Fall travel on the Blue Ridge Parkway offers tricks and treats

Oct 19, 2016
Photo by: file photo

Blue Ridge Parkway rangers and staff want to remind everyone of important tips to ensure your visit this fall is full of treats, not tricks! With so many visitors expected on the Parkway this fall, it is important to remember some behaviors that help ensure safe and memorable visits, as well as protect the park for future generations.

Driving on the Parkway is different than most roads. Its unique design includes many steep grades, limited sight distances, and beautiful, built in distractions.  Keep speeds within posted limits and be prepared for heavy traffic, wildlife and non-motorized users that can slow traffic further. Use pull-outs and overlooks to enjoy the views. When on the road, driving needs your full attention.

Hikers are asked to stay on existing established trails; please leave no trace of your visit. Check the weather forecast before you head out for the hike. Mountain weather is often difficult to predict and can change without notice. Pack layers and light sources, especially when hiking late in the day.

Don’t create parking spaces where there are none; park only in designated parking spaces at Parkway visitor centers, overlooks, or on other durable surfaces like asphalt and gravel.

Bicyclists should keep as far to the right as possible, and allow opportunities for traffic to move around them. Multiple riders need to stay in a single file line and should avoid groups larger than 4 riders. The Parkway is not recommended for inexperienced cyclists, especially during the highest period for traffic volume.

Motorcyclists need to pay special attention to tunnels where lighting and visibility can be poor. Falling leaves (especially when combined with rain) and other debris on the roadway such as branches and rocks and early icing on bridges and at higher elevations are significant hazards. Slow down and focus on the road.

For more information, visit www.nps.gov/blri or call 828-298-0398 (press 3, once greeting begins).

A full schedule of this year’s seasonal schedule changes is available at http://www.nps.gov/blri/planyourvisit/hours.htm.