The Blue Ridge Parkway was designed not only as a mountain road with scenic overlooks and historic sites along the way, but as a place where people could come for recreation. Parkway landscape architect Stanley Abbott wanted to create centers of recreational activity similar to state and county parks, complete with hiking trails, large picnic areas, and campgrounds. These were to be spaced out along the Parkway, giving automobile enthusiasts a place to stop and get out of the car every so often. While there are picnic tables and short trails at many of the scenic overlooks, it is only at these large recreation areas where you can find the full range of amenities.

Many of the recreation areas have been around since the beginning of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Cumberland Knob Recreation Area opened in 1937. Others, like Moses Cone Memorial Park and Julian Price Park, were created after the Parkway had already passed through the area. Families donated the land to the National Park Service in memory of some of the area’s most successful businessmen and philanthropists.

The following is a list of parks along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Attraction and visitor facility locations are referenced by mile posts (MP). Mileage is tracked from 0 at the northern entrance to 469 at the southern entrance. You will see the mile posts along the Parkway just as you see mile posts on Interstates and other highways.

Humpback Rocks Recreation Area (MP 6)
Visitor Center, hiking trails, outdoor farm museum

Otter Creek and James River Recreation Area (MP 60-63)
Visitor Center, campground, picnic area, historic exhibits, hiking trails

Peaks of Otter Recreation Area (MP 86)
Visitor Center, lodge and restaurant, campground, picnic area, hiking trails, historic sites

Roanoke Valley Recreation Area (MP 111-120)
Picnic area, hiking trails, horse trail, live entertainment

Smart View Recreation Area (MP 154.5)
Picnic area, trails, historic cabin

Rocky Knob Recreation Area (MP 166-174)
Visitor Center, campground, picnic area, hiking trails

Mabry Mill (MP 176.2)
Outdoor museum, restaurant, gift store, live entertainment, traditional skill demonstrations by park Rangers and volunteers

Blue Ridge Music Center (MP 213)
Visitor Center, mountain music museum, live entertainment, hiking trails

Cumberland Knob Recreation Area (217)
Picnic area, hiking trails

Doughton Park (MP 239-248)
Campground, restaurant, picnic area, hiking trails, horseback riding

E. B. Jeffress Park (MP 271.9)
Picnic area, hiking trails

Moses Cone Memorial Park (292-295)
Visitor Center, historic mansion, carriage roads, craft store, horseback riding

Julian Price Park (MP 295-298)
Campground, picnic area, hiking trails, lake

Linville Falls Recreation Area (MP 316-317)
Visitor Center, campground, picnic area, hiking trails

Crabtree Falls Recreation Area (MP 339)
Campground, picnic area, hiking trails

Craggy Gardens Recreation Area (MP 363-367)
Visitor Center, picnic area, hiking trails

Mount Pisgah Recreation Area (MP 407-412)
Lodge and restaurant, campground, picnic area, hiking trails

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Last updated on May 10, 2020
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