MTS From Blue Ridge Parkway Visitors Center to Folk Art Center

Posted By on May 6, 2021

MTS From Blue Ridge Parkway Visitors Center to Folk Art Center

6.74 miles; 639 ft. total elevation; Asheville, NC

So I saw this story about a tunnel on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail in my local paper. It read in part:

In April, a portion of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway, which sits along a section of land owned and operated by eight different jurisdictions, became an illegal dump and what many believed to be a public safety hazard.

Trail maintainers and environmental advocates spent months organizing meetings with land owners and government officials to clean it up and prevent future dumping.

And my first thought was “Wait, what? There’s a tunnel on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail? OH, COOL!”

So naturally, I had to go hike that section.

Bonus Tunnel!

Ooo! Tunnel… No, that can’t be THE tunnel, because the tunnel from the article goes under Interstate Route 40. It’s a BONUS tunnel!

Flame Azalea (Rhododendron calendulaceum)

Lots of these native azaleas in bloom, and they are lovely. Lots of other good stuff in bloom, too.

Rat Snake

Then there was this guy—a totally harmless black rat snake. He was just meandering along the trail, sort of like me.

Steps Down to the Road Crossing

Ah, I see we’re coming out to the road crossing. And the railroad crossing, and the Swannanoa River crossing. So many crossings!

Tunnel Entrance

And now… THE tunnel from the article. All nice and tidy. And yeah, that’s an Interstate highway whooshing by above.

“Scary” Tunnel

And here it is, the scary tunnel. It was fine.

At-Grade Crossing

Post-tunnel, there’s the at-grade railroad crossing.

Swannanoa River

And here’s the river crossing.

Signage and Stile

Imagine my surprise when, after I got over the river, I came across a stile! Haven’t seen too many of these since I’ve been in the mountains. The other side of the stile was a big ol’ cow pasture, complete with cows, who all ignored me for the lush grass. Mind you, still on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail the whole time, as you can see from the white blazes.

Under the Parkway

And over all our heads there’s the Blue Ridge Parkway. What a nifty hike! Many thanks to our local paper, the Asheville Citizen-Times, for pointing me towards this hike.

For more information about the Mountains-to-Sea Trail see this website. As always, click the image above for details about this hike and to download the gps track.


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