Frequently Asked Questions
Is the Blue Ridge Parkway a national park?
The National Park Service administers a variety of kinds of areas. Some of these are "parks", some are called "seashores", some are called "monuments" or "historic sites" and some are called "parkways." We wear the same uniform and operate under basically the same rules as Yellowstone, Gettysburg, or Cape Hatteras. Our agency web site at http://www.nps.gov will give you the entire list!
What is the difference between the Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway?
The Skyline Drive is the 105 mile scenic road through Shenandoah National Park. At Afton Mountain, Va. the Skyline Drive heads north and the Blue Ridge Parkway heads south. Look for Milepost 0 on the bridge over U.S. 250.
What are the concrete markers on the roadside?
Those are the "mileposts" that designate each mile of the Parkway from "0" at Afton Mountain to "469" at Cherokee, N.C.
Why can't we pick flowers or gather firewood along the Parkway?
National park areas are set aside to preserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects for the enjoyment of all visitors. From the smallest flower to the trees that fall in the forest are part of the ecosystem of the region that we are charged with protecting. Thanks for doing your part!
Who built the Parkway?
The Parkway was an idea born out of the Great Depression and part of its purpose was to put as many people as possible to work. Private contractors, the state and federal highway departments, Italian and Spanish immigrant stonemasons and thousands of Civilian Conservation Corps enrollees did the work.
When was the Parkway built and how long did it take to get the job done?
Groundbreaking took place in September 1935 and the work was contracted and completed in "sections." By World War II, about one-half of the road was completed and by the 1960s, all but one section was opened to the public. In 1987, the last section was completed around Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina, including the Linn Cove Viaduct at Milepost 304, an environmentally sensitive, award winning bridge.
Why aren't there any more signs showing what is available off of the Parkway?
Part of the beauty and enjoyment of the Parkway is limited access and no commercial signs or vehicles. Short drives off of the Parkway into any nearby community will allow you to experience the charm and delight of the region.
What defines a vehicle as commercial?
Vehicles with any advertisement displayed on the body of the vehicle are not allowed on the BRP. Vehicles that are plain, even if they have commercial tags, are allowed. Tour buses are not considered commercial vehicles and are welcomed on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
What can I do to help protect the Parkway?
Most of all, obey rules and regulations, and make your visit as "low impact" and responsible as possible. You may want to touch base with the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, an organization that works full time helping the Parkway stay the way it is. They would love to hear from you!
Where can I watch meteor showers along the Parkway?
The Blue Ridge Parkway is the perfect place for many things, and one of my favorites is observing meteor showers. We give you some information on how and where to view the Orionids. We hope everyone catches a glimpse of this meteor shower which begins early October and ends the first week of November. View our meteor showers page for more information.