Spring Break day 4 - Blue Ridge Parkway-3
Candler Travel Blog› entry 800 of 1090 › view all entries
Today would be used for the last leg of the Blue Ridge Parkway, and for crossing Great Smoky Mountains National Park to get to Maryville in Tennessee. A lot to do in little time.
After the very basic free breakfast that my hotel provided I fed the Mazda a few gallons of the expensive North Carolina gas, leaving space for the much cheaper Tennessee fuel. I discovered that I mis planned my parkway exit yesterday evening. There was one much closer to the hotel. Since I did not want to skip a few miles I drove back to Asheville and re-entered the beautiful parkway where I left it last night.
At an entry altitude of 645 meters (2116 ft) the road started ascending immediately, negotiating 872 meters (2861 ft) in 24 kilometers (15 miles). That was needed since today I would pass the highest point of the parkway.
At mile marker 422.4 I planned to have lunch on a viewpoint of Devil's Courthouse, a 1743-m (5,720-ft) high particular rock that towers over the parkway. Just when I wanted to head to the only pick nick table available on the parking a big pickup truck with an elderly couple stopped.
At mile marker 431 I reached the highest point of the parkway: 1843 meters (6047 ft) according to the NPS park map and 1845 meters (6053 ft) according to a sign by the NPS. Confusing!
After the highest point the road plunges about 750 meters (2460 ft) followed by a steep ascend of approx. 640 meters (2100 ft) to milepost 451 at Waterrock Knob. Waterrock Knob is, with 1918 meters (6292 ft) the 16th highest mountain in the eastern USA.
Then the big descend to the end of the parkway began. I had had almost the whole parkway for myself, but during the past part it was, all of a sudden, very crowded with drivers driving really snailish. At 3:45 pm I arrived at the intersection with Route 441, the end of the parkway and the start of Great Smoky Mountains National Park!
755 kilometers (469 miles) of scenic road: the same distance as from Utrecht (NL) to e.g.: Aberdeen (UK), Stavanger (N), Skagen (DK), more than Prague (CZ), more than Innsbruck (AU), Como (IT), Limoges (F), Camborne (UK), the Mazda had done a great job!
More pictures below!