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From May 2021 to spring 2022, a section of the Blue Ridge Parkway will be closed around the Roanoke area in Virginia's Blue Ridge.
The National Park Service will be completing repairs on the Roanoke River Bridge at Milepost 114 and also repairing a road hazard at Milepost 127.9 that was caused by heavy rains and landslides. As a result, the Blue Ridge Parkway will be closed from Milepost 112.2 (Route 24 near Vinton) to Milepost 136 (Route 221 on Bent Mountain) for thru-travelers.
The Parkway will remain open between Milepost 115.0 to 121.4, allowing for access to Roanoke County's Explore Park at Milepost 115.
While we look forward to when this section of the Parkway will eventually re-open, we have created a special detour route that you can utilize as part of your visit to the Roanoke Valley in Virginia's Blue Ridge. This route still features beautiful views and it also introduces you to some of the unique communities and things to do in our region.
The Blue Ridge Parkway access points for this detour route are Route 24 at Milepost 112 (North) and Route 221 at Parkway Milepost 136 (South).
This Google Map shows the recommended route for the detour between Milepost 112 and Milepost 136.
Detour Length: 26 Miles
Time: 45 Minutes
Traveling South on the Parkway - Milepost 112.4 to Milepost 135.9
Here are step-by-step directions from Google Maps for how to complete this route from getting off the Parkway at Route 24 and traveling south to get back on the Parkway at Milepost 136.
Traveling North on the Parkway - Milepost 135.9 to Milepost 112.4
Here are step-by-step directions from Google Maps for how to complete this route from getting off the Parkway at Route 221 and traveling north to get back on the Parkway at Milepost 112.4.
The following is a guide on neighborhoods and things to do along the Parkway detour route in Virginia's Blue Ridge, including public parks & trails, restaurants, shopping, and area attractions.
The Town of Vinton is one of many great small towns to explore in Virginia’s Blue Ridge. You can enjoy the outdoors with a relaxing walk along the Wolf Creek Greenway or get on the water at the Tinker Creek Canoe Launch, which connects to the nearby Roanoke River Blueway.
Snap a picture in front of the Vinton LOVE sign at the Vinton War Memorial, part of the popular series of Virginia LOVEworks art sculptures throughout the Commonwealth.
You can pick up local produce and hand-made goods at the Vinton Farmers Market.
And you can enjoy a delicious meal or drink at fun local spots, including farm-to-table burgers at FarmBurguesa, craft beer at Twin Creeks Brewing Company, and classic comfort food at Dogwood Restaurant.
The detour route provides the opportunity to spend some time in Downtown Roanoke, the largest metropolitan area in Virginia’s Blue Ridge. With its assortment of local shops, restaurants, museums and attractions, you could spend multiple days in Downtown Roanoke as your base for adventures in the Blue Ridge Mountains!
A few must-see spots include the Historic Roanoke City Market - Virginia’s oldest continuously operating open-air farmers market and the central anchor of Downtown’s Market District. Market Street is also home to numerous boutiques and local restaurants, as well as Center in the Square.
Center in the Square is a multi-story arts & cultural hub that houses multiple museums, including the Roanoke Pinball Museum, Roanoke STARCADE, Science Museum of Western Virginia, Harrison Museum of African American Culture, and Kids Square Children’s Museum. It also features a beautiful rooftop patio space.
For additional shopping, don’t miss the new Mast General Store at its recently opened location on the corner of Jefferson Street & Church Avenue in Downtown Roanoke.
Learn More: Downtown Roanoke in Virginia's Blue Ridge >
One of Roanoke’s most up-and-coming communities is the Wasena Neighborhood, and it can be the perfect spot to stretch your legs during this detour.
The area is home to a variety of new businesses and restaurants that have opened over the past few years, and it offers easy access to the popular Roanoke River Greenway, a great spot for walking and bicycling. If you want to plan an outdoor activity in Virginia’s Blue Ridge, Roanoke Mountain Adventures is a local outfitter that offers guided trips and gear rentals from its shop in Wasena.
You can also relax in the outdoors with a meal at The Green Goat, featuring one of our favorite pet-friendly patios in Virginia’s Blue Ridge.
You’ll find lots of hidden gems along Brambleton Avenue in Roanoke, which makes its way through the City of Roanoke and Roanoke County.
Get in a quick round of disc golf at the 9 hole course at Fishburn Park or take a walk along Murray Run Greenway - the only non-paved greenway in the city. If you’re into cycling, stop in at East Coasters Bike Shop, where they can offer all kinds of tips on riding in the region.
For a sweet treat, try the frozen lemonade at Deb’s Frozen Lemonade, a local favorite for Roanokers. You can also grab delicious baked goods at Our Daily Bread, which also offers one of the best brunch menus in Virginia’s Blue Ridge. Another popular spot with locals is the Brambleton Deli, where you can’t go wrong with the B.D. Special sandwich and a basket of beer battered fries.
And for some items to take home with you, don’t miss Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar and its vast selection of wine and craft beer.
Breathe in the fresh mountain air of Virginia’s Blue Ridge with a stop on Bent Mountain in Roanoke County.
Though not located directly on Route 221, you can take advantage of excellent nearby hiking at Bottom Creek Gorge, home to the 2nd highest waterfall in Virginia. Following the hike, head to AmRhein’s Wine Cellars for a beautiful setting and locally-grown Virginia wine.
A visit to Bent Mountain means you could have a meal at Bent Mountain Bistro, where you’ll catch the aroma of pit-smoked BBQ immediately upon your arrival into the parking lot. The menu also includes a great selection of brick oven pizzas. For the best of both worlds, try The Pig - a pizza topped with sausage, BBQ, and applewood smoked bacon.
In order to continue to provide access to Roanoke County’s Explore Park via the Parkway, the National Park Service will keep the Blue Ridge Parkway open between Milepost 121 to 115. You'll be able to get on the Parkway at Milepost 121 from U.S. 220 or Milepost 120 via Mill Mountain Parkway and travel north to get to the Explore Park entrance at Milepost 115.5.
Explore Park is a signature destination in Virginia’s Blue Ridge, offering a network of trails for hiking & mountain biking, an aerial adventure course with zip-lines and obstacles, water access to the Roanoke River Blueway, a brewpub for food & drink, and cabins & camping for overnight lodging.
Note: If not on the Parkway, it can also be reached via the Explore Park Service Entrance off Rutrough Road (Route 658).
Learn More: Outdoor Adventures at Explore Park >
We hope you enjoy your Blue Ridge Parkway detour in Virginia’s Blue Ridge and visit a few local businesses along the way! To learn more about the region and things to do, sign up to receive our free monthly e-newsletter and follow us on social media.
To learn more about the Blue Ridge Parkway, visit the National Park Service website.