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March 14th; Slow and Steady

This week's update will cover the section from Balsam Gap to Waterrock Knob and the main theme is a slow and steady emergence as we continue to experience warmer than normal temps this month.

The underlying red hues of the tree limbs are everywhere, indicating a transition to flowering buds is just around the corner. As with any spring, we are seeing maples come alive first and over the next two weeks they will lead the way, with bright and robust red flowers emerging. Most of activity remains confined below 4000', however the views are wonderful and worthy of a trip to the top, if anything to enjoy the cooler temps and as in the case the other morning, to get above the smog trapped in the valleys by a temperature inversion.

Mountain peaks poking through the smog

The Southern Section of the Parkway remains roughly 90% open, with the southern entrance closed as NPS deals with maintenance, no timeline as to when it will reopen.

If you are planning a trip to see some early spring colors, late Saturday is a good window to take a cruise. Clouds will have excited the area by 3 - 4pm, alongside NW winds which will usher in dry air and set up a longer viewshed with views extending 10 - 30 more miles compared to a hazy day. Sunday all day is a good day, but with winds dying off early we may see some hazy conditions by the late afternoon hours; temps will be in the low - upper 50's above 5000' all weekend.

Waterrock Knob and Browning Knob

We added three 360° views with this update, at Mt Lynn Lowry Overlook (4000'), Scott Creek Overlook (5050'), and Yellow Face Overlook (5588'). Click here to check them out.

Below are some pictures showcasing the slow and steady change that is underway. There is plenty of time to plan a spring cruise along the Parkway, with the highest ridgelines not turning over till early - mid May. Enjoy!

Yellow Face, as seen from Scott Creek Overlook

Maples beginning to flower
a typical scene this week around 3800'
just above the smog layer

Mt Lyn Lowry looming ahead


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