The route of the Blue Ridge Parkway follows mountain and valley landscapes to link Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks. Its location was selected to provide the best in a variety of scenic, historic, and natural features that evoke the regional image of the central and southern Appalachian Mountains. To maximize scenic views and give visitors the impression that they are in a park with boundaries to the horizon, the Parkway was located in mountainous terrain that roads would normally have avoided.
The Parkway extends 469 miles through the Blue Ridge, Black, Great Craggy, Great Balsam, and Plot Balsam Mountains. It is known for spectacular mountain and valley vistas, quiet pastoral scenes, sparkling waterfalls, colorful flowers and foliage displays, and interpretation of mountain history and culture.