Who doesn’t love a good road trip? Especially when it is a beautiful drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, NC. Liz and I had recently received our new Garmin GPSMAP 64 and wanted to put it to the test on the hiking trails off the Parkway. The weather was perfect on this sunny Spring Saturday, and we found ourselves cruising on the parkway with the windows down enjoy the crisp air. Prepared with a packed lunch, our Adventure Bag, our friend Jacob, and our Garmin, made some stops along the drive to do a bit of Geocaching on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
The Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a National Parkway that is 469 miles and stretches across the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains. The Parkway is full of beautiful mountain scenery that stretches across the Appalachian Mountains and continues through several National Forests. The Parkway is full of tranquil hiking trails, located off the main road, making them easily accessible. And of course, what can you often find on these hiking trails? That’s right Geocaches!
Check out our experience in the “Napa Valley of Beer” in Asheville, NC
*No cache can be placed on National Park lands*
In the rules of Geocaching, you cannot place caches in or on National Parks lands or Parkways. However, in this area there are miles and miles of trails that are technically just off the Parkway land, making it perfect for geocaching. And the trails are beautiful! In fact, people from the city of Asheville will often use the parkway for exercise, whether it is running, hiking, or biking.
As we head out for our day of geocaching on the Blue Ridge Parkway we first made a stop off at one of many pull overs to sit and enjoy our lunch. All cachers need their energy and we needed ours. We sat on the grass to enjoy our lunch, with a few other picnickers nearby, and we start planning our course of action and which caches to go after for.
Gear Up & Head Out On the Trails for some #AdventureCaching
Now that we are satisfied from lunch, we set out for our first cache of the day. We pulled out our Garmin GPSMAP64 out of our Mountainsmith Rift Messenger Bag and off we were. This particular Garmin device comes preloaded with 250,000 caches from geocaching.com. So some of the caches in this area were already loaded and ready to go, making it super easy and requiring less planning ahead! We immediately saw a road leading off the parkway nearby that had several trails, and some fun sounding caches located on it. So we headed out on the trail for a beautiful early Spring hike.
“Muggle” into a “Cacher”
Being early Spring, it was easier to make our way into the woods because there is less foliage to deal with. Liz pointed the way and Jacob and I started to search. This was our friend Jacob’s first Geocaching experience and man did he got into the spirit like a pro! We approached the first cache he spotted it from about 50 or so feet away. We let Jacob grab and cache and upon opening it, it was full of fun SWAG. He was hooked. He was no longer a “Muggle” but officially a “Cacher.”
We signed the log, dropped off a trackable, and replaced the cache. Then we kept moving down the trail to locate the next cache. There are so many wonderful trails off The Parkway that this made for the perfect way to get in our exercise after a long, lazy winter to search for some geocaches.
Check out some great Geocaching Supplies
While following the wonderfully maintained trail, we stopped every now and then to admire the views and enjoy this sunny Spring day. Then a few short minutes later, we came upon the second cache location. For this cache, we searched around quite a bit and began to wonder if we were going to be able to find this one. The areas off the trail were pretty steep.
Several minutes later Liz yells “found it.” Well personally I was hoping she was wrong because I hadn’t made a find myself yet today, but sure enough that was it. So everyone has found one except for me. We signed the log, replaced the cache deep in a hollow log, and were off to discover another one. Hopefully, one that I can help discover!
National Folk Art Center off the Blue Ridge Parkway
After a couple more finds on other hiking trails, we found ourselves back in the car enjoying the drive with the windows down and music up. At this point we needed to make a pit stop, and conveniently we ran across the National Folk Art Center. Not only was this was nice little stop to use the restroom and take a break, but we were able to get a stamp in our National Park Passport! We also had the chance to explore the museum a bit, and we really enjoyed seeing the unique pieces of crafts and art. From amazing quilts, to old pieces of sculpture and hand crafted furniture, there were many beautiful pieces.
Multi-Cache off The Parkway
Of course, we wondered if there could be a geocache close by. So we pulled out our device and noticed that there were actually two caches located here near the Folk Art Center. Both of these were Multi-Caches. Since you can’t actually place physical caches on National Park sights, this was a puzzle type cache.
We had to go through the museum and search out elements to solve a code, and reveal the coordinates to the physical geocache that was located nearby on a trail. We always enjoy these types of caches because it gives us a chance to explore a museum and learn a bit of history, while also using our brains to solve a puzzle. It’s great how Geocaching can be educational too!
Geocaching on The Blue Ridge Parkway: Complete Success
Once we got our coordinates we were off again and found ourselves on another trail leading to the final leg of this multi-cache. Jacob once again found this little guy out in the woods (a tough hide!). Liz and I were both impressed at how quickly he was ably to find the cache. I think he may be natural.
Geocaching on the Blue Ridge Parkway was a complete success. We loved how geocaching took us out to explore the beautiful hiking trails with amazing views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It was another great day enjoying the outdoors, getting some exercise, and learning a bit of new knowledge along the way.
Ride With Us Along the Blue Ridge Parkway!
Check out our short video and feel like you are taking the road trip with us along the Blue Ridge Parkway! Complete with music by an Asheville local, it’s a great way to take a moment out of your day for a bit of adventure! Click here: A Musical Drive On the Blue Ridge Parkway!