Best Places to Live Near the Blue Ridge Parkway
There's a reason why over 15.7 million travelers last year visited one of the most scenic and largest linear parks in the country that encompasses 29 Virginia and North Carolina counties, its sheer beauty! The incredible pathway that links the Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park started its development in 1935, under the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration. It took over 52 years to complete, and today it's considered one of the most majestic journeys in the country, the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Blue Ridge Parkway Statistics
Wrapped along the ridge of the captivating Blue Ridge Mountains, this Appalachian roadway passes through 469 miles of spectacular mountainous terrain providing the ideal outdoor playground for those who visit or live in the areas surrounding this naturally preserved paradise. The parkway begins in the Shenandoah National Park at Rockfish Gap in Virginia to US Route 441 at Oconaluftee and ends in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Cherokee, North Carolina. There are 170 miles of the parkway located in the Asheville area making it a popular place to shop for homes for sale near the Blue Ridge Parkway NC. The Asheville neighborhoods that are built along the perimeter are quite impressive and provide exceptional resources for enjoying life in the mountains of North Carolina.
Along the parkway, there are over 350 miles of embedded hiking trails ranging from beginner to advanced, more than 200 scenic overlooks, cascading waterfalls, and vista views that will take your breath away. There are over 100 varieties of trees and more than 1,400 plant species including thousands of wildflowers that change with the seasons. The lush topography provides the perfect place to bond with the exotic wildlife that inhabits the region. Hiking, biking, camping, and getting back to nature have made this one of the prime locations to visit drawing millions annually. One of the most popular times of year to visit is coming soon as outdoor adventurers flock to see the remarkable change of season of the fall foliage in Asheville.
Throughout the seasons, there are endless adventures for folks looking for the ultimate spot to escape reality. In the spring, the rushing waterfalls and mountain flowers provide a rainbow of color while hiking along one of the many trails that are scattered across the region. In the summer, daisies and asters adorn the roadway providing the perfect spot to share a roadside picnic with family while enjoying the rolling hills and mountaintop views that can be seen here throughout the year. One of the most spectacular times of the year to visit is the fall. A kaleidoscope of the autumn canvas starts to appear in late September on the mountain peaks and continues to become more brilliant in the lower-lying valleys in late October. With oak, hickory, and tulip trees fading into reds, yellows, and oranges, this simultaneous explosion of radiant colors draws folks from all over the world to experience this wonder of nature that occurs every season. There is no wonder why fall foliage excursions are so popular with both tourists and local residents.
Points of Interest
Finding points of interest along the Parkway is easy. Don’t rely on GPS because it doesn’t work finding some of the premier spots to visit along the drive. There are mileposts along the roadway that make some of the out-of-the-way treasures locatable. The mileposts start at zero at the northeast end in Virginia and culminate at 469 on the southern end in North Carolina. If heading south, the mileposts will be located on the right-hand side of the road for the convenience of visitors. There are many places to discover along the Blue Ridge Parkway and with a little research you will be amazed at all the incredible spots that can be found not far off the beaten path. Here are a few that we found to be especially worthwhile visiting while traveling this incredible journey through the Blue Ridge Mountains:
- Linville Falls is located at Milepost 316 and is one of the most photographic waterfalls along the parkway. This incredible cascade of free-flowing water is quite spectacular and is a must-see while traveling through this outdoor wonderland. The fall is visible from 4 overlooks and provides the perfect photo op to capture this impressive work of nature. The Linville Falls Visitor Center and Park Store (MP 317.8) is nearby and offers trails that lead to the three-tiered Linville Falls over the Linville Gorge. In addition to the falls, there are several trails available for some awesome hiking in the Pisgah National Forest: Flat Rock, Camp Creek, River Bend, Duggers Creek, and Linville River Bridge Trails. For overnight stays, there is a campground on the banks of the Linville River with 50 tent sites and 20 RV sites. Reservations can be made by calling 1-877-444-6777.
- Mount Mitchell at an elevation of 6,684 ft. is the highest point east of the Mississippi River, and it's well worth the adventure. Part of the Black Mountain range (formed more than a billion years ago) and located only 35 miles northeast of downtown Asheville at Milepost 350, Mount Mitchell is easily accessed via a ¼ mile-paved trail that leads to an observation deck with 360-degree panoramic views of this majestic region. From the Parkway, drive NC Highway 128 which leads to the summit. The plants that thrive here and the animals that inhabit the region are similar to those found in the Canadian alpines. They add an additional appeal when exploring the scenery found here. There is also the Mount Mitchell Byway which provides an incredibly scenic drive along 52 miles of pristine mountain views and captivating lush greenery. Another happening spot to explore is the Toe River Valley found just off Highway NC 80 where there are art studios, quaint eateries, and rich Appalachian culture. Micaville concludes the NC 80 excursion, but a 4-mile westward jaunt leads to Burnsville via US 19E where Main Street has a rustic collection of unique shops and local restaurants.
- The Folk Art Center showcases the finest in traditional and contemporary crafts of the Southern Appalachians with over 250 works featuring woodcarving, furniture, pottery, textiles, basket weaving, and other similar artworks native to the region dating from 1855 to the late 20th century. In addition to the exquisite artisan display, the center also offers the Southern Highland Craft Guild’s century-old Allanstand Craft Shop, exhibitions in three galleries, a library, an auditorium, a cooperating association book store, and a Parkway information desk. Opened with joint efforts between the Guild, the Appalachian Regional Commission, and the Natural Park Service, this cooperative has become a huge success. It is a top-rated stop on the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 382. The center is open year-round except for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. The daily craft demos are fun to watch from March through December. Stop by to experience the rich culture preserved here or browse for unique gift items at the Eastern National Bookstore.
- Graveyard Fields can be found along the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 418.8 south of Asheville. This name may possibly have been chosen after the remnants of ancient tree formations were distorted from wind storms several hundred years ago and left looking like skeletons. Another theory is that an intense fire in 1925 left the tree stumps looking like gravestones. Regardless, this popular hiking spot has spectacular views of this mountainous region. Blueberry and blackberry bushes can be found along the path, and it provides great access to two waterfalls that are fed by The Yellowstone Prong. Surrounded by the 6,000-foot peaks of the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains and a plethora of wildflowers, there is no better place to stop and explore this incredible setting. This exploration is considered a moderately easy hike into the ravine that has been built out with boardwalks and stairs. At the bottom, a bridge crosses the river and leads to the fields, continuing onto the wooded loop trail. Following the 2.3-mile loop, one comes to Yellowstone Falls. The Lower Falls are easily accessed only 1/3 of a mile from the parking area following a paved path and a long flight of steps to the viewing platform. Take the 3.5-mile loop through the meadow for another captivating photo op at the second waterfall. No worries, this is one of the few hiking excursions with public restrooms along the Parkway and a great place for a brisk hike and some incredible and unforgettable views.
- Devils Courthouse located at milepost 422.4 provides a brief yet challenging half-mile hike to the peak well worth the journey for 360-degree views of this spectacular mountainous terrain. From this vantage point, you can see four neighboring states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee. The pathway is mostly paved and begins near the parking lot just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. The legendary name of this popular destination is rooted in ancient legends that originated in Cherokee folklore. The outward appearance is a bit haunting with a bare rock profile that is quite “devilish”. Inside the mountain, there is a cave where allegedly “Judaculla”, a slant-eyed giant held mystical dance ceremonies and where the devil held his magistrate. Despite its dark history, this hike is quite magnificent. Along the journey, hikers can enjoy some amazing plant species that date back to the last glacial era, including Rock Gnome Lichen and the Spreading Avens, indigenous to the high altitudes of the Alpines. Folks who journey here are encouraged to protect these rare species while enjoying the amazing views from this sidetrack off the parkway.
Places to Lives
September is the perfect time to enjoy the fall foliage and shop for homes for sale near the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Caroline while visiting some of the premier Asheville neighborhoods that can be found in this magical location. Here are several communities that offer impeccable housing, first-class amenities, and some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.
The Coves Mountain River Club is located about an hour or so from both Asheville and Charlotte, providing a great place to buy or build a mountain retreat away from the hassles of big-city living. Not far from Linville Falls and Grandfather Mountain, this 3,600-acre estate of natural topography provides the ultimate outdoor playground for Baby Boomers, families, and outdoor enthusiasts looking for an active and fulfilling lifestyle. For water lovers, the austere Johns River borders the property providing the perfect haven for kayaking, canoeing, and fishing. The backdrop of this property reaching up to an elevation of 1,700 feet, is breathtaking long-range mountain views, and the property shares tens of thousands of acres of unspoiled protected national forest surrounding the development.
Besides impressive architectural designs and expert craftsmanship, the property also features amenities that complement living in this mountain oasis. The 6,000 square foot Pisgah Mountain Lodge clubhouse offers exquisite panoramic mountain views from the outdoor veranda with stellar views of Table Rock, Adams Knob, Brown Mountain, and South Mountains; the property also features a fully equipped fitness center; an outdoor infinity-view swimming pool and hot tub on mountain’s edge; a billiard room; library; great room with kitchen, bar, fireplace and entertainment center; a full-service Equestrian Center; two communities gardens and an active social club that keeps residents connected throughout the year. Local chefs, artists, live music, hiking excursions, game nights, or Monday morning mountain-edge yoga are some of the popular activities available to residents in this award-winning gated community. There are 4 waterfalls, 39 miles of developed walking and hiking trails, and well-maintained naturally preserved landscaping that sets this property apart. Whether it’s for a weekend retreat, country cabin, or a private 10-acre estate, The Coves Mountain River Club is a mountain community near many of the Asheville neighborhoods.
Biltmore Lake provides yet another premier location for home shoppers to explore housing options in Asheville. This master-planned community features 62 acres of the crystal-clear Biltmore Lake which offers not only a beautiful backdrop for building or buying a mountain oasis but also provides the ideal playground for water sports, outdoor adventures, and endless glorious sunsets. Fishing, paddling, kayaking, and swimming are all activities enjoyed at Biltmore Lake. Biking and hiking are also favorite pastimes at this resort-style community with an impressive integrated community trail throughout the neighborhoods that provide not only great exercise but also the perfect venue for bonding with fellow residents. Outdoor concerts at the Pavilion provide another great way to dance the night away under starlit nights while making memories with friends and family. Imagine waking up and enjoying the incredible views of the lake while sipping a freshly brewed cup of coffee in the morning or a fine crisp wine at night on the back veranda with picturesque views of the glorious mountainous terrain that embraces the property. The Clubhouse is ideal for watching sporting events, social gatherings, and sharing good times and memories with fellow residents. The home styles reflect the charm of mountain living with all the sophistication of living in the 21st century and the builders have incredible reputations for building seamless homes in North Carolina. This Asheville neighborhood fits the needs of those who are looking for both waterfront and mountain escapes.
The Cliffs at Walnut Cove located just below the Blue Ridge Parkway, is a European-inspired neighborhood located just a few miles away from the happening scene in downtown Asheville. A hip urban city with exquisite eateries, art galleries, live music, street festivals, and unique shops, we're one of the many who feel there is no better place to live in North Carolina than in Asheville. The Cliffs at Walnut Cove is a private golf community with a nationally acclaimed golf course, superb dining venues, an outstanding Wellness Center and so much more. The curb appeal is stunning from the moment you pass through the gated entrance.
Being a member of the Cliffs means not only do you have excellent amenities within the Walnut Cove neighborhood, but you also have access to all seven award-winning golf courses, seven wellness centers, over a dozen exquisite dining venues, an equestrian center, Beach Club, full-service marina and even an organic garden throughout the seven Cliffs communities in the Western Carolinas. Did you know there are over 300 social clubs to join that range from golf, bowling, cycling, gardening to wine tastings? Life is far from dull at The Cliffs.
Sunset Falls at Bald Creek is a hidden treasure found in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It's location is about 35 minutes west of downtown Asheville and a short 20-minute drive to the quaint historical town of Waynesville. The lush 300-acre mountain community is a the ultimate private retreat without all the expenses and busyness of a traditional country club. The views from the mountain summit are impressive. Active boomers and outdoor enthusiasts love the fact that recreation abounds here such as white water rafting, kayaking, hiking, mountain-biking, equestrian trails, and golf/tennis venues right outside the gates of Sunset Falls. Add the close proximity to the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and you have the complete equation for a life of endless outdoor adventures while enjoying the natural resources that abound right in your backyard.
Make the Blue Ridge Parkway Your Backyard
September and October are beautiful months to experience this captivating region. Join thousands of people who come to the Blue Ridge Parkway to watch the trees eclipse into a rainbow of radiant colors as they transcend from summer to Autumn. And, make sure to visit these amazing Western North Carolina communities while you're here to make the Blue Ridge Parkway your own backyard!
For more articles and community releases from Community Finder, sign up for our newsletter.