Hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a National Parkway and All-American Road in the United States, noted for its scenic beauty. It stretches 469 miles (755 km) from Afton, Virginia, in the north to Cherokee, North Carolina, in the south, linking Shenandoah National Park to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The construction began in late 1935 and lasted until 1987 when it was finally finished with the completion of the Linn Cove Viaduct which wraps over 7 miles around Grandfather Mountain. Every year the parkway receives over 12 million visitors and tourists and is renowned for its breathtaking views, abundant wildlife, and also for its cultural and historic regional exhibits.
Not only does the Blue Ridge Parkway offer cultural and historic places, but it is also home to an abundance of recreational areas that offer a wide variety of activities such as camping, picnicking, climbing, fishing and even hiking. There are hundreds of hiking trails to be explored and they range from just a few hundred feet long to almost 15 miles in length. The blue ridge parkway map is here. Some trails are fairly easy and have almost no change in elevation while some of the most strenuous treks feature steep mountain paths and rocky, unstable terrain.
These hiking trails are not for the faint of heart and hikers should prepare in advance just to make sure that they can make the entire journey safely. Make sure you are in good shape and bring enough food and water to keep your energy and hydration at optimum levels.
You can expect to find all sorts of plant life and wildlife all along the many trails scattered throughout the parkway. Because of the more than 6,000′ of elevation change throughout the parkway, the plant life can be vastly different depending on where you are located. best hikes in Blue Ridge mountains Ga.
There is also an abundance of wildlife that can be found if you know just where to look. Animals such as squirrels, whitetail deer, snakes, skunks, hundreds of types of birds, and even black bears are roaming throughout the parkway. If you encounter a black bear, please do not try to approach them as they have been known to be aggressive at certain times.
The Blue Ridge Parkway weather is truly a hiker’s paradise and the things I have mentioned above are just a few of the reasons that make it one of the most popular travel destinations on the east coast. I truly enjoy hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway and I hope you will also.
Brook Trout fishing at the Shenandoah National Park
Along the spine of the Blue Ridge Mountains and bisecting North Virginia is one of the most visited parks in the United States, the Shenandoah National Park (SNP). The SNP is a corridor of land that was resurrected from near ruin and restored to its pristine beauty during the twentieth century.
While the SNP is known for the Mountains to Sea Trail (104 trailheads in total) and the lovely Blue Ridge Parkway that runs through its forested slopes and for its many best hikes in Blue Ridge mountains hiking trails (including the Appalachian Trail), few anglers know about the challenging Brook Trout fishery that awaits them along the many streams that dot the SNP.
The fact that brook trout can be found in Shenandoah Park at all is a bit of a miracle. Brookies rely on the dense streamside cover as well as clear, cold, clean water to thrive. Hikes around Blue Ridge Parkway hikes Virginia were completely denuded of trees in the late 1700s and again in the late 1800s/early 1900s.
Over-harvesting of timber wasn’t reversed to an adequate degree to support a brook trout fishery until as recently as the 1970s. Pollution didn’t help either. Acidification of streams, which is a major problem facing watersheds across the nation, still threatens the brook trout of the SNP. Currently, PH levels hover just a few points above the level which is fatal to brookies.
To get to the Brook Trout of Shenandoah Park means that you have to hike. The main (and only) road follows the ridge of the mountains, and most streams are a mile to 5 miles below the summit. Entry to the Park costs 10 dollars an angler fishing either near the Blue Ridge Parkway, or in Shenandoah National Park must have a Virginia Fishing License, a National Forest Stamp, and a trout stamp.
Also, for camping overnight a back-country camping permit may be needed. Always check with the Park Rangers on your way in to make sure you’re in compliance with all regulations and for safety’s sake as well. A good music lineup is available from the Ranger station and can provide an excellent map of trout streams including those with special designations. Check this! Stories From The Road.
Brook Trout in the park tend to be smaller, gaining size as you move downstream toward larger bodies of water. You’ll find fish ranging from 3 inches up to around 9 inches. Consider a 10-inch trout to be a monster in these waters.
These trout are also skittish and will shy away from sudden moves or non-stealthy behavior.
It’s important to know that most streams in the park are open to fishing but there are a wide range of regulations that apply. Creeling of Trout is allowed in some areas but is generally discouraged due to the sensitive nature of brook trout fisheries. Regulations are subject to frequent change, and it is very wise to check with SNP authorities for any updates to posted regulations or restrictions.
One constant is the single hook artificial lure rule, no live bait. On the western slopes of the Blue Ridge, you’re likely to find brook trout and longer fishing days because of the western exposure. Eastern slope streams have shorter daylight, but in some cases, they will have more liberal creeling allowances. In no case will you be able to keep more than 6 trout in Virginia and the brook trout limit is 9 inches.
Shenandoah Park is a national treasure. While keeping fish may seem attractive, especially larger brook trout nearing the end of their lives, fishermen are encouraged to return all of them to the stream to increase the chances of continued spawning. Tight lines and, as usual, practice “leave no trace”.
Perhaps, as the biggest city in the South, Atlanta doesn’t feel a need to participate in the often-kitschy fall events usually full of scarecrows and pumpkins. Or perhaps the city simply knows its strengths. Blue Ridge Parkway milepost map at quaint mountain towns of North Georgia is only 90 minutes from Atlanta and offers more than enough fall activities and festivals to help any family fill their weekends.
North Georgia, known for the Blue Ridge Mountains, offers far more than the outdoor activities the area is often known for. While the hiking, biking, boating, and water activities are nothing to scoff at, Blue Ridge also offers a variety of festivals and special weekend events.
The events are spread out over September and October, which is a perfect time to visit the area. Fall leaves paint the town and mountains in hues of auburn, red, and gold, and the crunch of them underfoot just screams fall. Cabin rentals in North Georgia are easy to come by, and much more centrally located and homey than a small hotel.
Choosing one of the Blue Ridge Mountain top vacation rentals takes a lot of guesswork out of planning the weekend, as the cabin management or owners will be able to answer any questions about the events and help with planning.
Kicking off the fall season is a Labor Day Barbecue, right in the heart of Blue Ridge. From morning to evening, everyone is invited to feast on barbecue ribs, smoked chicken, and all the traditional sides for under $10, turning this event into an incredible value!
Bluegrass, southern gospel, and mountain music acts will provide entertainment and keep the party going. Blue Ridge Mountain cabins make it easy to enjoy the festivities without facing a night-time drive back to the city.
Toward the end of September, Blue Ridge Park hosts the 9th Annual Wildlife & Nature Art Festival and Outdoor Expo, a two-day affair. Well-known and local artists mingle as they showcase their nature-themed art. Painting, photography, jewelry, sculpture, and wood, glass, or metal material arts make for an exciting weekend of different styles.
Festival goers can purchase and take home a little souvenir that might make their Atlanta home feel just a bit like a Blue Ridge Mountain cabin! Herding dog demonstrations, conservation groups, and a bluegrass/country band will add to the wildlife weekend and keep the fun coming.
Fishing enthusiasts will appreciate the Family Fishing Festival held in September by the Chattahoochee National Fish Hatchery at Rock Creek. During the day-long event, the Hatchery will offer educational exhibits, casting and fly-tying demo classes, and environmental conservation information.
There’s no charge for children to fish, just bring poles and bait- and maybe dinner at your North Georgia cabin rental will be locally caught brook trout!
Most of all get pictures of your outing. When looking for traditional fall events in Georgia remember Blue Ridge Parkway trails near me and cabin rentals in North Georgia make it easy to experience family fun.
ya’ll be safe!
Here are some tips for hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway:
Plan Your Route: The Parkway offers a variety of trails, from easy to strenuous. Some popular hikes include the Humpback Rocks in Virginia, the Craggy Gardens Pinnacle near Asheville, NC, and the Black Balsam Knob at Milepost 420.2.
Check the Weather: Weather can change quickly in the mountains, so it’s important to check the forecast before you go.
Pack Essentials: Bring plenty of water, snacks, a map, and a first aid kit. Wear sturdy shoes and dress in layers so you can adjust to changing temperatures.
Respect the Environment: Stay on marked trails to protect the environment and avoid getting lost. Don’t pick flowers or disturb wildlife.
Safety: Let someone know your hiking plans and estimated return time. Cell service can be spotty in the mountains.
Timing: The Parkway is open year-round, but some sections may be closed in winter due to weather conditions. Fall is a popular time to visit due to the beautiful autumn colors.
Remember, the Blue Ridge Parkway is not just about the destination, but also about the journey. Take your time, enjoy the views, and respect the natural beauty of this national treasure.