Blue Ridge Parkway | BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY VISITOR CENTER (MP 384)

Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center

Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center

GENERAL INFORMATION

The Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center near Asheville, North Carolina, is the Parkway’s main visitor center. This beautiful facility manages to be both modern and rustic thanks to the wonderfully decorated interior. Exhibits are arranged in the spacious environment so you never feel overwhelmed by the information. There is plenty of open space to move around in.

Interior of the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center near Asheville

Interior of the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center near Asheville

OPERATING HOURS

The Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center in Asheville is typically open daily from 9 AM to 4:30 PM, except when closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Keep in mind that hours can always change, so before making travel plans be sure to get the latest schedule on the National Park Service’s official Operating Hours and Seasons web page for the Blue Ridge Parkway.

AMENITIES

  • Ranger-staffed information desk where you can pick up the Blue Ridge Parkway Outdoor Guide, a tabloid-size magazine that is the best source of Parkway information
  • City of Asheville information desk where you can pick up brochures on tourist-related activities including hotels, tours, bed and breakfasts, and art galleries
  • Book and souvenir store
  • Large exhibit area
  • 25-minute park film
  • Picnic tables are in the parking area
  • Restrooms
Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center information desk and gift store

Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center information desk and gift store

PARK FILM

A 24-minute film discusses the nature and history found along the Blue Ridge Parkway. There is no objectionable material, so the film is suitable for all ages.

EXHIBITS

The main difference between the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center and the smaller visitor centers along the Parkway is the much larger and more complete exhibit area. Here all aspects of the Blue Ridge Parkway are discussed: construction, history, environmental concerns, ecosystems, tourism, etc. There is even a mineral display here, so it incorporates a bit of the Museum of North Carolina Minerals as well. Exhibits at the smaller visitor centers usually focus on just one aspect of the Parkway that is most pertinent to its location.

Exhibits at the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center

Exhibits at the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center

Exhibit on the early days of Automobile Touring at the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center near Asheville

Exhibit on the early days of Automobile Touring at the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center near Asheville

HIKING TRAILS

There is a 1.4-mile loop trail that starts at the very back left corner of the parking lot and is marked with a “Mountains to Sea Trail Access” sign. The loop trail connects to the MTS, a 1,150-mile trail that stretches from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the North Carolina Outer Banks. The MTS is not part of the National Park system, so I do not review it, but you can find more information on the Friends of the Mountains to Sea Trail website.

SCHEDULING YOUR TIME

Plan to spend up to an hour at the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center, which includes time to see the park film, peruse the exhibits, and get information and ask questions of a park Ranger.


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Last updated on November 7, 2023
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