The Blue Ridge Parkway takes up where Skyline Drive leaves off at Waynesboro, weaving south for 469 mi to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. The parkway goes up to higher elevations than the drive, up to 4,200 feet at Apple Orchard Mountain, and even higher in North Carolina. In Virginia the parkway is especially scenic between Waynesboro and Roanoke, winding through the George Washington National Forest, visiting numerous ridgetop overlooks that provide views of crumpled-looking mountains and patchwork valleys.
Milepost 0 is at Rockfish Gap. There are no gas stations on the parkway, so you'll have to exit if you need to refuel, and be prepared for a leisurely drive as the speed limit is 45 mph. Go to the Visitor Center at Explore Park, open 9–5 daily year-round, 1.5 mi north of milepost 115 near Roanoke, or call the National Park Service's office in Vinton (540/857–2490) for information on Virginia's section of the parkway.
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