Visitors reminded to plan ahead for winter travel on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Press release from National Park Service

National Park Service officials want to remind park visitors and neighbors that it is the time of year when winter weather and seasonal road maintenance activities can impact park access on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Park visitors should anticipate regularly changing conditions, plan ahead, and be aware of alternate routes if they encounter closures.

Parkway personnel are currently conducting winter maintenance activities, such as drainage cleaning, brush clearing, leaf litter removal and hazardous tree work. One aspect of this work includes boom axe operations which help control vegetation growth along the parkway. Park staff use a large tractor with a long arm cutting head to help create safer sight distances and a clear right-of-way. This tractor must remain in the travel lanes during operation to properly perform its work while cutting the banks and road shoulders.

While this work is underway, both lanes of the Parkway will be closed to all activity (cars, bicycles, and hikers) to ensure the safety of maintenance workers as well as park visitors. Locations and planned dates for winter maintenance closures are available on the Parkway’s website with work scheduled through early spring.  Affected sections close at approximately 8:00 a.m. each weekday and re-open daily by 4:00 p.m. The motor road will be open on the weekend, weather permitting.

In addition to planned maintenance closures, sections of the 469-mile parkway are often closed to motor vehicles in winter due to snow and ice on the roadway. However, given the length of the park, there can also be many days when some areas of the park may be open due to unseasonably warm temperatures. The most up-to-date road information can be found on the parkway’s Road and Facilities Closure Page, which provides daily status updates for each section of the Parkway from milepost 0 to 469.

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