Start of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a National Parkway and All-American Road in the United States, noted for its scenic beauty. The parkway, which is America's longest linear park, runs for 469 miles (755 km) through twenty-nine Virginia and North Carolina counties, mostly along the Blue Ridge, a major mountain chain that is part of the Appalachian Mountains. Its southern terminus is on the boundary between Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Cherokee Indian Reservation in North Carolina, from which it travels north to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and offers access to the Skyline Drive. While the two roads join together end-to-end, they are separate and distinct entities, built as two different projects and managed by two different National Park Service units. The Blue Ridge Parkway was built to connect Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The Parkway, while not a "National Park," has been the most visited unit of the National Park System every year since 1946 except one (1949). Land on either side of the road is owned and maintained by the National Park Service and, in many places, parkway land is bordered by United States Forest Service property. The Parkway will be depicted on North Carolina's version of the America the Beautiful quarter in 2015.
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