Doughton Park

The Blue Ridge Parkway, that ribbon of road that meanders through the Appalachian Highlands is a great way to beat the summer heat. One balmy July morning many years ago, I found myself at Doughton Park, one of the Parkway’s most celebrated stretches. And let me tell you, it was nothing short of enchanting.

One reason why

Hellers Blazing Star & Tiger Swallowtail

Regardless of the time of year, the first thing you notice about Doughton Park, aside from the fact that it sounds like a place where British bakers might gather to discuss the merits of scones, is its sheer vastness. Spanning over 6,000 acres, you’ll need a few days to see it all. The park has a delightful cafe and campground. Not to mention plenty of trails. Some are easy. Others demanding.

So…take your time.

A few days ago, I decided to stretch my legs on one of the many trails that crisscross Doughton Park. The Bluff Mountain Trail is a favorite among those who like their nature with a side of history. At the North Eastern end of the trail you’ll find Brinegar Cabin, a relic from the 19th century. It’s a humble dwelling, but it tells a tale of the hardy souls who once called these mountains home. I half expected to see a bearded man in overalls emerge, offering me a jar of homemade moonshine. But, the only spirits I encountered were the ethereal mists that rose from the valleys below.

(Video of Bluff Mountain Trail below. I’ll post a video of the cabin and garden in a few days.)

After my hike, I found a grassy knoll (not that grassy knoll, history buffs) and settled down with a picnic. As I munched on my sandwich, I was joined by a curious deer, its ears twitching as it regarded me with large, liquid eyes. We shared a moment, me and that deer, two creatures enjoying the tranquility of Doughton Park. It was only when I offered it a bite of my sandwich that it decided our budding friendship was over and bounded away.

Doughton Park in summertime, with its verdant meadows, historic trails, and sun-dappled forests, is a testament to God’s grandeur. It’s a place that whispers of bygone eras and the timeless allure of the great outdoors. I couldn’t help but think: mountain_man you’ve found another piece of God’s Good Creation.

Wildcat Rock

The Blue Ridge Parkway, often dubbed “America’s Favorite Drive,” is certainly one of mine. As I ambled along its curves, every twist and turn unveiled a new breathtaking vista. The mountains, draped in a haze that gave the Blue Ridge its name, rolled into the distance, their green slopes dappled with sunlight and shadow.

When the day ended, I found myself watching the sun dip below the horizon. The sky was ablaze with hues of orange, pink, and purple, and the world seemed to hold its breath. It was one of those moments of pure, unadulterated beauty that makes you grateful to be alive.

If you ever you find yourself on The Blue Ridge Parkway in the heart of summer, near the NC/Virginia line, make your way to Doughton Park. Just remember to keep an eye on your sandwich.

Click on image for closer view. Green arrows mark video locations.

Bluff Mountain Trail
Early Morning

More videos of Doughton Park
in the next few days.