The Blue Ridge Parkway is the most visited National Park in the United States and is one of the High Country’s treasures. The 496 mile scenic by-way connects Great Smokey Mountains National Park in North Carolina to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. The Blue Ridge Parkway draws nature enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers. With its numerous parks, miles of hiking trails and stunning scenic overlooks, there are fun endeavors just around every bend! It is no wonder it is commonly referred to as “America’s Favorite Drive”
The 10+ mile section of the Parkway stretching from Blowing Rock, NC (mp 294) to Linville, NC (mp 305.1) is especially popular. There are several parks and attractions but 2 of my favorites areMoses H. Cone Memorial Park and Julian Price Park. Together, the two parks comprise the largest developed area set aside for public recreation on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Offering twenty-five miles of hiking, horse back riding, and carriage trails that wind through the fields and forests of the 3,500-acre estate, this park was created out of the generosity of Moses H. Cone. One of my favorite things to do is take my dog, Bella, walking around Bass Lake, one of the two man made lakes on the property. The Moses Cone Memorial Park is also home to the Parkway Craft Center which is located in the iconic Flat Top Manor House (a.k.a Cone Manor).
Comprised of 4,300-acres situated at the base of Grandfather Mountain, Julian Price Park offers a number of activities! From hiking, fishing, canoeing, camping, guided walks, and evening campfire programs- there is something for all ages and skill levels. The park’s seven trails include the Price Lake Loop Trail (2.7 miles), the challenging 5-miles Boone Fork Loop Trail. The Tanawha Trail (13.5 miles) under the Linn Cove Viaduct and wraps around the southeastern ridge of Grandfather Mountain.
It’s hard to describe the natural beauty of these two parks. I can tell you from experience, that it is a beauty you will never forget, but take your camera!
For more information and interactive trail maps, visit the Blue Ridge National Heritage website.
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