Just an update for those who contemplate driving the BlueRidge Parkway
, especially the 'end'(for us it was the Beginning!), at Cherokee NC, and north thru Asheville NC to the Little Switzerland NC area... a BEAUTIFUL drive!
We did this over several days, with a stop north of Asheville, at the mountain-top hideaway RV park - Campfire Lodgings.
Several topics of the BlueRidge Parkway over the years peaked my interest in some of the 'tales' of the road, where really the 'truth' should prevail, for instance, TUNNELS
The BlueRidge Parkway has over 30% of the Tunnels within the whole United States National Parkway road system
. That's an amazing fact, but sometimes we fail to take advantage of the beautiful drive simply because of what we've 'heard'
about the Tunnels.
The many tunnels along the whole of the BlueRidge Parkway are completely easy to drive thru, very well maintained, and not ANYTHING to be concerned with - no more than any typical overpass on any normal highway you drive under every day.
What many have stressed over, though, is the 'tale' of several that lie toward the very end of the BlueRidge parkway as you approach the last several miles toward Cherokee NC. The last 6 or so are some of the 'lowest' heights on the parkway, but they are certainly easy to traverse, regardless. They can handle the highest of RVs, fifth-wheels, or the largest Motorhomes.
Now, having said that, the published 'height' signage, by the BlueRidge Parkway's standards, is the LOWEST POINT AT THE FAR EDGE OF THE ROADWAY, otherwise, the far outside EDGE of the stripped line on your right side. The MIDDLE of the roadway is MUCH higher
, since the tunnels are curved up to that maximum height in the center, of course. You'll find that the published maximum Heights(the National Park Service for the BlueRidge Parkway shows these online) are well above any RV or Motorhome's highest point. : )
Now, again, to make the least stressful drive thru the 'lowest' three tunnels(I'll state these as #3,#4 and #5) from a Cherokee, NC start, may require you to drive thru the middle, versus the right lane, BUT, the good news is that all of these tunnels are VERY short
, you can mostly already see out the other end once you've barely entered.
If you don't have an escort(such as my wife driving our tow car ahead of me), you can simply use a series of horn beeps as you enter one end, letting the other 'end' know that you are coming thru. While I drove thru at a faster pace since my escort let me know it was clear, I would have little problem driving it cautiously even without one.
A word of experience: since these lowest tunnels are at the 'end' near Cherokee, if you are starting from there and going north toward Asheville, start early in the morning when little traffic would be coming from the other direction anyway.
You'd probably not meet a single vehicle until well into your travel day.
I actually found the low hanging tree branches more problematic, if such, especially after a rain. But, take your time, drive carefully, and make use of the MANY, MANY viewing points and turnouts
to stop and take in the sights, and let the traffic behind you go on. They'll appreciate it.
This is also some of the most beautiful parts of the parkway, and the Highest section in the whole roadway system
. You'll average 20 mph or so, so plan your day accordingly. The views are well worth the drive!
go, travel, enjoy!