The Humpback Rocks picnic area, located south of Afton Mountain at milepost 8.5 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, was closed this past week for repaving and something the National Park Service calls "reconstruction and rehabilitation."
The problem is their timing. The picnic area, a popular recreational area not only for Parkway visitors but with Valley locals, will be closed for the entire summer.
However, repaving and rebuilding crumbled infrastructure is a necessary evil with the extreme weather conditions in the mountains. It is part of a larger road paving and rehabilitation project occurring this summer from milepost 0-15.3 which will result in minor traffic delays along the roadway.
Looks like I'll be spending most of my summer on the Skyline Drive end of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The Park Service explained more about the project:
Reconstruction activities at Humpback Rocks Picnic Area include the removal and replacement of the pavement, replacement of the culverts and rebuilding of the pull-in parking sites. Several overlooks between milepost 0 and milepost 15.3 will be used as project staging areas and will be closed intermittently throughout the duration of the paving project, which is expected to be complete by Labor Day weekend.Other picnic areas along the Blue Ridge Parkway are available for visitors:
Limited picnicking opportunities will be made available at the Humpback Rocks Visitor Center on a temporary basis to accommodate Parkway users. Numerous other alternative parking areas, overlooks and picnic areas along the Blue Ridge Parkway have picnic facilities as shown below.
In addition, Shenandoah National Park offers picnic grounds in the park’s South District. The Dundo Picnic Grounds, formerly the Dundo Group Campground, is located at Milepost 83.5 along Skyline Drive. The picnic grounds are suitable for both small and large group picnicking. Amenities in the picnic grounds include picnic tables, grills, water, trash cans, and vault toilets and a $15.00 entrance fee is accessed. For more information about Shenandoah National Park, visit www.nps.gov/shen.
MP 5.8 - Humpback Rock Visitor Center*For more information about the National Parks check www.nps.gov.
MP 6.0 - Humpback Gap Parking Area
MP 10.7 - Raven’s Roost Parking Overlook
MP 11.7 - Hickory Spring Parking Widening
MP 13.1 - Three Ridges Parking Overlook
MP 17.6 - The Priest Parking Overlook
MP 19.9 - The Slacks Parking Overlook
MP 22.1 - Bald Mountain Parking Widening
MP 29.0 - Whetstone Ridge
MP 31.4 - Stillhouse Hollow Parking Widening
MP 34.4 - Yankee Horse Ridge Parking Area
MP 38.8 - Boston Knob Parking Area
MP 44.4 - Whites Gap Parking Overlook
MP 47.5 - Indian Gap Parking Area
MP 53.6 - Rice Mountain Parking Overlook
MP 55.1 - White Oak Flats Parking Overlook
MP 55.9 - Dancing Creek Parking Overlook
MP 58.2 - Otter Creek Flats Parking Overlook
MP 61.4 - Terrapin Hill Parking Overlook
MP 62.5 - Lower Otter Creek Parking Overlook
MP 63.6 - James River Visitor Center Picnic Area*
(*restroom facilities available)