▶ BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY
THE PARKWAY'S LARGEST RECREATION AREA
Doughton Park picnic areas and campground open May 9
Brinegar Cabin craft demonstrations begin May 24 through the summer on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 10am to 4pm; schedule a special group presentation on Mondays by calling 540-745-9680
As the largest recreation areas along the Parkway, this 5,732 acre park features picnic areas (milepost 241), a campground (milepost 239), historic cabins (milepost 238.5), and more than 30 miles of hiking trails which crisscross rolling ridge top meadows, streams, and steep mountainsides.
The more adventurous hiker can test their endurance on the 7.5 mile Bluff Mountain Trail, which follows the Parkway, or the 4.2 mile Cedar Ridge Trail, both accessible from the Brinegar Cabin parking lot overlook (milepost 238.5). Families looking for a more leisurely stroll can enjoy the Fodder Stack Trail, a 2-mile loop trail, which offers hikers an overview of the diverse flora of the region, including wildflowers and flaming azaleas in the spring. Year round, anticipate sightings of white-tailed deer, raccoons, red and gray foxes, and bobcats along the trails. Other moderate to strenuous hikes, such as the Bluff Ridge Primitive Trail, Flat Rock Ridge Trail, and Grassy Gap Fire Road, offer hikers breathtaking views.
Step back in time and follow the Basin Creek Trail for 3.3 miles past cascading waterfalls to reach Wildcat Rocks overlooking a 120-year old, one-room Caudill Cabin homestead. The cabin was once part of a thriving, 60,000 acre Basin Cove community until the 1916 flood destroyed nearly all neighboring homes. The only other remaining structure is the Brinegar Cabin, built in the 1880s by Martin Brinegar for his family, which is now listed on the National Register of Historic Sites. During the summer months, visitors can enjoy craft demonstrations, including weaving on a century old loom inside the home and dying fibers using plants from the garden and imagine what life was like living as a backwoods pioneer as the Brinegar family did for more than 50 years.
Basin Cove also offers primitive camping and fishing in a creek stocked with rainbow and brook trout.