Stretching from the northern region of Georgia all the way to Pennsylvania, the Blue Ridge Mountains are a section of the massive Appalachian mountain range. Those who travel to the Blue Ridge Mountains will find that it is at times obscured by dense clouds and covered by millions of oak and pine trees. The mountains get their distinctive dark blue hue from the presence of the chemical isoprene found in many regional plants. Science aside, Blue Ridge Mountain travel is a great way to explore one-of-a-kind mountain towns like Asheville, North Carolina; Knoxville, Tennessee; Charlottesville, Virginia; and Morgantown, West Virginia. It also offers plenty of adventures for outdoorsy types, wonderful views for those interested in nature and a host of great local restaurants for gastronomes along for the ride. Visit the Blue Ridge Mountains and see what sets this corner of the world apart from all others. Let Travel + Leisure’s Blue Ridge Mountain travel guide lead the way.
Things Not to Miss in the Blue Ridge Mountains
• Take an epic road trip on the 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway, a scenic highway that runs through the mountains
• Go hang gliding at Raven’s Roost in Virginia
• Climb to the top of North Carolina’s Mount Mitchell, the highest point in the Appalachian Mountain chain
• Check out Mabry Mill and see how blacksmiths and millers did their work centuries ago
• Take part in the many arts and crafts festivals in the small town of Berea, Kentucky
• Visit the lovely small town of Hot Springs, North Carolina, or get your beer drinking on in nearby Asheville, home to more than a dozen breweries
• Tour Virginia’s Blue Ridge Music Center, which chronicles the history of mountain music
• Camp out in Shenandoah National Park or Great Smoky Mountains National Park, connected to one another by the Blue Ridge Parkway
• Explore the wonderful Blacksburg, Virginia, one of the fastest-growing towns in the Blue Ridge Mountains
• Go for a hike near Humpback Rock and see old Appalachian farmhouses in the area
When to Go to the Blue Ridge Mountains
Due to their size, weather in the Blue Ridge Mountains varies greatly from region to region, but one thing is always true: the mountains are far from alpine and you won’t find much in the way of winter sports while in the area. To see the best of the Blue Ridge Mountains, visit the area during the summer and fall when the region’s extensive flora are at their most vibrant. Just be sure to bring along a rain jacket as precipitation occurs year-round.