Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a marvel of highway engineering. Connecting Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the NC/TN border to Shenandoah National Park in western Virginia, the Blue Ridge Parkway travels down the ridgelines of the Blue Ridge and Black Mountains for 469 miles. The closest entrance to Cashiers is via Hwy. 215 near Brevard, about a 45 minute drive.

Heading east on Hwy. 64, drive through Sapphire and Toxaway, passing Hwy. 281 along the way. Shortly after you enter the French Broad River Basin, look for Hwy. 215 on your left, near a river outfitters shop. Continue up the winding road until you see signs for the Parkway and see a stone bridge.

Taking a left (west) on the Parkway will take you through Sylva towards Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A right will lead you towards Asheville. Both directions are a glorious drive. There are many opportunities to stop at overlooks, hiking trails and nearby waterfalls. The road to the left and west will take you to the highest point of the parkway, over 6,000 feet. To the right is the highest concentration of tunnels on the parkway.

One great day trip will take you to the right along the parkway to Asheville, a charming city well worth the visit. Downtown Asheville has a great atmosphere, and there is, of course, the Biltmore Estate just south of the city.

If you have a full day, you could head towards Great Smoky Mountains National Park and spend the day (or several) there.

Everyone should travel on the Blue Ridge Parkway at least once in their lives. The long, smooth curves and skytop vistas will lodge themselves in your memory for a lifetime.