South on The Scenic

THE BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY FROM ASHEVILLE TO THE SMOKIES

The section of the Blue Ridge Parkway between Asheville and Great Smoky Mountains National Park sits at a higher elevation than the northern portion. The parkway reaches its highest elevation 6,053 feet just below the summit of Richland Balsam. As the parkway passes through the Great Balsams and the Plott Balsams (Richland is in the Great Balsams), numerous overlooks provide unparalled views.

Route 8

Follow the Blue Ridge Parkway south from Asheville to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. (88 miles)

Read the narrative in Route 7 for general information about the Blue Ridge Parkway. As stated, there is simply so much to see and do on the parkway that any attempt to describe it here would be futile. Read one of the many books about the parkway (see the Further Reading appendix) and spend some time browsing the Internet before you head out.

Particularly scenic and worthwhile stops in the southern section include the Mount Pisgah area, Graveyard Fields, and the Shining Rock region and Waterrock Knob.

George Vanderbilt’s private hunting retreat, Buck Springs Lodge, sits below the soaring Mount Pisgah. Built in 1895, the lodge featured hot and cold running water and electricity from a generator. The building stood until the early 1960s. A short path from the Mount Pisgah Trail parking area accesses the site. Herbert W. Pelton, North Carolina Collection,

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