Blue Ridge Mountains
Blue Ridge Mountains, Shining Rock Wilderness Area
The Blue Ridge is a mountain chain in the eastern United States, part of the Appalachian Mountains, forming their eastern front from the Carolinas to New York State. To the west of the Blue Ridge, between it and the bulk of the Appalachians, lies the Great Valley.
Most of the rocks that form the Blue Ridge Mountains are ancient Granitic and metamorphosed volcanic formations, some exceeding one billion years in age. The slow, steady forces of wind, water, and chemical decomposition have reduced the Blue Ridge from Sierra-like proportions to the low profile of an old mountain range. By comparison, humans have been associated with this land only about 9,000 years.
The Blue Ridge Parkway extends 469 miles (750 km) along the crests of the Southern Appalachians and Links two eastern national parks: Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains. In many places along the Blue Ridge Parkway, there are metamorphic rocks (gneiss) with folded bands of light-and dark-colored minerals, which sometimes look like the folds and swirls in a marble cake.
Although the term "Blue Ridge" is sometimes applied exclusively to the eastern edge or front range of the Appalachian Mountains, in which range Grandfather Mountain is the highest peak, the geological definition of the Blue Ridge province extends westward to the Ridge and Valley area, encompassing the Great Smoky Mountains, the Great Balsams, the Roans, and other mountain ranges.
The range itself extends north into Pennsylvania; New Jersey, where it is known as the Kittatinnies; and lastly into New York where it becomes the Shawangunks.
The highest peak in the Blue Ridge and the Appalachian chain is Mt. Mitchell in North Carolina at 6,684 feet (2037 m). There are 39 peaks in North Carolina and Tennessee higher than 6,000 feet; by comparison, the northern portion of the Appalachian chain contains only one 6,000 foot peak, New Hampshire's Mt. Washington.
The Brushy Mountains in North Carolina are a "lost" spur of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Come to a place that towers above everything else in the East: the Mountains of North Carolina.
Here, along the Blue Ridge Parkway, you can drive all the way up to the clouds. And if you feel a mile high after you've hiked to the top of some of our peaks, there's a very good reason for it. You are. In fact, our mountains reach well over six thousand feet, offering some of the most spectacular views on earth.
But the magic of the North Carolina Mountains isn't just what you'll find at the top of them. It's what's waiting for you around every bend. More than eight hundred miles of Hiking Trails. Over three hundred waterfalls, some with sheer drops of four hundred feet. Miles of pristine trout streams. Fine artisan galleries. Quaint inns with five-star dining. Or camping spots with a billion stars overhead as your roof.
So this vacation, come to a place that always has the power to lift you up. Come to the North Carolina mountains. And take your vacation to unprecedented heights.