Blue Ridge Parkway Viewing Of Solar Eclipse

Blue Ridge Parkway Viewing Of Solar Eclipse

How and where to go for Blue Ridge Parkway viewing of solar eclipse in North Carolina. Parts of the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina will be in the path of the total solar eclipse. On August 21, 2017 a total solar eclipse will take place in the continental United States. It will be visible from West Coast to East Coast from Oregon to South Carolina. The path does include the far western section of North Carolina including sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. This is the first time in 38 years that a total eclipse has been possible to see in the continental United States. The next total solar eclipse in the continental United States will not be again until 2024. The total solar eclipse in NC will be in the far western portion of the state.This is a huge event and very exciting for North Carolina to be in the path of a total solar eclipse.

Total Solar Eclipse In NC August 21, 2017 Viewing

Total Solar Eclipse In NC August 21, 2017 Viewing

The time for the total eclipse portion of for the western area of the state of NC and the Blue Ridge Parkway will be about 2:35PM and last about 2 1/2 minutes. The entire event will take about 3 hours from start to finish. So it will start just minutes after 1:00pm and be over about 4:00pm. But the sun being totally blocked by the moon will only last about 2 1/2 minutes from 2:35:04PM until 2:36:37PM. The darkness or shadow of the moon blocking the sun will cause the earth to become dark in the middle of the day. On Monday August 21, 2017 the day will turn to night and then night to turn to day!

The areas in the path of totality will experience darkness in the middle of the afternoon for about 2 1/2 minutes. NASA has stated that those people located ” in the path of  totality will see stars and planets become visible in what is normally a sunlit sky.” The area for a total solar eclipse will happen in about a 100-mile wide corridor from Oregon across the United States toward South Carolina. Earth’s moon will pass directly between the Earth and the sun, completely blocking out the sun’s light and making it dark as night for a short period of time that afternoon. From beginning to  end in any one location the entire process will last about 3 hours. That includes both partial phases, one as it begins, totality and one as it ends.


How and Where to go for Blue Ridge Parking viewing of solar eclipse

Blue Ridge Parkway in Path of Total Solar Eclipse in NC

Blue Ridge Parkway in Path of Total Solar Eclipse in NC

Some of the best places in North Carolina to view the 100 percent total solar eclipse will be from high elevations located in the NC mountains. This includes the southern section of the Blue Ridge Parkway in NC.  The Blue Ridge Parkway‘s southern end from milepost 418 to milepost 469 falls in the path of totality. Graveyard Fields, Black Balsam, Sam Knob, Devil’s Courthouse, and Waterrock Knob on the Blue Ridge Parkway are all in the path of totality. Other mountain sites in the path of totality in Western North Carolina include John Rock in Pisgah National Forest, Wayah Bald and Wesser Bald in Nantahala National Forest, and Whiteside Mountain near Cashiers. Crowds are expected so arrive early.


Good Places To Watch Solar Eclipse Along The Blue Ridge Parkway

Graveyard Fields MP 418.8

Black Balsam Trailhead  MP 420.2

Sam Knob   MP 420.2

Devil’s Courthouse   MP 422.4

Caney Fork Overlook   MP 428

Bear Trail Ridge Overlook   MP 430.4

Cowee Mountain Overlook   MP 430.7

Richland Balsam Overlook   MP 431.4 (the highest point on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Flat Gap Overlook  MP 435.2

Scenic Overlook  MP 441.3

Mt. Lynn Lowry Overlook   MP 445.2

Yellow Face Overlook  MP 446.4

Waterrock Knob Overlook   MP 451.2  (near Cherokee, NC)


Events Taking Place For The Solar Eclipse in NC

Along the Blue Ridge Parkway Asheville lies just north of that narrow band that will have 100% totality. The city will see a 99% solar eclipse and is just 50 miles north from the “path of totality,” where there will be a 100 percent eclipse. Asheville is having many special events but one is the Asheville’s Solar Eclipse Festival on August 21, 2017 from 12:00 noon until 3 p.m. The festival takes place in the heart of downtown Asheville in Pack Square Park. There will be music, food, eclipse related activities as well as safe eyewear to view the solar eclipse. This event is FREE!

Black Mountain is having Rock the Eclipse in Black Mountain August 19-21, 2017. Historic downtown Black Mountain will host many events all weekend long and on Monday the day of the solar eclipse. Black Mountain will experience a 98.9 percent solar eclipse.

Other towns are also having special viewing events. Sylva (in the path of totality) is having special events all weekend long and on Monday they plan a big celebration. Astronomy experts will have educational talks and demonstrations leading up to the time of the eclipse.

Dillsboro is having a family friendly party in Monteith Park. A free shuttle will run to shops and restaurants in the small town for people to use to easily get around.

Cashiers and the nearby Gorges State Park will have three days of free activities for the eclipse.  Again arrive early because the park will close on Monday when capacity is reached. In Cashiers, the Village Green will have food trucks and live music 12-4 p.m. Monday August 24 the day of the big event.

In Downtown Bryson City just south and on the edge of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park the city turns into a huge block party Monday afternoon. There will be live music and other special events taking place.

In Cherokee, gateway of the south to the entrance of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park there will be events held. They plan to have demonstrations of Warrior Dancers, storytellers and craft demonstration at the Fairgrounds and Museum of the Cherokee Indian. Tickets will cost $25.

Expect Crowds On The Blue Ridge Parkway

Here are some reminders to keep in mind for travel on the parkway that Monday. Traffic on the Blue Ridge Parkway that day will be very busy. Parking areas will fill up quickly. Visitors centers and public restrooms will also be crowded.The National Park Service does allows people to park vehicles anywhere on the Parkway as long as it is off the roadway. This means you can park in open fields, gullies, and unofficial scenic overlooks but please be sure you are parking on parkway property and not on any private property.

The maximum speed limit on the Blue Ridge Parkway is 45mph. Some sections are marked at 35mph. The parkway is made to be driven at a slow leisurely speed limit. Do not be in a hurry. The parkway is a two-lane road that does allow passing in many areas, but long stretches of no passing are marked due to the winding mountainous terrain. Traffic on Monday August 21 will probably even be slower and very congested due to the total solar eclipse taking place that afternoon.

Protect Your Eyes

No matter where you are to view this event make sure you protect your eyes. You must wear proper sunglasses to view a solar eclipse. Not all sunglass are safe to use for this type of event. Make sure the sunglasses you use to view a total eclipse are marked “Made in USA” by either Rainbow Symphony, Thousand Oaks, TSE or American Paper Optics. This will be printed on safe sunglasses to use “ISO 12312-2” or “ISO 12312-2:2015”. Sunglasses, eclipse shades or handheld viewers should meet the ISO safety standard. They also need to be in good condition, no tears, scratches, or  punctures.

What to do and how to prepare…





Woman Falls To Death At BRP Overlook

Woman Fall To Her Death At East Fork Overlook on BRP

Woman falls to her death along Blue Ridge Parkway at one of the overlooks. While visiting the Blue Ridge Parkway and stopping at East Fork Overlook an 83-year-old woman fell to her death. She fell about 150 feet below and down a steep rocky face at the overlook. People called 911 and multiple agencies responded including Haywood County Emergency Services, the Cruso Fire Department, Haywood County Search and Rescue, the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office and the National Park Service. The woman fell on Friday at about 10:45 am and her body was recovered about 1:00pm. The woman was identified as Nancy Ann Martin from Richmond, Virginia. East Fork Overlook is located at milepost 418. This area is located in the North Carolina portion of the parkway south of Asheville, NC.

East Fork Overlook Woman Falls To Her Death

East Fork Overlook
Woman Falls To Her Death

Officials warn visitors to stay on paved parkways and walkways, and clearing marked trails. Going over the low stone walls at overlooks can be dangerous. Steep drop-off and terrain is likely and it
is for safety reason that visitors should avoid these areas.With summer almost here the scenery is beautiful along the parkway. Officials caution people to take precautions while enjoying the views.

This is the second fatality this year on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Earlier this year a motorcyclist died while traveling the parkway. Harold Rose Jr was in a single vehicle accident on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Botetourt County Virginia. The crash happened on milepost 105 near Route 460 interchange.

Location of East Fork Overlook (just north of Brevard, NC)

Center map
Google MapsGet Directions




Synchronous Fireflies 2017 Dates

Synchronous Fireflies 2017 Dates Announced For GSMNP

The dates for the synchronous fireflies 2017 event in the Great Smoky Mountains at Elkmont this summer are May 30 – June 6, 2017. During these dates the shuttles will run taking those with tickets to Elkmont campgrounds each evening for the firefly viewing event.

Synchronous Fireflies 2017 Viewing Dates in GSMNP

Synchronous Fireflies 2017 Viewing Dates in GSMNP May 30-June 6

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park service has announced it will use the online lottery system for tickets again this year for the annual synchronous firefly event at Elkmont this summer. Dates to this year’s event were announced on April 25, 2017. The ticket lottery will open on April 28 and last through May 1. Lottery ticket winners will be notified on May 10.

This annual event has become so popular the park service had to start using a lottery ticket process in 2016 for the public to access Elkmont campground. Last year over 20,000 entered the lottery but only 1800 people got tickets. There is no fee for the lottery ticket but there is a $2.75 parking fee for the parking pass at Sugarland Visitor Center in Gatlinburg, TN. Shuttles will leave from Sugarland Visitor Center and take you to Elkmont campground located in the Great Smoky Mountains north of Cherokee, NC. Elkmont campground is the viewing area for the synchronous fireflies event. It is one of the few places in the world where you can see this special kind of firefly that flashes in sync.

Each year in late May and early June synchronous fireflies (Photinus carolinus), a species of fireflies that live in the GSMNP, provide an amazing show due to their mating pattern. This flash pattern is unique to this type of firefly (also referred to by southerners as lighting bugs). The flashing has a pattern that male and female fireflies of this species recognize. The synchronous flashing is part of their mating process. It is a fascinating act of nature to watch under the stars in the quit of the night in the Great Smoky Mountains.

The peak time for this annual mating season is in late May to mid June and will last for about 2 weeks. The National Park Service for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park each year has a viewing event at Elkmont Campgrounds. More information can be obtained at Event Page or by calling (877) 444-6777.

Important Dates to Know for the Synchronous Fireflies 2017 Event

Shuttles will run May 30 – June 6, 2017

Tuesday 4/25/17: Dates of event and shuttle operating period will be announced

Friday 4/28/17 at 12:00 p.m. (NOON) ET: Lottery for Vehicle Passes OPENS

Monday 5/1/17 at 8:00 p.m. ET: Lottery for Vehicle Passes CLOSED

Wednesday 5/10/17: All lottery applicants will be notified about their application. If SUCCESSFUL you will awarded a vehicle pass) or UNSUCCESSFUL and you were not awarded a vehicle pass)


Blue Ridge Parkway Rockslide Closes Section Near Craggy Gardens

Blue Ridge Parkway Rockslide Closes Parkway Near Craggy Gardens

A Blue Ridge Parkway rockslide has closed part of the parkway south of Craggy Gardens. The rockslide occurred on Saturday March 4, 2017 at milepost 365 near the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center. The parkway was open at the time but no injures occurred. Thirteen miles of the parkway is closed as a result of the rockslide. It occurred in one of the most vulnerable and unstable sections of the parkway. The section closed is north of Asheville between Bull Gap and Craggy Gardens. The length of time for the closure is unknown.

Blue Ridge Parkway Rockslide 3/4/17 Near Craggy Gardens

Blue Ridge Parkway Rockslide 3/4/17 Near Craggy Gardens

It was reported the rockslide brought down over 100 tons of rocks and boulders. Until the rocks can be removed and the damage to the road surface can be evaluated the amount time for the parkway road closure in this area will be unknown. Soon as the evaluation is completed by the engineers they will make public how long the closure is expected to last. The road to Mount Mitchell State Park remains open but can only be accessible from the north of the state park. Rockslides in the North Carolina mountains are common in winter due to the repeated freezing and thawing out.

Here is the link to a realtime road closure map for the Blue Ridge Parkway. It shows the location of the Blue Ridge Parkway rockslide that occurred on March 4, 2017 and the section of the parkway that is closed until repairs can be made.



Snow Closes Parkway Sections

Snow Closes Parkway Sections and Skyline Drive

Recent snow closes parkway in sections and all of Skyline Drive. Due to this past weekend’s cold temperatures and snowfall most areas of the Blue Ridge Parkway had to be closed. This also applies to Skyline Drive in Virginia in  the Shenandoah National Park. Several inches of snow in the mountains of North Carolina and Virginia made driving hazardous so park officials decided to close many sections. All of Skyline Drive in Virginia is currently closed. Most of the parkway in North Carolina is closed due to the snow and dangerous road conditions.

snow closes parkway sections

Snow Closes Parkway Jan 2017

Here is a link to the real-time closure road map from the park service. This is a real-time map of current road closures and conditions. It is a nice tool to use especially during the winter months if you plan to travel the Blue Ridge Parkway. It does not take a lot of snow, sleet or ice to cause problems for drivers on the parkway. Hikers are welcome to take in the beautiful scenery and views but caution is advised. The roads are very slippery so take care to stay safe. Temperatures at night will remain near freezing for several more days. More snow or some type of winter precipitation is possible again by the end of the week in Western NC and areas north. Plan accordingly.


BRP Weekly Fall Foliage Reports Underway

Fall Foliage Reports and Updates Underway

Travel Blue Ridge Parkway has started our weekly fall foliage reports and update for the 2016 fall foliage season. The color changes have begun in the highest elevations of the North Carolina mountains at Grandfather Mountain. There is even a hint of color in the mid elevations of 4000 feet. We are here to help you keep up to date on where and when to go to see the colorful show. We have started to update out Fall Foliage page on the web site at least once a week. The longer nights, cooler nighttime temperatures and the nice sunny days are just perfect to kick off this annual display of color.

Blue Ridge Parkway Fall Foliage Reports

Blue Ridge Parkway Fall Foliage Reports

Included in the weekly reports are where to go and when to go to see the colorful display along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia and North Carolina, a well as Skyline Drive in Virginia. The mountains in North Carolina will peak first due to the higher elevations. The mountains of Virginia along the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive are not as high and therefore the color changes take place about a week later than the NC sections.

With so many different types of trees along the 469 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway no wonder there is such a wide range of color during the fall foliage season. The trees that change earliest are Yellow Birch, American Birch and Witch Hobble. Then others follow like the Red Maple, Buckeyes, Sourwood, Sumac and Pin Cherry trees. The many colors of fall that result in such a vibrant display include reds, purples, yellow, golds, maroon, and orange. Different trees are prone to certain colors when the complicated process takes place each fall. Black gum, dogwood and sourwood trees take on a deep red color. Poplar trees and ash trees give off the bright yellow color. Oak trees turn a russet and maroon color. Red maple trees turn yellow, maroon and red colors. The beech and sassafras trees produce an orange color.

Make sure to check back often on our Fall Foliage page to find out when and where to go to see the best display of colors and when peak colors are taking place. But with all the different elevations along the parkway there will always be somewhere to see a splendid show of color during October.


Fall Foliage 2016 On The Parkway

Fall Foliage 2016 on the Blue Ridge Parkway

The fall foliage 2016 season will start at the end of the month for the mountains of North Carolina and Virginia. The predictions are in for this year’s show. Some experts predict a longer than usual season and some experts report duller colors than past years. But do they really know? There are so many factors involved in Mother Nature’s spectacular show that happens every autumn.

An autumn ride along the Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most beautiful times to tour the parkway due to the brilliant fall color nature produces. Whether the drive is on Skyline Drive in Virginia, Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia or the North Carolina section of the parkway it doesn’t matter. All areas in the fall offer a great showing of fall foliage. But there is some difference in the timing of peak colors due to the difference in elevation along the 469 mile long parkway. The highest elevation (over 4000 feet) will peak first with progression going down to the lower elevations a few weeks later.

Peak colors will take place just days after the first frost in the many different locations. For some great tips on viewing the fall foliage see the Fall Foliage page on Travel Blue Ridge Parkway. It has a lot of information about the different locations and elevations including where and when to go to see colors during the entire fall foliage season.

Blue Ridge Parkway Fall Foliage 2016

Blue Ridge Parkway Fall Foliage 2016


Shenandoah National Park Night Sky Festival

Night Sky Festival Takes Place at SNP

The Shenandoah National Park is hosting the Night Sky Festival the last weekend in July. It is a public event that takes place July 28 – July 31, 2016. This exciting event is a 4 day event that features star-gazing, celestial objects, the  Hubble Space Telescope,  sky lore and other facts and stories associated with the night sky. Other topics and programs include a talk about  Shenandoah’s night-time animals, how to take great photographs of the night sky, programs about our Solar System as well as the moon, multiple junior ranger programs, space exploration and why we do it, short hikes to view the night sky at various vantage points in the park and much more.

BRP Night Sky Festival

BRP Night Sky Festival

This program starts on Thursday July 28 and goes through Sunday July 31. It will be a great learning experience for the young and old. Learn about the night sky and creatures that love the dark. There will be many different exhibits and programs presented over the 4 days. For a complete list of information about Night Sky Festival make sure to download the complete list of events at the link listed below.

This is a copy of some information that is posted on the Facebook site about the festival.

“Celebrate the valuable resource of dark skies through guest presentations by astronomy experts, Ranger Programs, and viewing the beautiful night skies that Shenandoah National Park protects. The weekend will include constellation tours, solar scope viewing, telescope viewing, children’s activities and Junior Ranger programs, audio-visual presentations, star parties, hands-on activities, and more! Activities take place in a variety of locations throughout the Park.”

The Night Sky Festival events are hosted the by Shenandoah National Park & Delaware North at Shenandoah National Park. All the events are free of charge unless noted otherwise.

Night Sky Festival at Shenandoah National Park July 28-31, 2016

Night Sky Festival at Shenandoah National Park July 28-31, 2016

Here are just some of the events that will be taking place:
James Webb Space Telescope: NASA’s Successor to Hubble Space Telescope
Night Skies Program
Astronomy 101
What Do We Lose When We Lose The Night?
Spot the Station from Shenandoah

Here are some links to find out more about this special event:

National Park Service Night Sky Festival or

Shenandoah National Park Night Sky Festival  or

 Shenandoah National Park Calendar of Events or

Here is the link to download the complete list of events or go to


Check out the complete schedule at




Motorcyslist Killed By Lightning On Parkway

Motorcyclist Killed By Lightning On Parkway

A motorcyclist was killed by lightning on the Blue Ridge Parkway Saturday. The motorcyclist died this past weekend while he and friends were riding along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Mount Mitchell State Park in North Carolina. It was reported he was near the intersection of the Blue Ridge Parkway and the road that leads to Mount Mitchell State Park. After being stuck by lightning apparently someone initiated CPR on the 54-year-old man.

Lightning Kills Motorcyclist on BRP

Lightning Kills Motorcyclist on BRP

The man was identified as Scott Pasour who was with friends as he traveled on the parkway. They had stopped to put on waterproof rain gear since the weather had turned cloudy with storms approaching. Mr. Pasour was not on his motorcycle at the time but he was standing next to his ride when he was struck by lightning on his helmet. CPR was given to the victim by bystanders. The park service also responded with emergency care. Pasour was taken by helicopter to the Asheville, NC hospital Mission Hospital. It was at the hospital that he was  pronounced dead.

Scott Pasour owned Pasour Auto Repair. He was also a lay minister at Venture Church in Dallas, N.C. Scott Pasour leaves a wife, two children and three grandchildren as well as many friends from his church and community.


Mountain Lion Attacks Hiker On AT In Virginia

Mountain Lion Attacks Hiker On AT In Virginia

A hiker on the Appalachian Trail in Virginia was attacked by a mountain lion on Friday July 1, 2016. The mountain lion attack was near Humpback Rock in Augusta County near Waynesboro, VA. The Blue Ridge Parkway police called 911 to request assistance at the picnic area of Humpback Rock Friday afternoon. The hiker was reportedly attacked by the mountain lion on the AT at a location about 30 minutes away from the picnic shelter. The male hiker was treated for injuries and was in stable condition.

It is still uncertain that the attack was from a mountain lion. Park officials think the attack was due to a black bear and not a mountain lion. The hiker attacked on Friday was treated for unspecified injuries at Augusta Health in Fishersville, VA. As of Sunday he was in stable condition at the hospital.

There have been sightings of mountain lions in the past in the Shenandoah National Park and other nearby counties in western Virginia. But sightings are not common and attacks are even less common for this area.

Mountain Lion Attacks Hiker on AT in Virginia

Mountain Lion Attacks Hiker on AT in Virginia