Blue Ridge Parkway | THE ORCHARDS OVERLOOK (MP 444.6)

The Orchards Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway

The Orchards Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway

View: ♦ ♦ /5
Trails: Mountains to Sea Trail
Picnic Tables: None

I love views of mountains and valleys with farms, homes, and rolling hills. As long as it’s not an industrial complex, these human footprints make the scene more interesting. There is such a valley here at The Orchards Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway, but unfortunately most of the view is obscured by trees, brush, and weeds. You can get a glimpse through a clearing, but alas, there is no way to see the entire vista.

However, all is not well below. If you could see better, you’d be looking at the site of the Barber Apple Orchards that produced apples from 1908 until 1988. The orchard owners pumped so much pesticide and insecticide into the environment that the EPA placed it on the National Priorities List in 2001. Contaminants include DDT, arsenic, and benzene hexachloride. Over 200,000 tons of contaminated soil was removed…and dumped somewhere else I suppose. It is now safe for residents, but that doesn’t do much for all of the people who lived there when the orchard was in business.

View of the valley through a gap in the trees at The Orchards Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway

View of the valley through a gap in the trees at The Orchards Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway

There is trail that connects to the Mountains to Sea Trail, a 1,150-mile trail that stretches from Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the North Carolina Outer Banks. It is not part of the National Park system, so I did not hike or review it, but you can get information on the Friends of the Mountains to Sea Trail website.


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Last updated on December 17, 2023
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