Weather and Seasons

The Parkway?s elevation ranges from 649 feet at Virginia?s James River to 6,047 feet south of Mount Pisgah in North Carolina. Sudden changes in weather are common in these mountains, so it’s a good idea to dress in layers, and to be aware of local weather forecasts for the area in which you are traveling. The Parkway Information Line, 828-298-0398, is also a good source of the latest weather forecast and road closures.

Springtime here in the mountains is a transitional period and very unpredictable. Winter weather can linger long after trees are greening up in the lowlands. Sunny skies can be followed quickly by cold fronts and snowy conditions. Afternoon rain showers are common. Below-freezing temperatures are still common throughout March and into mid April.

Summer is hot and humid as it is in most of the southeastern United States, but it is much more pleasant in the higher elevations. July and August high temperatures are typically in the 80s at mid to high elevations, warmer at the lower elevations. The summer temperatures can be considerably cooler at times and many times you will be glad to have a light jacket. Afternoon showers and thunderstorms are common and can move in quickly.

Warm days and cool nights are the normal conditions, with frost common at high elevations beginning in late September. By the time leaf color has peaked in late October, expect high temperatures to sometimes remain in the 50s and 60s. Freezing temperatures and snow are a possibility beginning in November.

Extreme winter weather can occur here, with wind, ice, and snow occurring even when the Piedmont has pleasant conditions. During times when ice and snow cannot be removed, either because of temperatures, lack of sunlight in constantly shaded areas, or lack of staff, portions of the Parkway will be closed.

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