Hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway raises the bar on books available for Parkway hikers. But Randy Johnson’s smaller volume for novice, older and family hikers-Best Easy Day Hikes Blue Ridge Parkway-is in a class by itself.
The larger book has been called “the definitive guide for Parkway hikers,” so expect the smaller book to be the best guide to that Parkway specialty-“the leg-stretcher trail.”
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a 500-mile motor trail between Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park and North Carolina’s Great Smokies-a world-class through-the-windshield experience. But the Parkway’s easy paths encourage everyone to have a noteworthy encounter with nature. That makes this Southern high road one of the premier places in the nation where parents can lead kids to fun and adventure. Where older hikers and novices can stand on a summit.
Crabtree Falls, NC
There’s no better single guide to the Parkway’s enticing nature paths. Best Easy Day Hikes Blue Ridge Parkway invites even the most sedentary traveler to get out of the car.
Best of all, the smaller book shares the finely -detailed topographic maps found for the first time in Hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway. It also shares the larger book’s approach of reaching out to include hikes in the national parks and forests, state parks, and private preserves that line the entire route.
Even though Best Easy Day Hikes Blue Ridge Parkway is a smaller book, the trail descriptions’ focus on history and culture, climate and geography-even sights to share with kids along the trails-brings readers the same kinds of insights as those found in the bigger volume.
The level of information and depth led Robert Morgan, the author of The New York Times best-selling book Gap Creek, to say “Randy Johnson has given us the fullest account and most helpful guide to that lofty open road. . . .”
Like the parent book, Hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway, Johnson’s family-focused Best Easy Day Hikes Blue Ridge Parkway features introductory chapters to the road’s four distinct travel regions. Each is packed with “not-to-be-missed” places to visit and advice from a nationally published, award-winning travel writer.
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Author Randy Johnson stood on his first mountaintop on a bitterly cold Boy Scout camping trip in the Virginia Blue Ridge and has lived most of his life in the shadow of the Parkway. He was a trail design consultant for the final “missing link” portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway at Grandfather
Mountain and worked to create the trail system in place there today. He’s written extensively for national magazines and newspapers, including Parkway-adjacent publications like The Charlotte Observer and Richmond Times-Dispatch.
From the recent popularity of novels like Gap Creek and Cold Mountain, to the Grammy award-winning traditional music soundtrack of the film “Oh Brother Where Art Thou,” it’s apparent that the Southern Appalachians are the cultural heart of America. The Blue Ridge Parkway takes you there, and Randy Johnson’s book Best Easy Day Hikes Blue Ridge Parkway leads you to the vistas, the visitor centers and beyond-to a deeper appreciation of how America’s once-secret region still enriches us.
And it does so on trails that even a novice can tame.
“Parents might ask a child why that tree’s standing on its tiptoes. The answer-the yellow birch perched above the forest floor on 3-foot-long, leglike roots sprouted long atop a huge fallen tree called a nursery log and took root around it. When the log rotted away, the birch was left standing on stilts” ––From Best Easy Day Hikes Blue Ridge Parkway (and Hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway)
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