Cities Journal

Virginia’s Blue Majesty


The Blue Ridge Mountains are not quietly gorgeous. They are bustling. One of the most ecologically diverse places in the world, the mountains along the Blue Ridge Parkway are home to more than 100 varieties of trees, 54 mammals, 159 species of birds and 1,600 plant species.

The parkway stretches 469 miles from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. You can take the ridge-top drive along the parkway from Afton Mountain and Rockfish Gap to the Peaks of Otter for magnificent Blue Ridge Mountain views.

The mountains get their colorful moniker from hydrocarbons released by trees, resulting in the area’s serene blue haze.

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