USA // The South //

Blue Ridge Parkway

The best way to see the mountains of North Carolina is from the exhilarating Blue Ridge Parkway, which runs across the northwest of the state from Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The peak tourist season for the parkway  is October, when the leaves of the deciduous trees turn vivid shades of yellow, gold and red. Year-round, however, this twisting mountain road – largely built in the 1930s by President Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps volunteers – is a worthwhile vacation destination in itself, peppered with state-run campgrounds, short hiking trails and dramatic overlooks. Although the Parkway is closed to commercial vehicles, the constant curves make it hard to average anything approaching the 45mph speed limit.