Last Updated on May 26, 2022 10:24 am
(NC/VA) – Blue Ridge Parkway campgrounds, picnic areas, and visitor centers open with full services for the 2022 visitor season this weekend, and National Park Service managers want to take the opportunity to remind visitors that their actions while recreating along the Parkway can help them and other park visitors have a safe and memorable visit.
“We depend on park visitors to plan ahead by checking road status ahead of their trip, learning operating schedules for facilities they hope to visit, and reserving campsites well ahead of time,” said Blue Ridge Parkway Superintendent Tracy Swartout. “Visitors should also be patient and flexible as popular park locations may be full during peak weekends throughout the summer and fall. We encourage you to have alternatives in mind if parking lots or trails are full, or facilities are closed when they arrive at their parkway destinations.”
The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the largest designed landscapes in the country, providing visitors with a wide variety of opportunities to experience southern Appalachian nature, history, and culture. The park’s drive-a-while, stop-a-while design enhances the experience; and whether at milepost 0 or 469, driving the scenic route, hiking a trail or taking in a concert or ranger program, Parkway officials remind visitors to have a plan and recreate responsibly. A complete schedule of open facilities is also available on the Parkway’s website
Multiple road projects are also underway this season, and as with any road project, motorists and park visitors must exercise caution and observe closures. The Parkway website and road status page are important planning tools that provide milepost by milepost status information daily with links to additional project information or detour maps where applicable. In addition to previously announced projects for Laurel Fork Bridge, slope repairs, and completion of road projects in Roanoke, Virginia, visitors may experience intermittent or one lane closures related to additional paving projects in some NC overlooks, parking areas and picnic areas or preventative bridge maintenance work at several bridges in VA and NC.
This season, public health and masking requirements may vary along the parkway based on local conditions. Weekly updates will be posted on the Parkway’s Alerts and Updates webpage and in park facilities. In areas the CDC identifies as high COVID-19 community level, masks are required for everyone in all NPS buildings regardless of vaccination status. In most low and medium COVID-19 community level areas, masks are optional, but visitors should follow signs and instructions from park staff and volunteers. Visitors are always welcome to wear a mask if it makes them more comfortable.