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The beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway gently winds through mountains and meadows and crosses mountain streams for more than 469 mi on its way from Cherokee, North Carolina, to Waynesboro, Virginia, connecting the Great Smoky Mountains and Shenandoah national parks. With elevations ranging from 649 to 6,047 feet, and with more than 250 scenic lookout points, it is truly one of the most beautiful drives in North America. No commercial vehicles are allowed, and the entire parkway is free of billboards, although in a few places residential or commercial development encroaches close to the road. The parkway, which has a maximum speed limit of 45 mph, with some sections lower, is generally open year-round but often closes during inclement weather. In winter, sections can be closed for weeks at a time due to snow, and even in good weather fog and clouds occasionally make driving difficult. Maps and information are available at visitor centers along the highway. Mileposts or Mile Markers (MM) identify
points of interest and indicate the distance from the parkway's starting point in Virginia. The parkway headquarters and main visitor center near Asheville at MM 384 has a "green roof" with plants growing on it. Gas up before you get on the Parkway. Although there are no gas stations on the Parkway itself, you'll find stations at intersecting highways near Parkway exits.