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Author Topic: Can you drive the Blue Ridge Parkway from south to north in one day?  (Read 14097 times)

Roadgeekteen

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My family is visiting the region and is wondering. Also, is the North Carolina or Virginia part better?
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Re: Can you drive the Blue Ridge Parkway from south to north in one day?
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2022, 04:12:25 PM »

Yes.

Do you *want* to do that? Idk.

I haven't been on the BRP in VA, so I can't legitimately answer the NC vs VA question, but in general the Appalachian mountains in NC are "better" than in VA.
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Re: Can you drive the Blue Ridge Parkway from south to north in one day?
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2022, 04:12:52 PM »

Maybe on one very long day, but it would be a tremendous waste, since you wouldn't be able to stop anywhere to do it.  Too much to see and do.

If you're including Skyline Drive, the drive through Shenandoah National Park is spectacular.

Speed is strictly enforced, used to be 35 mph.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2022, 04:16:23 PM by Rothman »
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Re: Can you drive the Blue Ridge Parkway from south to north in one day?
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2022, 04:29:27 PM »

The parkway is 469 miles long, and the maximum speed limit, which I understand to be fairly well enforced, is 45 mph. That leaves a minimum of 10 hours and 25 minutes to drive its full length. Whether that's enough for you, I can't say.

That said, while I've never driven the Blue Ridge Parkway, I have driven on the the Natchez Trace Parkway, a similarish sort of road in that it is also a part of the National Park Service. It took me 3 hours to go 88 miles, for an average speed of a smidge less than 30 mph. A similar pace for the whole length of the Blue Ridge Parkway would take about 15 and a half hours.
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Re: Can you drive the Blue Ridge Parkway from south to north in one day?
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2022, 08:31:02 PM »

I've done roughly 25 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway and 2/3 of Skyline Drive, all in Virginia, and from that experience my answer would be no.

As others have noted, it might be technically possible, but you're going to want to stop at some of the scenic overlooks, and that tends to be time consuming.

Skyline Drive, though, is definitely doable in a day and that has pretty good scenery.. IMO once you've seen Skyline Drive, the Blue Ridge Pkwy is kind of just more of the same and yes it's scenic, but it's quite curvy and hard to make up time, so it's a lot more wearing than cruising down the interstate, especially in the late afternoon/evening hours.
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Re: Can you drive the Blue Ridge Parkway from south to north in one day?
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2022, 12:07:29 AM »

I drove the Blue Ridge Parkway between US 441 and US 23/74 last fall. That's about 25 miles. It took me an hour and a half.

If you were to somehow drive all of the Blue Ridge Parkway in a day, you would miss all of what makes the Blue Ridge Parkway...well, the Blue Ridge Parkway.

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Re: Can you drive the Blue Ridge Parkway from south to north in one day?
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2022, 12:36:09 PM »

The majority of the route is in Virginia, which bans radar detectors. That means stick to the speed limit.

We took a family vacation back in the 1980s, entering Skyline Drive from US 33. We made it to Boone, N.C. on the first day. Woke up the next morning and the whole area was fogged in, so my dad bailed at Asheville and we took another route to Cherokee before crossing over to Gatlinburg. I went back a few years ago and drove from the southern end back to Asheville to clinch it.

Lots of tunnels on the southern section and then there's the Linn Cove Viaduct that's interesting from a road perspective.
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Re: Can you drive the Blue Ridge Parkway from south to north in one day?
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2022, 02:52:25 PM »

You can but you won't enjoy much of it if you do.

I got to go in early June 2013, with spectacular timing as the remnants of an early season tropical storm made landfall in NC and drifted into western VA. At least I got all the NC part mostly in, but really missed tons of the VA stretch.
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Roadgeekteen

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Re: Can you drive the Blue Ridge Parkway from south to north in one day?
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2022, 08:09:40 PM »

I don't think that we will do it in one day. I think we will do most of it in chunks going both north and south.
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Re: Can you drive the Blue Ridge Parkway from south to north in one day?
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2022, 08:40:27 PM »

The majority of the route is in Virginia, which bans radar detectors. That means stick to the speed limit.


As a federal facility, it would make more sense for state laws such as a radar detector ban to not be applicable here, but I guess in this case they don't care.
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Re: Can you drive the Blue Ridge Parkway from south to north in one day?
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2022, 10:27:04 PM »

The majority of the route is in Virginia, which bans radar detectors. That means stick to the speed limit.


As a federal facility, it would make more sense for state laws such as a radar detector ban to not be applicable here, but I guess in this case they don't care.

I guess I've never really understood what the big deal is about radar detectors. Even assuming you're not following someone (unlikely), what's the point of using a radar detector on a scenic road like the Blue Ridge Parkway to begin with?
« Last Edit: August 08, 2022, 10:29:32 PM by webny99 »
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ran4sh

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Re: Can you drive the Blue Ridge Parkway from south to north in one day?
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2022, 10:29:26 PM »

It's nice to be able to detect police even when you're not speeding.
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Re: Can you drive the Blue Ridge Parkway from south to north in one day?
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2022, 10:30:57 PM »

It is hard to think that radar detectors detect them before you're already caught.
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webny99

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Re: Can you drive the Blue Ridge Parkway from south to north in one day?
« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2022, 10:43:35 PM »

^ That reminds me of an experience I had on I-390 the other day. I was moving along at around 80 mph (speed limit 65) when I noticed a state trooper in the median. I slowed to about 70 mph, went past, and the trooper pulled out not far behind me. At that point I was a bit nervous so I stayed right and didn't speed back up. The trooper approached and eventually went past. Not long afterwards, a Mazda went past a pretty good clip and caught up to the trooper. He was behind him for a bit and probably intended to stay there, but then the trooper quickly moved right and slowed way down. Seconds later, boom, lights flashing behind the Mazda.

While I counted my lucky stars, I couldn't help but wonder if he had already caught the Mazda before he even pulled out of the median.
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webny99

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Re: Can you drive the Blue Ridge Parkway from south to north in one day?
« Reply #14 on: August 08, 2022, 10:49:13 PM »

As for radar detectors more generally... I guess I'm not sure what the advantage is to knowing police are present if you're not speeding. And when you are speeding, detecting police yourself is just part of being an attentive driver IMO. A little bit of extra watchfulness (in my case bordering on paranoia at times) certainly never hurts when you're trying to stay awake and attentive behind the wheel.
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hbelkins

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Re: Can you drive the Blue Ridge Parkway from south to north in one day?
« Reply #15 on: August 09, 2022, 12:28:02 PM »

Even on scenic roads, the speed limits can be underposted.

Some radar detectors are not very good. Others (like the Valentine One) are excellent and will give you plenty of advance warning.

My V1 has paid for itself many times over. Not necessarily on freeways, but on surface routes where you have these little wide spots in the road where the speed limit is reduced to 35 or 45 and it's perfectly safe to drive 55 or more.
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ran4sh

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Re: Can you drive the Blue Ridge Parkway from south to north in one day?
« Reply #16 on: August 09, 2022, 12:37:30 PM »

As for radar detectors more generally... I guess I'm not sure what the advantage is to knowing police are present if you're not speeding. And when you are speeding, detecting police yourself is just part of being an attentive driver IMO. A little bit of extra watchfulness (in my case bordering on paranoia at times) certainly never hurts when you're trying to stay awake and attentive behind the wheel.

My first reply got removed so I'll elaborate on it a little.

For some demographic groups, and/or political ideologies, there is distrust of the police in general, and thus they find it useful to know if police are present. A radar detector is a tool that helps them do that, which makes it useful even when they are not speeding or otherwise violating the law.
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Re: Can you drive the Blue Ridge Parkway from south to north in one day?
« Reply #17 on: August 09, 2022, 12:41:50 PM »

It is hard to think that radar detectors detect them before you're already caught.

I don't use one anymore, but in my younger days my Valentine One saved me more than once. Its "Radar Locator" arrows and "bogey counter" can help a lot in that situation. I once picked up two radar sources ahead and slowed down. Passed one cop. The guy next to me figured he was past the cop, floored it, and got caught by the next cop a short distance ahead. Another time I was picking up instant-on X-band coming from behind on I-59 in Georgia. I set the cruise control to just under the speed limit and eventually spotted the unmarked cop car. He followed me, zapping me periodically with X-band, all the way to the last exit before the Alabama state line.

I've read that lidar (laser) detectors are much less useful, though for the most part that feature is built into pretty much all radar detectors anyway.
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Re: Can you drive the Blue Ridge Parkway from south to north in one day?
« Reply #18 on: August 09, 2022, 12:48:55 PM »

I am 100% pro-radar detector.  100% worth it.  Of course, all revenue based law enforcement should be banned in the first place.

As far as the BGP, the only cops I have ever seen on it are Park Rangers, so I really don’t think they care about radar detectors, since that is a state law.  I don’t think the locals have jurisdiction.   

And, yes, you can get a federal speeding ticket.  Happened to a co-worker of mine.  Had to do a call to the FBI Center in Clarksburg, which has a long road up to it, that is federally maintained.  He got pulled over by the FBI Police (which seems redundant, but its a thing) and had to pay the ticket at the federal courthouse to the federal magistrate.
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Re: Can you drive the Blue Ridge Parkway from south to north in one day?
« Reply #19 on: August 09, 2022, 03:07:56 PM »

So the main arguments for radar detectors so far are 1) they're necessary to identify police running radar, and 2) identifying police running radar should change your driving behavior. 

I don't believe either of those things are necessarily true. For 1), you can usually spot them in advance if you're alert, and 2) just doesn't align with how I approach driving in general. If you feel you need to significantly slow down or alter your behavior in any other way because of police presence, that doesn't speak well of one's driving habits. If anything, slowing way down is only a red flag to the police. There's no need to feel you were "saved" by knowing about them in advance unless you truly believe you were doing something egregious - in which case, maybe you shouldn't have been doing it (and by that I don't mean speeding unless it was truly unsafe for conditions or more than at least 15-20 mph over the limit - granted, I am used to tolerance of 15 mph over the limit, and I know that's not the case everywhere).
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SectorZ

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Re: Can you drive the Blue Ridge Parkway from south to north in one day?
« Reply #20 on: August 10, 2022, 07:34:06 AM »

What the hell happened to the Blue Ridge Pkwy discussion?

Can VA State Police even patrol it anyways?
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Re: Can you drive the Blue Ridge Parkway from south to north in one day?
« Reply #21 on: August 10, 2022, 07:42:01 AM »

The majority of the route is in Virginia, which bans radar detectors. That means stick to the speed limit.


As a federal facility, it would make more sense for state laws such as a radar detector ban to not be applicable here, but I guess in this case they don't care.

Virginia designates federal police officers under the Department of the Interior (which the NPS is under) as peace officers under state law, meaning they can enforce state laws, but not all states do this. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong.

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Re: Can you drive the Blue Ridge Parkway from south to north in one day?
« Reply #22 on: August 10, 2022, 08:38:40 PM »

So the main arguments for radar detectors so far are 1) they're necessary to identify police running radar, and 2) identifying police running radar should change your driving behavior. 

I don't believe either of those things are necessarily true. For 1), you can usually spot them in advance if you're alert

Do the police not use unmarked cars, park behind obstructions, or write tickets at night where you are?

I've never owned a radar detector–I just set cruise to the speed limit and grumble when it's underposted–but I think any pretense that the cops "play fair" when it comes to being able to spot them without technological aids is wishful thinking.
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Re: Can you drive the Blue Ridge Parkway from south to north in one day?
« Reply #23 on: August 10, 2022, 08:41:36 PM »

So the main arguments for radar detectors so far are 1) they're necessary to identify police running radar, and 2) identifying police running radar should change your driving behavior. 

I don't believe either of those things are necessarily true. For 1), you can usually spot them in advance if you're alert

Do the police not use unmarked cars, park behind obstructions, or write tickets at night where you are?

I've never owned a radar detector–I just set cruise to the speed limit and grumble when it's underposted–but I think any pretense that the cops "play fair" when it comes to being able to spot them without technological aids is wishful thinking.
Cruise to the speed limit?  How achingly slow.
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Re: Can you drive the Blue Ridge Parkway from south to north in one day?
« Reply #24 on: August 10, 2022, 09:29:41 PM »

It’s best to break up the drive in three pieces and just enjoy yourself. Take advantage of the trails along the way for hiking.

If you must do it in one shot allow three days to do.  Remember, it transits Asheville and Roanoke which are great places to lodge.  The US 70 exit in Asheville ( Tunnel Road) is great place to stop for the night. Plenty of motels and eateries. At one time the Poseidon was a great restaurant to have lunch or dinner right off the parkway on US 70 east. I believe it closed.😒
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