I am thankful that I live just a few miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s super easy for me to get to and it’s so beautiful for a nice, scenic drive. For those of you new to the Blue Ridge Parkway, you need to know that it is much different than many other roads you might have traveled. Here are some Blue Ridge Parkway safety tips to help you enjoy your time spent on this scenic byway as safely as possible.
Blue Ridge Parkway Safety Tips & Seasonal Operations Schedule
With the fall season in full swing on the Parkway, traffic volume and many of the features that make the Parkway great, can also present hazards during this busy time of year. Please use additional caution and be prepared for delays during this beautiful time of year. Below are some tips for an enjoyable visit:
Driving on the Parkway is different than most roads. Its unique design includes many steep grades, limited sight distances, and beautiful, built in distractions. Keep speeds within posted limits and be prepared for heavy traffic. Share the road with all users and remember that everyone is there to enjoy the park. Use pull-outs and overlooks to take in the views rather than stopping in the roadway.
Hikers should stay on established trails; please leave no trace of your visit. Check the weather forecast before you head out for the hike. Mountain weather is often difficult to predict and can change without notice. Pack layers and light sources, especially when hiking later in the day.
Park only in designated parking spaces at Parkway visitor centers, overlooks, or on other durable surfaces like asphalt and gravel.
Bicyclists should stay right and allow opportunities for traffic to move around them. Multiple riders need to stay in a single file line and should avoid groups larger than 4 riders. The Parkway is not recommended for inexperienced cyclists, especially during the highest period for traffic volume.
Motorcyclists need to pay special attention to tunnels where lighting and visibility can be poor. Falling leaves (especially when combined with rain) and other debris on the roadway such as branches and rocks and early icing on bridges and at higher elevations are significant hazards. Slow down and focus on the road.
Park updates and information are available on social media sites including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Get a real time road closure map, facility schedules, suggested itineraries, visitor center locations here.
In addition, as October comes to a close, Parkway staff will begin the traditional seasonal closure of visitor services in certain areas. Some concession and visitor center areas are open all year with limited services. Click here to check out a full schedule of this year’s seasonal schedule changes.