It's easy to see why the rugged eastern section of the Appalachian Mountains running through the state of Virginia and on into North Carolina and Tennessee is called the Blue Ridge. The hazy purplish-blue hue of these weathered peaks could have no other name. Whether the Blue Ridge Mountains are off in the distance as you drive on Interstate 81 or part of your driving experience as you traverse the Blue Ridge Parkway, the beauty of these ancient peaks is breathtaking.
In Virginia, the Blue Ridge Mountains extend from Winchester through the Southwest region, covering 45 counties. Mount Rogers, at 5,729 feet, is the highest Blue Ridge peak in the state. The mountains are ancient with rock determined to be more than a billion years old. Centuries of wind and water have worn away these mountains from their original Sierra-like heights. Still lofty, the Blue Ridge was a barrier to pioneers in the westward movement and kept much of the area isolated for centuries.
A good way to view the peaks and life along the way is by driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway which follows the crests of the mountains for 469 miles, extending into North Carolina and Tennessee. Hikers can get closer views along the Appalachian Trail which winds atop the range.
Outdoor recreation in the Blue Ridge Mountains is varied, from skiing to hiking, ballooning to bird-watching, spelunking to mountain biking?the mountains are a destination for many each year. Lodging ranges from four-star mountain resorts to rustic cabins with plenty of campgrounds thrown in along the way.