Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center. Photograph by Vicki Dameron
March 22, 2016
Signs of spring are finally breaking through winter’s cold grip, and the National Park Service has announced the Parkway’s 2016 opening schedule and hours of operation. Time to start planning your Parkway getaways.
Here’s a quick rundown.
- The official Blue Ridge Parkway opening date is May 6, when all the campgrounds offer full services. However, there picnic areas, visitor centers, and attractions that open earlier.
- The first concession facility to open was the Craft Center inside the Manor House at Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, milepost 249, on March 15. Peaks of Otter Lodge is also open. Pisgah Inn & Restaurant opens April 1.
- The Blue Ridge Music Center, milepost 213, welcomes visitors Thursday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 7-23. Midday Mountain Musicians will play on the breezeway daily from noon to 4 p.m.
- Linville Falls, milepost 316, is the first picnic area to open for the season on April 3. The rest officially open April 15.
- Craggy Gardens Visitor Center is the first to open on April 15 with hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday until May 5.
- Hint: Crabtree Falls Campground, milepost 399.5, may be the best kept secret this year. Though it was reopened in 2015 after an extended closure, the word hasn’t yet spread that the campsites are available again. Beat the crowds and pick this lovely spot for your next outdoor home base. The opening date is May 6.
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