It's too easy to ride past two great Blue Ridge Parkway attractions at Roanoke - Mill Mountain and Roanoke Mountain. Both are just south of the city and worth a visit. The Park Service roads which lead to them are well marked.
Roanoke Mountain Loop Road at Milepost 120.3 is on the east side of the parkway. The 3.75 mile single lane one-way paved road winds up then down the mountain to reconnect with the Blue Ridge Parkway. There is an overlook at the top of the mountain but the better view is from the Mill Mountain Overlook on the climb up. It takes about 20 minutes to ride it though I always stop at the overlook.
Roanoke Mountain, Mill Mountain Overlook
Mill Mountain is home to the famous Roanoke Star which looms above the city. You reach it via the Mill Mountain Parkway at Milepost 120.5. Mill Mountain Parkway is virtually identical to riding the Blue Ridge Parkway, gently curving and climbing to the spur road (Mill Mountain Spur, Prospect Rd SE) that leads to the park at the top. Just walk around the corner from the parking lot and you stand beneath the largest star in the world overlooking the city below.
Roanoke Star, Mill Mountain, Roanoke, VA
A zoo, gardens, and visitor center are nearby. It takes about 10 minutes to ride from the parkway to the star. Beyond the spur road, Mill Mountain Parkway becomes JP Fishburn Parkway leading into the city.
View of Roanoke from Mill Mountain
Both of these attractions offer better views than you'll find from the parkway as well as a unique experience.
Roanoke Star on Mill Mountain
This area is detailed on America Rides Maps Map #2 - The Roads of Roanoke and Beyond
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