge Parkway. This unique stop offers views like nowhere else on the route, and the area is popular for its collection of rhododendrons.

Best Time: The best time for rhododendrons is early to mid-June. Hike the short Craggy Gardens Trail for the best view.

Tips: Enjoy one of the most unique stops on the Blue Ridge Parkway, where you can enjoy a picnic lunch surrounded by stunning scenery.

After just a short twenty-minute walk, you’ll enjoy 360-degree views from Craggy Pinnacle.
 

8. Asheville (Visitor Center)

Blue Ridge Parkway
Photo: Spring flowers south of Asheville

  • Milepost 384
  • Restaurant: No
  • Visitor Center: Yes, open all year round
  • Campground: No
  • Hiking Trail: 1.4-mile loop trail (easy)

The Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center near Asheville is located at mile 384 of the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s open all year round and offers everything visitors may need to plan a trip in the area.

Tips: Take the time to speak to a ranger and pick up a map of the area. They'll give you tips about driving and the best views along the parkway. There’s also an informative film about the park and exhibits to explore. The short loop trail is well worth your time and connects to the 1175-mile Mountains-to-Sea trail.

Must-Know: The visitor center has no eating or sleeping options. The best alternative for staying a night is in Asheville:

 

9. Waterrock Knob

Blue Ridge Parkway
Photo: Waterrock Knob

  • Milepost 451.2
  • Restaurant: No
  • Visitor Center: Yes, open April - October
  • Campground: No
  • Hiking Trail: 1.2-mile loop trail (moderate)

Waterrock Knob is located at mile 451.2 of the Blue Ridge Parkway and at 5,820 feet. The 1.2-mile hiking trail (round-trip) from the visitor center leads to the parkway's highest point with an outstanding view.

Located at 5,820 feet, Waterrock Knob is also the Parkway's highest visitor center. Known for its beautiful long-range views of several major mountain chains in the Appalachians, Waterrock Knob is uniquely suited for viewing sunrises and sunsets. The visitor center introduces the area's rugged terrain and tremendous scenes.

Best Time: Visit for sunrise or sunset to enjoy the spectacular views from Waterrock Knob. Avoid visiting in the winter, as this section often closes due to snow or ice.

Tips: Wear layers for the short hike, especially during the early morning or late afternoon. Pack a picnic to enjoy the spectacular views during lunch at one of the picnic spots here.

The hike is of a moderate level, but going up can be quite a workout for some individuals. There is a paved trail throughout, but you’ll want to wear appropriate walking shoes.

 
Hotel Tips at Blue Ridge Parkway

Expert tip: Stay one night! That way you can start early in the morning and avoid the crowds at the best viewpoints. Where to stay? Either in Asheville (south) or in Boone/Blowing Rock (middle). You can find a Blue Ridge Parkway map at the end of this article to check the locations. Boone is just north of Linn Cove Viaduct. Why Boone or Asheville? The best views and milepost are in the section between Boone and Asheville. Depending on where you're coming from, book one night in either Boone or Asheville. Reservations (book early enough if you visit in summer or fall): Asheville - Hotels with Price Guarantee (via booking.com) or Boone  - Hotel with Price Guarantee (via booking.com). Boone is just a few minutes drive to Linn Cove Viaduct. 

Booking.com

Booking.com

Where and Tips

Virginia & North Carolina
United States
 
Season Guide and Weather Details

Blue Ridge Parkway Weather Charts

The weather on the Blue Ridge Parkway varies a lot throughout the year, with warm summers and cool winters. Additionally, as you’ll be traveling between various elevations, expect the temperature to drop significantly in areas of high elevation.

Scientific Fact: On average, the temperature drops by about 5°F for every 1,000 feet you go up in elevation. You can see the temperature differences in the three Blue Ridge Parkway weather charts above from three different mileposts at different elevations.

Pack accordingly and wear layers when hiking at higher elevations, such as at Mount Mitchell.

 

Spring

Blue Ridge Parkway

Spring in Blue Ridge Parkway sees an average high temperature of 75°F at a low elevation and 43°F at a high elevation. The average low temperature is 26°F at a high elevation and up to 53°F in areas of a low elevation.

March is still quite cool in the Blue Ridge Parkway, with many facilities along the route not opening until April or May each year. If you are visiting during March and April, expect camping and dining options to be very limited. However, at some stops on the parkway, the flowers are in bloom and are a spectacular sight to see in the spring.
 

Summer

Blue Ridge Parkway

During summer on the Blue Ridge Parkway, the average high temperature is 85°F at a low elevation and 67°F at a high elevation. The average low temperature is 53°F at a high elevation and up to 65°F at a low elevation.

Summer is one of the best times to visit Blue Ridge Parkway, and all the facilities will be open and fully functioning at this time. Crowd levels are higher, so you’ll want to book ahead for popular campsites or hotels. The more challenging hiking trails may be more strenuous during this time of year due to the higher temperatures.
 

Fall

Blue Ridge Parkway

Fall on the Blue Ridge Parkway sees an average low temperature of 38°F at a high elevation and up to 46°F at low elevation levels. The average high in fall is 68°F at a low elevation and 47°F at a high elevation.

Fall is a popular time to visit the Blue Ridge Parkway due to the beautiful fall foliage you can experience along the road. The best time to view the fall colors is between October and early November.

Facilities remain open until October in most locations, and you’ll be able to camp and enjoy dining on the route until this time. Temperatures do become cooler in October, so you’ll want to pack layers for hiking at a high elevation.
 

Winter

Blue Ridge Parkway

In winter, on Blue Ridge Parkway, the average high temperature is 49°F at a low elevation and 39°F at a high elevation. You’ll find all of the campgrounds are closed during the winter, but trails remain open during this time.

Sections of the road may close if there is a lot of snow or ice, but trails are usually still accessible.

The Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center near Asheville at milepost 384.5 is open all year round. This is a good resource for anyone visiting during this time. You can also stop by the North Carolina Museum of Minerals during winter weekends, found at milepost 330.9. At mile 382.2, you’ll find the Folk Art Center, which is open daily until the end of December, and then every day except Monday from January to mid-March.

You can enjoy various activities on the Blue Ridge Parkway in the winter, which are only available during this season. This includes snowshoeing, sledding, cross country skiing, or just walking and admiring the snowfall. There’s also ice climbing available for anyone who is a little more daring during the winter months.

 

Tips for Each Month | Blue Ridge Parkway Calendar

Every month on the Blue Ridge Parkway is an amazing experience. Quote from a visitor who read our tips:

‘We visited in May. Did short hikes only at the mileposts and the views were amazing! Get a paper map at the visitor center and head out early. Stop at the overlooks and eat at one of the picnic areas. Your tips helped us so much!’
 

January
  • Average High Temps: 35°F at high elevations / 47°F at low elevations
  • Possibility of Closed Road Sections: Medium – High
  • Visitor Centers and Restaurants: Closed (Asheville is open)
  • Crowds: Low

Blue Ridge Parkway

The average high temperature in January on the Blue Ridge Parkway is 35°F at high elevations and 47°F at low elevations. It’s the coldest month to visit, and parts of the roads may be closed due to snow and ice.

In January, all of the campgrounds are closed, and only three visitor centers are open at this time of year. This makes planning a trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway slightly more challenging. However, temperatures in winter can still be mild at low elevations.

The Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center near Asheville is a good starting point for a January visit, and the rangers here can advise you on the current availability of trails. January is the quietest month to visit the Blue Ridge Parkway all year, so you’ll enjoy uncrowded trails throughout the route.

January Tip: Thanks to the bare trees, you can see further and admire the spectacular views throughout the route. This applies to every winter months!
 

February
  • Average High Temps: 37°F at high elevations / 50° at low elevations
  • Possibility of Closed Road Sections: Medium – High
  • Visitor Centers and Restaurants: Closed (except near Asheville)
  • Crowds: Low

Blue Ridge Parkway

 

In February, on Blue Ridge Parkway, the average high temperature is 37°F at high elevations and 47°F at low elevations. Snow and ice are still expected this month, limiting the facilities and visitor centers open.

February offers very similar conditions to January on the Blue Ridge Parkway. When the weather is good in February, you’ll enjoy the benefits of visiting this area during a time of low crowds and light traffic. Visitors find this to be a peaceful time to experience the Blue Ridge Parkway and enjoy seeing the winter beauty of Craggy Gardens and Mount Mitchell.

If it’s rainy, foggy, or snowy during your visit, hiking can be a little more challenging, but there are also some fun snow sports for visitors in winter.

February Tip: This is one of the quietest months to visit the area, and you’ll appreciate the lack of traffic on the roads. You’ll enjoy experiencing the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Parkway without the crowds that are here in the summer on the roads and at the lookouts.
 

March
  • Average High Temps: 43°F at high elevations / 58° at low elevations
  • Possibility of Closed Road Sections: Medium
  • Visitor Centers and Restaurants: Closed (Asheville is open)
  • Crowds: Low – Moderate

Blue Ridge Parkway

The average high temperature on the Blue Ridge Parkway in March is 43°F at high elevations and 58°F at low elevations. The weather is starting to improve this month, making hikes or walks enjoyable on most trails.

March is the final month of the year where most facilities on the Blue Ridge Parkway are closed. The temperatures have improved since the start of the year, and the possibility of road closures decreases significantly. Visiting in March is generally considered a bit early in the popular season, but you’ll still enjoy beautiful views.

The crowds are still relatively low during this time of year but will increase during periods of good weather and around Spring Break. Expect higher crowds around the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center near Asheville, as this is open throughout the year.

The blooming flowers the route is known for don’t appear this early in the year, but hiking is enjoyable this month on a sunny day.

March Tip: As the trees are quite bare still, you can enjoy spectacular views from the trails. You may still see ice hanging off rocks on the parkway, but this doesn’t impact driving or the roads as often as in the winter months.
 

April
  • Average High Temps: 51°F at high elevations / 67° at low elevations
  • Possibility of Closed Road Sections: Low
  • Visitor Centers and Restaurants: Many facilities reopen this month for the season
  • Crowds: Moderate

Blue Ridge Parkway

In April, on the Blue Ridge Parkway, the average high temperature is 51°F at high elevations and increases to 67°F at low elevations. Snow and ice are unlikely this month, and visitors enjoy pleasant touring conditions for hiking and driving.

April is the very start of the season for the Blue Ridge Parkway. Crowd levels are still reasonably low, so you’ll find it a great time to experience the views at most stops without excessive crowds.

This month marks the start of facilities reopening for the summer season. If you are planning to camp this month, choose from Price Park Campground or Linville Falls Campground. All other camping facilities remain closed until May. As far as visitor centers, Moses Cone Manor House, Craggy Gardens Visitor Center, and Waterrock Visitor Center open in the middle of the month.

April Tip: The flowers are beginning to bloom in April, and visitors compliment how beautiful the area looks at this time of year when hiking and driving. Stop by the Biltmore Blooms near Asheville en route to admire the stunning spring displays.
 

May
  • Average High Temps: 59°F at high elevations / 75° at low elevations
  • Possibility of Closed Road Sections: Low
  • Visitor Centers and Restaurants: All open by the end of the month
  • Crowds: Moderate-High

Blue Ridge Parkway

The average high temperature in May on the Blue Ridge Parkway is 59°F at a high elevation and rises to 75°F at low elevations. The weather is perfect this month for hiking throughout the Blue Ridge Parkway without getting too hot on the trails.

May sees quite a surge in crowds in comparison to the earlier months. By the middle to end of the month, all facilities are now open for the summer. The drive is easy throughout May, and visitors don’t find the traffic to be too heavy on the roads. Flowers are continuing to bloom this month, making it one of the most spectacular times of the year to visit the area.

May Tip: The month's start is much quieter on the trails and roads, as some campgrounds don’t open until the end of May. However, by May 14, all picnic areas on the route are open.
 

June
  • Average High Temps: 65°F at high elevations / 82° at low elevations
  • Possibility of Closed Road Sections: Low
  • Visitor Centers and Restaurants: All open
  • Crowds: High

Blue Ridge Parkway

When traveling along the Blue Ridge Parkway in June, you’ll experience a high temperature of 82° at low elevations and 65°F at high elevations. Temperatures can be warm for hiking at low elevations but are very pleasant for higher locations such as Mount Mitchell.

June is one of the busy months on the Blue Ridge Parkway. All facilities are open, so there are no limitations on your trip. However, you’ll find roads to be busier than in previous months. Get up early to enjoy at least some viewpoints at the mileposts before crowds descend later on in the day.

June Tip: The floral displays are at their best at this time of year, and Craggy Gardens is the top destination to visit to admire this natural wonder. The peak of the rhododendron blooms here is in the third week of the month, but earlier in the month, visit the Peaks of Otter area to see these purple flowers.
 

July
  • Average High Temps: 67°F at high elevations / 85° at low elevations
  • Possibility of Closed Road Sections: Low
  • Visitor Centers and Restaurants: All open
  • Crowds: High

Blue Ridge Parkway

In July, the average high temperature on the Blue Ridge Parkway reaches 67°F at high elevations and rises to 85°F at low elevations. This is the hottest month of the year for visiting the area and can make hiking at low elevations more challenging.

July is a busy time. It gets crowded at mileposts together with lots of traffic on the road. Temperatures are at their peak this month. While this is good for exploring at high elevations, it can be challenging to hike at low elevations.

All facilities are open during this month, but due to the summer break, ensure you book early for campsites. Tweetsie Railroad puts on an excellent 4th July celebration with fireworks. Roads are a lot busier, so be prepared for this when traveling with children during the summer. Even short and easy hiking trails are less crowded than the popular spots, which are just at the parking lot.

July Tip: Visitors praise the beautiful blooms in July, and around Rocky Knob, you’ll admire the Rosebay rhododendrons. The trees are full of leaves during this time, so views are sometimes more limited at lower elevations than in winter.
 

August
  • Average High Temps: 66°F at high elevations / 84° at low elevations
  • Possibility of Closed Road Sections: Low
  • Visitor Centers and Restaurants: All open
  • Crowds: Very High

Blue Ridge Parkway

In August, on the Blue Ridge Parkway, the average high temperature is 66°F at high elevations and reaches 84°F at low elevations. Expect high rainfall in August, and rain is expected about half of the days this month.

Crowds remain the same in August as the previous month, so expect stops, parking areas, campsites, and roads to be busy throughout the month. Especially on weekends!

The rain may cause more disruption to your journey and is particularly challenging for campers. It varies between misty showers and downpours, but you’ll want to have rain gear to hand throughout the month. Views will be limited at high elevations when it’s foggy and rainy, such as at Mount Mitchell.

In August, you’ll still enjoy the benefits of all the facilities throughout the route. Many cyclists take to the roads this month, which is something to be aware of when driving.

August Tip: Try to avoid weekends for a less crowded time and for at least a little lighter traffic on the roads. Also, start your drive early after spending the night in Boone or Asheville (check our hotel tips above).
 

September
  • Average High Temps: 62°F at high elevations / 77° at low elevations
  • Possibility of Closed Road Sections: Low
  • Visitor Centers and Restaurants: All open
  • Crowds: High

Blue Ridge Parkway

When visiting the Blue Ridge Parkway in September, you’ll enjoy a high temperature of 77° at low elevations and 62°F at high elevations. With pleasant daytime temperatures and less rainfall, this is a good month for hikers and campers to visit.

The rain from August generally subsides in September, but the crowds grow even higher this month. However, it’s a great time to visit before the busiest month of the year in October.

The cooler and dryer days make hiking more manageable at low elevations. In mid-September, there are two large car shows near the Smoky Mountains, which make traffic on the roads very heavy.

September Tip: You won’t get to experience the fall foliage in September and should expect the trees to be 95% covered in green leaves. If you are lucky, you may see some fall foliage at the very end of the month at high elevations, which is one of the most stunning sights of the whole year in the Blue Ridge Parkway.
 

October
  • Average High Temps: 55°F at high elevations / 68° at low elevations
  • Possibility of Closed Road Sections: Low
  • Visitor Centers and Restaurants: All open
  • Crowds: Very High
  • Special: Peak Fall Color Time

Blue Ridge Parkway

The average high temperature on the Blue Ridge Parkway in October is 55°F at high elevations and increases to 68°F at low elevations. The temperatures are pleasant throughout the month, and the minimal rain makes it a good time to view the fall foliage.

Temperatures do drop quite a bit at night during October, so you’ll want to be prepared for this if you are camping. It’s not uncommon for light frost or snow to appear towards the end of the month in colder years.

October is the busiest month of the year on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Crowds flock to the area to view the fall foliage, which is on full display by the middle of the month. This is the final month where all the campsites, restaurants, picnic areas, and visitor centers are open. You can still enjoy a full experience here this month, but you’ll need patience on the roads and stops during the day.

October Tips: At the start of the month, the fall colors are most visible at high elevations and then progress down to low elevations as the month goes on. Start your day early during October, which is well worth it for the spectacular views on the drive thanks to the lighting on the mountains at this time of day. Also, try to avoid visiting on weekends. This is the last month of the year where you’ll see blooming flowers on the roads and trails.
 

November
  • Average High Temps: 47°F at high elevations / 58° at low elevations
  • Possibility of Closed Road Sections: Medium – High
  • Visitor Centers and Restaurants: Mostly Closed (except near Asheville and a few exceptions until mid-November)
  • Crowds: Moderate-High

Blue Ridge Parkway

Along the Blue Ridge Parkway in November, you’ll experience a high temperature of 58° at low elevations and 47°F at high elevations. The risk of snow and ice increases during this time, potentially resulting in closures of parts of the road.

The start of the month still sees relatively high crowd levels on the Blue Ridge Parkway in November. Visitors enjoy seeing the last of the fall foliage but at a slightly lower crowd level than in October.

As far as visitor centers, Moses Cone Manor House, Craggy Gardens Visitor Center, and Waterrock Visitor Center remain open until November 14. The Asheville Visitor Center stays open all year round.

All campsites are closed this month, as are the majority of picnic stops. Visitors enjoy the quieter crowd levels at this time of year and admiring the end of the fall foliage mixed with the wintery atmosphere. Most hikers find the temperature mild enough this month to enjoy the trails, especially at low elevations.

November Tip: In early November, the fall color explosion is still present at certain spots and elevations. However, it's usually still busy. Later in November, the leaves are gone, but it's also quieter. You can see miles without the leaves.
 

December
  • Average High Temps: 39°F at high elevations / 49° at low elevations
  • Possibility of Closed Road Sections: High
  • Visitor Centers and Restaurants: Mostly Closed (except near Asheville)
  • Crowds: Low

Blue Ridge Parkway

In December, on the Blue Ridge Parkway, the average high temperature is 39°F at high elevations and 49°F at low elevations. The chance of snow and ice increases this month, so closed road sections are more likely.

Crowd levels drop dramatically in December on the Blue Ridge Parkway, making it one of the quietest months to visit. The road is much quieter in December.

The only visitor centers that remain open this month are the ones near Asheville, but you can still tour the grounds of the Brinegar Cabin and Mabry Mill Cultural Site. If heavy snowfall appears, enjoy winter sports such as cross country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, and ice climbing.

December Tip: While road closures may occur at this time of year, you can still drive to many mileposts, even when others are closed. Visitors will appreciate the quieter trails and the wide-open views once the trees have lost their leaves.

 

 
Map of Blue Ridge Parkway 

Blue Ridge Parkway
Map by National Park Service

 

469 miles of beauty, extending across 29 Virginia and North Carolina counties, offering everything from amazing drives, breathtaking views, picnic areas, waterfalls, wildlife opportunities..and the list goes on. I was fortunate to drive the entire 469 miles (and an additional 110 miles of Skyline drive in Shenandoah National Park) during my stay in North Carolina. The parkway has something to offer every season of the year, although it does get a little crowded in Fall (and not for nothing).

 

Must-Know Facts
  • There is no entrance fee.
  • The speed limit is 45 miles per hour or less on some sections. Blue Ridge Parkway was designed for slow and comfortable driving. It's an extraordinary experience, so take your time.
  • Mileposts are numbered from north to south. A milepost identifies the location.
  • Take your time at the overlooks. Even if you have to hike or walk: most hikes to outstanding overlooks are quite short.

Photos

Comments

SandyH

This is truly an amazing year-round destination. But you are right Ganesh, fall is an exceptional season. Colors start changing end of September until mid, sometimes late November. Here is a nice colors tracker: http://www.blueridgeparkwaydail…

Sarah1

Beautiful fall colors!

Ganesh Subramaniam

Spring has its own beauty with everything turning green.. and so does winter.. when everything you see is black and white... :) :)

The first 2 pics are of the same waterfalls.. in different seasons..

LucyB

Gorgeous!

Jonathan Dooley

Anytime of the year on The Blue Ridge Parkway is amazing!!! Every season has something to offer and it's own beauty. No matter when it is you decide to go it will not let you down with its numerous breathtaking overlooks and magical waterfalls spanning the entire length of the parkway it's an amazing drive that will leave you wanting to return for the seasons to come. Below are a few of my photos I took on my adventure along the parkway this past weekend with some friends and although the snow clouds took away from some of our overlooks we still had an awesome time and had a blast check them out. Also if you like the photos and would like to see more visit my instagram and follow me @theadventureprofessional thanks and I hope this comment was helpful in your decision to visit the beautiful blue ridge parkway.

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