Doughton Park is a landscape of mountains, open meadows and pioneer cabins, 30 miles (48 km) of hiking trails and a place to view wildlife and get a feel for the lives of those who lived here long ago. Originally known as the Bluffs, this area came by its present name in honor of Congressman Robert L. Doughton, a long-time advocate and supporter of the Parkway. The 7,000-acre Doughton Park is one of the best places along the motor road to view white-tailed deer, raccoons, red and grey foxes, and bobcats, as well as spectacular shows of flame azalea and rhododendron in the late spring.
Trails in the Doughton Park area include the Cedar Ridge Trail, a strenuous 4.2 mile hike, and the Bluff Mountain Trail, a moderate 7.5 mile hike; both accessible from the Brinegar Cabin parking overlook (milepost 238.5). The short Fodder Stack Loop Trail (milepost 240.6) showcases the varied plant life of the area, while the Bluff Ridge Trail, Grassy Gap Fire Road (horse trail), and Flat Rock Ridge Trail are all moderate to strenuous trails that provide the hiker with beautiful views and abundant wildlife. The Brinegar Cabin dates from about 1885 and was the home of Martin Brinegar and his family. Brinegar was a cobbler as well as a farmer. His home is open on summer weekend days. Hand-loom weaving and other craft demonstrations are often given during the summer months. The one-room Caudill Cabin exhibit can be viewed from the scenic Wildcat Rocks (milepost 240.6). The Basin Cove Creek complex (mileposts 238 - 244) (located off the Parkway on Longbottom Road) has Rainbow and Brook Trout where the streams are stocked. Anyone with a valid Virginia or North Carolina fishing license is welcome, but please check with the visitor center for any special regulations.
Doughton Park has a picnic area (at milepost 241), a campground (milepost 239), trailer sites, comfort stations, drinking water and access to 30 miles (48 km) of trail over bluegrass bluffs. Doughton Park Campground usually has campsites available. In addition to the 21 sites available for advanced reservation, 108 campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Campsites are shaded under an umbrella of thick trees, and provide campers with tables, campfire rings and grills. The site also offers camper conveniences like flush toilets, drinking water and a dump station. Primitive Backcountry Camping is available at Basin Cove. Obtain a free permit from the Doughton Park campground office (May-October) or the Bluffs District Office 828-348-3487.
Rolling ridgetop meadows and steep mountainsides characterize the Doughton Park area. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a scenic byway that follows the high crests of the central and southern Appalachians for 469 miles from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina.
Mount Airy, NC: Andy Griffith's hometown, the ideal American town that was the inspiration for Mayberry--Hwy 52 South; 12 miles south of Fancy Gap, VA. (www.visitmayberry.com) World Famous Frescoes: MP 259 - The Last Supper, Mary Great with Child, Mystery of Faith, and 7 others. Episcopal Church is always open. (www.churchofthefrescoes.com) Northwest Trading Post: Located south of Doughton Park at milepost 258 near Glendale Springs, this craft store sells handicrafts representative of the Appalachian Mountain culture. (www.CoolSparta.com)
ADA Access: N
Only $20 a night. Beautiful no showers. Decent spots, lots of hiking to do. The rangers however are a bit rude and hard to deal with. The camp host however were great.
The Doughton Park campground off of the Blue Ridge Parkway is a great place to spend the night without if you are driving along the Parkway and don't want to venture too far off course. The campground is much larger than I expected. There's an RV section on one side of the Parkway and a tent section that is on the other side. I only explored the tent side.
Although a little bit confusing, with concentric loops, there are many sites to choose from. Some loops and sites are more wooded and further from roads and amenities while others are more central and along a field. I opted for a more central site and ended up being the only person camping in that loop. At the end of October there were only three other campers in the whole tent side of the campground.
The hosts were friendly and helpful in choosing a site. The bathrooms are small but clean and there are easily accessible water sources about. There has been a young bear hanging about in the campground so they, very reasonably, ask that you keep all scent sources in your car.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is an incredible drive, my favorite section is south of this campground in North Carolina. Just along the VA-NC border the Blue Ridge Music Center is well worth the stop. There is free music there daily from 12-4!