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Blue Ridge Parkway/Southwest Virginia

Take a spin on America’s favorite drive

There’s a reason the Blue Ridge Parkway is the most visited highway in the National Park System. From its spellbinding views of the Blue Ridge Mountains to historic landmarks that give you valuable insight into Virginia’s vibrant past, this 469-mile route will take you on a journey unlike any other. Located just 10 minutes from downtown Roanoke and with eight entry points scattered throughout the state, this renowned scenic drive is a breeze to get to and connects you to a wealth of exciting destinations.

Where Nature and History Blend

If you start your journey at the north end of the parkway, be sure to stop by Humpback Rocks for panoramic views of the rugged Appalachian Mountains. The area also served as an important landmark in the 1800s, guiding wagon trains past the Howardsville Turnpike — traces of the centuries-old route can still be seen today. Humpback Rocks is also home to numerous hiking trails and an outdoor farm museum that sheds light on mountain farming in the 19th century.

Lovers of the great outdoors should visit James River and Otter Creek. Here, you can get closer to a variety of plants and wildlife along the Trail of Trees, James River Canal Trails and Otter Lake Loop.

No trip along Blue Ridge Parkway is complete without a visit to Mabry Mill. This structure once operated as a sawmill, gristmill and community center for the Meadows of Dan region. Today, it’s a gathering place for musicians and dancers on Sunday afternoons. Walk on the trail near the mill to find historical exhibits.

Listen to the Best in Bluegrass

Bluegrass is big here, and for good reason. The area has produced more bluegrass musicians per capita than anywhere else. At the Blue Ridge Music Center in Galax, you’ll be pulled in by the sweet sounds of the fiddle, banjo and guitar. Inside, visitors can enjoy live performances, explore interactive exhibits and watch films in the theater.

If your ears are craving more, head to Ferrum on the fourth Saturday in October for the Blue Ridge Folklife Festival. Featuring performers, artisans, foods and an array of activities, this charming festival celebrates Blue Ridge’s folk traditions and musical heritage.

For More Information

Blue Ridge Parkway Association



Virginia Tourism Corporation