The Blue Ridge Mountains and Skyline Drive

Blue Ridge Highway

The Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia

Just under a two hour drive west of the US capital Washington DC you will find the Blue Ridge Mountains, the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, which are among the most beautiful areas in the world USA belong, and where the really big streams of tourists have so far passed.

 

 

A panoramic road - the Skyline Drive

The Blue Ridge Mountains are located in the US state of Virginia and are part of Shenandoah National Park. It is a densely wooded, gentle mountain ridge up to 1200m high. It's supposed to be the most beautiful here in autumn, when the leaves on the trees change colour. We visited the Blue Ridge Mountains in the summer and loved it.

After a few days in the US capital, we drove to Luray, VA in a rental car. From there we wanted to explore the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah National Park on the Skyline Drive, a 170 km long scenic road (National Scenic Byway). Since we wanted to enjoy the landscape, take a break at several of the more than 60 viewpoints and do two hikes, we had planned two days.

 

Sonja Weisner
Sonja Weisner in the Blue Ridge Mountains

The Luray Caves

Although we took our time getting there and made a detour to the civil war memorials near Fredericksburg, we arrived in Luray in the afternoon and still had time to visit the Luray Caverns, one of the cave systems in the eastern United States.

Slow drive through the Blue Ridge Mountains

The next morning we drove over the Thornton Gap onto Skyline Drive, a road to cruise, look and enjoy, a maximum of 35 mph is allowed here, even less on some sections. Slow motion was the order of the day in the Blue Ridge Mountains. That's a good thing, because you always had to be prepared for cars, cyclists or animals. Again and again we saw hinds and their young at the roadside. However, we did not encounter a black bear.

The ride on Skyline Drive

Visitor centers are lined up along the Panorama Route, providing information about the national park and its fauna and flora. There are restaurants and picnic areas. The lookouts offer views of the forest hills and the Shenandoah Valley. So the day flew by and we had to postpone our hike to the second day.

The next day we drove over the Thornton Gap again on the Skyline Drive through the Blue Ridge Mountains. This time, however, the journey was to the south-west. Parallel to the road, part of the 3450km long Appalachian Trail, which is one of the long-distance hiking trails in the USA, runs across the mountain range. There's something special about hiking the Appalachian, replacing your name with a trail name and experiencing a change in personality along the way, say those who've hiked the trail.

The Appalachian Trail

We wanted to get a taste of this myth at least once on a section of the way. So we parked the car and hiked a few miles on the trail. Along the way, we met a couple thru-hikers, as hikers on the Appalachian Trail call themselves. We ate and chatted together. After that it was clear to us: At some point we will come back and try our hand at the Appalachian Trail through the Blue Ridge Mountains.

In the afternoon we climbed the "Little Stony Man", the highest point on Skyline Drive in the Blue Ridge Mountains. There we went on a hike to the waterfalls in White Oak Canyon. Then we left Skyline Drive towards the Blue Ridge Parkway.

 

What you need for a hike in the Blue Ridge Mountains

 

The article is from guest author Udo Weisner. Thank you for that.

Jo Igele travel blog is the travel diary of Sonja and Udo Weisner. Written by Best Agers, not just for Best Agers. Udo Weisner has been traveling the world with his wife Sonja for years and knows and loves the facets of travel, from package deals to individual travel and from expensive to adventure. On the Jo Igele travel blog, he takes his readers on his little getaways and lets them dream.

He would like to pass on a little of his curiosity, his wanderlust, his desire to travel and his joie de vivre and show how beautiful travel can be. In addition, there are also travel tips, information and recommendations on the subject of travel. His homeland, his home, his domicile or in new German his home or his home base, that is Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance. From there he plans and starts his travels and always likes to come back to dream of new experiences far away.

Travel Arrangements

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Blue Ridge Mountains
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Text Blue Ridge Mountains: © Copyright Udo Weisner, jo-igele.de
Photos Blue Ridge Mountains: © Copyright Udo Weisner, jo-igele.de

The Blue Ridge Mountains and Skyline Drive
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