Home Blue Ridge Parkway registers 1 million more visitors in 2023 compared to previous year
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Blue Ridge Parkway registers 1 million more visitors in 2023 compared to previous year

Crystal Graham
waterfall bridge at crabtree falls
(© Jeffery Edwards – stock.adobe.com)

The National Park Service announced the Blue Ridge Parkway saw an increase of 1 million visitors in 2023. The increase was approximately 6 percent over 2022 and was higher than the increase nationwide.

Nationally, 400 national parks reported a total of 325.5 million visits in 2023, an increase of 13 million, or 4 percent more than 2022.

“The Parkway’s location, design, and proximity to so many gateway communities provide a wide array of rich natural, cultural, recreational and historical experiences for park visitors,” said Tracy Swartout, Blue Ridge Parkway superintendent. “Appealing to so many visitors of so many different interests and abilities is a hallmark of the Parkway experience across the decades.”

One of 429 sites managed by the National Park Service, the Blue Ridge Parkway was created as a national rural roadway with limited access, designed in the 1930s for pleasant motoring free from commercial traffic.

The Blue Ridge Parkway travels the crests, ridges, and valleys of five major mountain ranges, encompassing several geographic and vegetative zones ranging from 600 to more than 6,000 feet above sea level. It provides visitors with many varied vistas of scenic Appalachian landscapes ranging from forested ridge tops and mountain slopes to rural farm lands to urban areas.

The parkway offers a “ride-a- while, stop-a-while” experience that includes scenic pullouts, recreation areas, historic sites and visitor contact stations.

It is known nationally and internationally for its designed landscape as a scenic motorway.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.