The Blue Ridge Parkway offers unbeatable vistas

July 6, 2011 12:00 AM

For those who want to see the Appalachian Mountains, there is no better road than the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is consistently identified as one of the most beautiful roads in the country.

Stretching from Virginia to North Carolina, this highway takes drivers through a wide variety of mountainous landscapes, as well as awe-inspiring river valleys. The road starts in Virginia at Shenandoah National Park and ends in North Carolina at Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Perhaps no road in the country allows drivers so many spectacular views of the mountains. However, drivers should realize that the entire journey won't be spent high in the mountains. At several points, the elevation dips as the highway passes through a valley, such as by the James River.

One stop that drivers should not miss is in North Carolina. Mount Mitchell, part of the Black Mountains, is the tallest peak in the Eastern United States. While the numerous views along the Parkway are certainly unforgettable, its tough to beat the viewpoint from this massive mountain.

The road has become so famous that Virginia has selected it for inclusion on their upcoming state quarter. The U.S. Mint's next series of coins will feature "America the Beautiful," and the highway was chosen as Virginia's best offering.

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