You can get a glimpse of the scenic beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia by scrolling through our @visitvbr Instagram feed.

We’re fortunate to have many locals and visitors who share their adventures with us on Instagram by tagging us in photos and using our #BlueRidgeDay hashtag.

One of those locals is Caity Johnson, a local college student who goes by @caijohn13 on Instagram. Caity was born and raised in Virginia’s Blue Ridge and has a passion for the outdoors, which she shares by documenting adventures with fun photos on Instagram.

She’s currently completing an internship with the National Park Service and is a certified Leave No Trace trainer, helping others understand the importance of respecting and protecting the natural beauty of this region.

Caity was kind enough to answer some of our questions about her favorite spots to explore in Virginia’s Blue Ridge and provide some insight into the inspiration for her great Instagram feed.

Your Instagram photos clearly reflect a love for the outdoors. Where are some of your preferred outdoor spots in Virginia’s Blue Ridge?

I love being on the trail and on the river around here. One of my favorite paddling spots is the Roanoke River Gorge. As far as hiking goes, our sections of the AT (Appalachian Trail) around here are pretty great and those views never get old. I can’t forget to mention the Blue Ridge Parkway - it is always my favorite detour!


A photo posted by Caity (@caijohn13) on

You post awesome photos throughout the year. Do you have a favorite season?

I really love being outside throughout the year, but you can’t beat the spring. I am the happiest when the animals and flowers are coming out.


A photo posted by Caity (@caijohn13) on

Is there one particular experience/memory that stands out from your adventures in the area?

My favorite memories are the ones I share with friends that are trying something new - whether it’s kayaking, hiking, climbing, etc. It’s awesome to be there and experience their first time doing something that you love. Good times should be shared!


A photo posted by Caity (@caijohn13) on

How would you describe this region?

We are surrounded by mountains that are rich with natural beauty and cultural significance. Whether you bring your canoe, climbing shoes, or camera - the Blue Ridge has so much to offer and explore. 


A photo posted by Caity (@caijohn13) on

For someone visiting the area who enjoys taking photos, would you have any advice or recommendations for them?

I’d say - don’t do it *just* for the photos! It’s a good reminder for us all to enjoy ourselves and our surroundings, too. Oh and “Leave No Trace” (of course)!


A photo posted by Caity (@caijohn13) on

Speaking of “Leave No Trace,” could you describe that concept and how everyone can take part in the idea?

If you’re like me and have a passion for the outdoors, seeing litter on the trail or campfires left burning makes you a bit frustrated. That’s what inspired me to become certified as a trainer in Leave No Trace (LNT). The idea behind LNT education is that there are seven ethics to consider while enjoying the outdoors - such as respecting wildlife and camping on durable surfaces. It’s our responsibility to preserve the beauty of nature for years to come. LNT aids in that by offering guidelines on how to enjoy the outdoors with as little impact as possible. I think it's easy to agree - we should share in the enthusiasm of keeping our favorite places protected, respected, and wild!

If you’re interested in more information, check out the official website for Leave No Trace.


A photo posted by Caity (@caijohn13) on

What are some experiences in Virginia’s Blue Ridge that are still on your bucket list?

That’s tough… I'd like to get into some more fly fishing around here, and there's some paddling and backpacking I'd like to do as well. I have actually not backpacked the Triple Crown yet - so that's on the list for sure!


A photo posted by Caity (@caijohn13) on

Thanks so much to Caity for taking the time to speak with us! Give her a follow on Instagram at @caijohn13 and see more photos of Virginia’s Blue Ridge by following us at @visitvbr

You can also share your photos with us by using our #BlueRidgeDay hashtag!