Skip to main content

Western NC Vacation - Day 3 - Blue Ridge Parkway

The final part of our Western North Carolina weekend took us on the Blue Ridge Parkway from Asheville to Boone.  This stretch of Parkway is about 100 miles in length, but it took us over eight hours to travel.  Why?  Well keep reading and find out!

For the entire flickr set (55 photos), head here.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is known throughout the world for its incredible views and our first photo stop at the Lane Pinnacle overlook is no exception.

IMG_6521

Stops like these wasn't what took the most time on this trip - it was three hiking stops we made this brilliant Sunday.  The first of such was at Craggy Gardens.  The Craggy Pinnacle Trail is a 0.7 mile trail to the top of Craggy Pinnacle.  And once you reach the top, the views are breathtaking.

IMG_6529

In the photo below, the road you see off in the distance is Interstate 26 near the Tennessee/North Carolina State Line.

IMG_6534

So with the return hike, our total was 1.4 miles for the day so far.

From Craggy Gardens, it is a short drive to Mount Mitchell State Park.  Mount Mitchell at an elevation of 6684' is the highest point east of the Mississippi.  Access to Mt. Mitchell is limited to following the Blue Ridge Parkway to NC 128 and following the slightly twisty road to the summit - as seen in the photo below.

The road to Mt. Mitchell

But taking the Escape to the top of the mountain takes a little bit out of the adventure.  So after lunch at the park restaurant, Maggie and I hiked to the summit along the Old Mitchell Trail.

IMG_6542

The 1.3 mile hike from the restaurant to the summit takes about one hour.  The first 0.8 miles of the hike is strenuous and moderately technical.  The last half mile of the trail is part of the statewide Mountains-to-Sea Trail.  The hike is steep but not nearly as technical.  The Old Mitchell Trail ends about 250 yards from the summit observation platform.  The observation platform replaced an older observation tower within the past three years.  The views are just amazing.

IMG_6560

IMG_6559

IMG_6549

We then headed back on the Old Mitchell Trail to the Escape.  The 2.6 mile round trip made it a total of four miles hiked at this point.  This was my third piece of the Mountains-To-Sea trail that I have hiked.  (I've also hiked a brief segment at Hanging Rock State Park and about 3.5 miles of the trail at Falls Lake here in Raleigh.)

We made another photo stop at the Green Knob Overlook and gassed up off the Parkway on NC 80 in the tiny community of Busick.

IMG_6563

Our final Parkway stop was at Crabtree Meadows and a hike down to the spectacular Crabtree Falls The hike down to the falls from Crabtree Meadows is 0.9 miles one way.  It's all downhill to the falls and a rather steep at times return - but upon your first glimpse of the 70' falls, it's well worth it.

Peeking Sunlight at Crabtree Falls

The 1.8 mile down and back hike gave us 5.8 miles for the day.  (In case you haven't figured it our by now, Maggie and I have started to take more to hiking in the recent months.)  By the time we were finished at Crabtree Meadows it was after five, and although we wanted to make a stop at Linville Falls, that would have to wait for our next trip to the mountains.  We followed the Parkway to US 321 just outside of Blowing Rock, grabbed a quick dinner, hit US 421 and followed that to I-40 home.

It was a great three day weekend in the Western North Carolina mountains and we're already taking notes on what to do on our next trip that way in the not to distant future.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The story on how the unbuilt US 40 Expressway in Brownsville took 40 years to complete.

For nearly four decades, the four lane US 40 just east of Brownsville came to an abrupt end - shown in the photo above - at Grindstone Road in Redstone Township.   In the late 1960s, what was then the Pennsylvania Division of Highways (PennDOH) extended a new four lane alignment of US 40 eastwards from Broadway Street slightly over one mile to Grindstone Road where an incomplete diamond interchange was built.  Earlier in the decade, PennDOH had built a four lane US 40 in Washington County into Brownsville complete with a new crossing over the Monongahela River known as the Lane Bane Bridge.  This new highway and bridge allowed US 40 to bypass the older Intercounty Bridge and downtown Brownsville. 

After this new highway opened, nothing would happen to it for nearly forty years.  US 40 traffic would use the ramps for this planned diamond interchange and then jog on Grindstone Road briefly before continuing towards Uniontown on the original National Road. 
What is unknown (at least to…

The story of the Boy Scout Ramps on Interstate 79 North in NW Pennsylvania

If you are traveling on Interstate 79 North of Pittsburgh, you may notice the remnants of a set of off and on ramps at mile 100 just north of Exit 99 (US 422).  There's a story behind these ramps.  Forty years ago, these ramps were built specifically for two Boy Scout Jamboree's that were held at Moraine State Park - 1973 and 1977.  The ramps purpose were to provide access to the north shore of Lake Arthur where the bulk of the festivities and campsite for the Jamboree were located.  (Lawrence County Memories has a great write up and map of the festivities on its site.)

Not long after the Jamboree ended the ramps were abandoned.  There are still remnants of the Boy Scout Ramps today.



Above: Sattelite view of the Boy Scout Jamboree Ramps. 
Below: A view of the ramps from I-79 South.



The google street view image above gives a view along West Park Road of where the set of ramps intersected the highway.  The ramps provided direct access to North Shore Drive (which is the right tur…

The few clues of the Northern Durham Parkway

Sometimes when you look through a box of maps for the first time in five years, you come across something you may have easily over looked.  Such was the case when I found a 2004 (so rather recent) map of Raleigh.  This map was made by the Dolph Map Company for WakeMed.  In the Northwestern corner of Wake County, there were two items to the map showing roads that are still not in existence 13 years later.

The road is the Northern Durham Parkway - this is a proposed 19 mile highway from US 501 north of Durham to the Raleigh-Durham International Airport.  The first proposals for this highway date back to 1967 when Eno Drive-Gorman Road was listed on the Durham Area Thoroughfare Plan. (1)  Other proposals called the highway the Northwest and Northeast Durham Loop. (2)  The route would serve as a northern and eastern bypass of Durham almost serving as a near loop.  The route was fought vigorously for three decades by the Eno River Association citing concerns for the the Eno River, nearby n…