THE COMPLETE BLUERIDGE PARKWAY
PART FOUR - ROANOKE TO SKYLINE DRIVE
Mile Marker 106 - 000

The northern end

Peaks of Otter
View of the Peaks of Otter Lodge with Flat Top Mountain in the background.


In August of 2010 Nancy and I took a week to explore the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive in depth. We started our trek at the southern end and worked our way north.

PART 1 CHEROKEE TO ASHEVILLE
PART 2 ASHEVILLE TO BOONE
PART 3 BOONE NC TO ROANOKE VA
see below for PART 4 ROANOKE TO SKYLINE DRIVE

SKYLINE DRIVE

An excellent source for information about the Blue Ridge Parkway and many other routes are the Motorcycle Adventure books written by Hawk Hagebak. He has published three volumes. Vol 2 covers the southern part of the BRP from Asheville to the NC/VA state line. Vol 3 covers VA. Volume 1 covers the far western NC, northern GA and eastern TN areas. We always have these when we ride and they are available in our ON-LINE STORE.

Leaving Roanoke northward the BRP crosses high over the Roanoke River at Mile 115.

VA 24 intersects at Mile 113 providing access into northern Roanoke. Fuel and food is to the west.

US 221 intersects the BRP at Mile 106 for the final time at Laymantown and then turns to the east toward Lynchburg. Fuel and food is at this exit.

At Mile 101 is the Quarry Overlook. Here, from an elevation of 2,170 feet, you can look down at the granite quarry near Blue Ridge, Virginia a mile to the south.

There are some great views on both sides of the BRP as you pass through the Jefferson National Forest.

At Bear Wallow Gap Mile Marker 91 VA 43 intersects and runs northward to Buchanan on the James River 5 miles distant. Here you can find food and fuel and some pretty good twisties on the way down. There is a long swinging bridge, old movie theater and drugstore with soda fountain and grill.

VA 695 (Goose Creek Road) intersect here and runs to the south. There are no nearby facilities, but the first mile or two has some good, desolate curves.

At Bearwallow the BRP takes a 90 degree turn to the southeast. At Mile 85 is the Peaks of Otter Lodge. Rooms here are in the $100 a night range and there is a restaurant and bar. The food has mixed reviews, but the lake and mountain views are great. Ride with caution in this area as deer are plentiful.

Peaks of Otter refers to the three nearby mountains; Sharp Top, Flat Top and Harkening Hill. The Lodge and Abbott Lake are located between these sharp three peaks offering scenic vistas are every direction. Stones from the peaks were sent to Washington DC and used in the construction of the Washington Monument.

At Peaks of Otter VA 43 intersects and heads southeastward. There is a campground located at the intersection. VA 43 has some good twisties in the first few miles.

From the Peaks the BRP turns back to its northeastward path.

At Mile 83 is Fallingwater Cascades Parking Area. Here a trail leads 1.5 miles along the length of Fallingwater Creek. The trail is moderate in difficulty and offers some good views of the cascades.

At Mile 77 you pass the highest point of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia at 3,950 feet. High above on Apple Orchard Mountain you’ll see the now defunct Bedford Air Force Station radar ball. The nearby Apple Orchard Pull-Off offers a good view to the southeast and a short 6 minute trail to stretch your legs. Here the Appalachian Trail crosses the BRP.

Arnold Valley Pull-off is at Mile 75 (3,700 feet) which has a long range view of the Allegheny Mountains and Arnold’s Valley to the west.

Petite’s Gap intersects at Mile 71 (elevation 2,361). Here a Petite’s Gap Road (gravel) meanders downhill four and a half miles before finding pavement. We took this road on our FJR on the 2009 Virginia trip PETITES GAP

At Mile 64 US 501 intersects. The BRP then crosses the James River. This is the lowest elevation for the entire Blue Ridge Parkway at 649 feet. The James River Visitor Center is located at the north end of the bridge. It has exhibits, hiking trails and a footbridge crossing the river underneath the highway bridge.

The BRP follows Otter Creek for a number miles passing Signthrough Otter Creek Recreation Area. There are various pull-offs to view Otter Lake and the creek.

VA 130, a Virginia Scenic Byway, intersects at Mile 62. Here the BRP turns toward the northwest for its final run to Waynesboro.

Otter Creek Campground at Mile 61 has tent and trailer camping, but no hook-ups.

Dancing Creek Parking Area at Mile 56 (elevation 1,300 feet) is a good place to have a picnic and enjoy the coolness of the babbling waters on a hot day.

Bluff Mountain Tunnel, the only tunnel in Virginia, is at Mile 53.

At Mile 46 there is a great view southwestward of the town of Buena Vista two and a half miles distant. A little farther west is the interesting town of Lexington, home of the Virginia Military Academy and Stonewall Jackson. We visited this unique town in 2009 and spent the entire day exploring its history. LEXINGTON

The Irish Creek Valley Overlook (elevation 2,660 feet) at Mile 43 offers a scenic look northwestward.

At Tye River Gap Mile 27 VA 56 (Crabtree Falls Highway) intersects and heads southward to the crossroads known as Montebello. Northward it is designated as the Tye River Turnpike. There is no fuel or food in either direction.Love Gap

The BRP then enters a mostly forested area passing a number of pull-offs. We then found the road surface to be deteriorated as we angled downhill near Mile 22.

At Mile 15 the BRP passes Love Gap and the nearby crossroads town known as Love. There is no fuel or food here.

At Reeds Gap Mile 14 VA 664 intersects. There are no facilities.

Ravens Roost Overlook (3,200 feet) at Mile 11 is a good picnic spot with great views and also a good photo op.

Rock Point Overlook at Mile 10 is a good vista looking northwestward.

As the Blue Ridge Parkway Marker 1nears its northern terminus there are some great mountain views to the northwest. On the east side of the road is a long rock wall with wood split rail atop.

In the last few miles the view switches to the southeast looking over Rockfish Valley and the town of Afton.

PART 1 CHEROKEE TO ASHEVILLE
READ PART 2 ASHEVILLE TO BOONE
READ PART 3 BOONE NC TO ROANOKE VA
see above for PART 4 ROANOKE TO SKYLINE DRIVE
SKYLINE DRIVE
Pine Tree Overlook
Taking a break at Pine Tree Overlook
Rock Point Overlook
Rock Point Overlook, Mile 10

About 92 Mile Marker - First sighting of Sharp Top Mountain, one of the three Peaks of Otter.
Bedford Air Force
At Mile 77, the highest point of the BRP in Virginia, you get a glimpse of the radar ball atop Apple Orchard Mountain.
Arnold Valley
View of Arnold Valley, Mile 75.


Double Bridge over the BRP

James River
Crossing the James River at Mile 63

Otter Lake, Mile 63
View of Buena Vista
View westward of the town of Buena Vista, VA. Mile 46
Irish Creek Valley
View of Irish Creek Valley at Mile 43
Mile 38 Forest
Forest in the area of Mile 38.

Mile 25, still on good road surface.
Ravens Roost
Monument at Ravens Roost Overlook Mile 11

Beautiful twisty at mile 9

Rocky pass at Mile 8

Old rock and split rail fence near end of the BRP

One final great view as we approached
the end of our BRP adventure

Northern Terminus Blue Ridge Parkway
The Northern Terminus of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
This is a ride that all motorcycle touring people should take. And take your time.


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