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May 3, 2021, 12:53 p.m.

Top Spring Adventures in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Blue Ridge Parkway photo by Andrew James

An early spring is in the air in the Blue Ridge Mountains and there’s no better time to get out and explore! Wildflowers are appearing along mountain trails, waterfalls are rushing with the water from spring rain showers and area attractions are opening their doors for the season.

Here are a few of our top recommendations for exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains this spring:

Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway

Hiking the Blue Ridge Mountains

“America’s Favorite Drive” is wonderful in all seasons, but spring is the perfect time to enjoy a scenic drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway as it winds among mountain peaks and ridges. Drive to the summit of Mount Mitchell to see the stunning view from the highest point in the eastern United States. Enjoy a picnic at Crabtree Falls or Craggy Gardens. Go treasure hunting at Emerald Village near Little Switzerland. And though it may be too early for apple picking, you can enjoy the hiking trails and general store at the historic Orchard at Altapass beginning in early May.

Find a Favorite Waterfall

Spring showers make for breathtaking waterfalls in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The area is home to several waterfalls that are accessible by easy or moderate hikes, including favorites like Catawba Falls near Old Fort (scheduled to re-open in spring 2024.) and the family-friendly Tom’s Creek Falls between Marion and Little Switzerland. Or head north to Linville Falls, where the Erwins View Trail leads past four overlooks on these picturesqe falls. Check out our Hiking & Waterfalls Guide for more.

Escape to the Lake

People in a boat on a Lake James adventure

Lake James State Park is a great spring destination for the whole family. The park’s two recreational areas offer more than 25 miles of trails for hiking and biking, plus campgrounds and boat access. Rent a canoe, kayak or paddleboard (beginning in May) to choose your own lake adventure, and come back in the summer to check out the swimming beach.

Stroll a Small Town Main Street

Browse local shops, restaurants, breweries and galleries in historic downtown Marion or along East Main Street and Catawba Avenue in Old Fort. Learn about early 20th century life at the Mountain Gateway Museum or shop for a unique souvenir. Visit a village of Swiss-style chalets in Little Switzerland and enjoy a scenic drive down The Diamondback, a twisting route popular for motorcycles and sports cars.