The Blue Ridge Parkway historically welcomes nearly 2 million visitors during October, making it one of the busiest months of the year. With increased traffic on the Parkway this month, visitors are encouraged to plan ahead and be prepared for heavy traffic and full parking lots at some the Parkway’s most popular attractions.
Remember these 10 tips for planning a successful Parkway trip:
• Check the latest road status information before heading to the Parkway.
• The Parkway requires extra care while driving. Steep grades, tight turns and built-in distractions are all part of what make a Parkway experience unique. Enjoy the view, watch the road!
• Observe posted speed limits. The Parkway was designed as a slow, leisurely motor route. No need to rush.
• Pack your patience and expect heavy traffic or delays. The Blue Ridge Parkway features more than 200 formal scenic overlooks. If one overlook is full of visitors and cars, just keep going, another one is not too far away.
• Learn about how fall color is progressing along the Parkway through the Fall Color Tracker Project. Weekly updates to fall color development are posted each Friday on park social media platforms; or stop by a visitor center and ask a ranger where to find fall color during your visit.
• Help keep wildlife wild by giving them their space and never feeding them.
• Plan to visit a nearby community. Communities adjacent to the Parkway offer visitors experiences and events, along with a wide variety of food, lodging and shopping options.
• Make reservations in advance for in-park lodging and camping. Campsites at one of the parkway’s eight campgrounds are available for reservations at www.recreation.gov or 877-444-6777.
• Come prepared to recreate responsibly and follow Leave No Trace principles. Everyone shares in the stewardship of the Parkway and its resources so be prepared, leave it like you found it, carry out trash and stay on trails.
• If traveling with your pet, know the regulations. Pets must be kept on a leash of no more than 6 feet at all times for the safety of your pet, park wildlife and other visitors.
Visitors can find additional information to prepare for their Parkway visit on the park website that provides information about road and facility closures, facility schedules, suggested itineraries and visitor center locations.
Later, as October comes to a close, Parkway staff will begin the traditional seasonal closure of visitor facilities in many areas across the park. This year’s seasonal closing schedule is available at www.nps.gov/blri/planyourvisit/hours.htm.