All About the Blue Ridge Mountains

The gorgeous, and incredibly popular Blue Ridge Mountains are part of the large Appalachian Mountains, and run from Georgia to Pennsylvania.  The majority of the mountain range, is in Northern Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.

The Blue Ridge Mountains encompass the Great Smoky Mountains, the Great Balsams, the Roans, the Blacks, the Brushy Mountains, and some other lesser known ranges.  

The Blue Ridge Mountains are the highest mountains in the Eastern US, with the highest peak being Mt. Mitchell, at 6,684 feet.

Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains is most popular National Park in the United States, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which receives more than 11 million visitors each year.  

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, part of the Blue Ridge Mountains

The Blue Ridge Mountains also include the Shenandoah National Park, and the very popular Blue Ridge Parkway, one of the scenic roads in the world.

Blue Ridge Mountains Map

Where are the Blue Ridge Mountains?

The Blue Ridge Mountains are located in the Southeast United States, and run for about 620 miles from southwest Pennsylvania, to Northwest Georgia.  The Blue Ridge run through Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Why are the Blue Ridge Mountains Blue?

The Blue Ridge are both noted and famous for their unique blue color, often seen when viewing the mountains at long distance from higher elevations.  

This blue haze is caused by the numerous trees covering the mountains and surrounding valleys.  The trees release isoprene into the atmosphere, which contributes significantly to the distinctive blue color.

The Cherokee Indians, called their homeland, Shaconage (shah-CON-uh-gee) ... the land of the blue smoke. 

Hiking and Waterfalls in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Hiking Max Patch NC

One of the main attractions of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is the thousands of miles of hiking trails, including the famous Appalachian Trail, which begins in Georgia, and travels through the Blue Ridge.

>> See our guides to more than 50 hiking trails in the Blue Ridge.

Also popular are the hundreds of waterfalls, many being roadside or just a short distance from roads and parking areas.  For those that are disabled, or have limited mobililty, there are also a number of roadside waterfalls for you to visit as well.

>> Learn all about the more than 40 waterfalls we've visited, on our Waterfalls page.


Cataloochee Valley Elk

The Blue Ridge Mountains are full of wildlife, including the popular Black Bear, Elk, Deer, and wild turkeys.

While wildlife can be seen all through the Blue Ridge, popular and common places to encounter wildlife include:

Scenic Drives

Take one of the many scenic drives through the Blue Ridge Mountains, and see incredible views, wildlife, waterfalls, Fall Colors, and more!    

Some of the most popular drives include:

>> See more on our Best Scenic Drives page.


Biltmore Estate

The Blue Ridge Mountains, and cities in and around the mountains are full of wonderful places to see, things to do, places to stay, and places to eat!

Some of the more popular attractions include:

Popular Blue Ridge Mountain Cities and Towns

The Blue Ridge Mountains are full of cities and small towns, that make for wonderful destination spots and retreats.   The Blue Ridge provide a wonderful mix of big city options, for those wanting a faster paced vacation, to more remote and natural smaller towns, full of small mom and pop shops, and nature.    

Helen Georgia

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