Doughton Park near Laurel Springs offers more than just great scenery for park goers.
The park is the largest recreation area that the National Park Service manages on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The park features more than 30 miles of hiking trails.
Doughton Park is home to the Brinegar Cabin and the Caudill Family Homestead, both areas that can be explored for those who want to take a break from hiking a trail.
Hikers come from all across the country to the park to enjoy such a huge variety of trails. The park features everything from short, beginner-style hikes at Fodder Stack Trail to a grueling, 7.5-mile hike up the Bluff Mountain Trail.
“We have made many hikes across the Blue Ridge Parkway and all over Western North Carolina and Doughton Park is always a popular stop for us,” said Brett Phipps, who lives in Greensboro but is part of a group from the Triad that make several trips to the mountains for hikes each summer. “I always find it relaxing to enjoy nature but at the same time, it’s a great form of exercise for nature enthusiasts like myself.”
Doughton Park also offers several camping opportunities to sleep under the stars on the parkway.
The park is named after Robert L. Doughton, a former United States representative from Alleghany County who is the longest-serving member of Congress ever from the state, serving from 1911 to 1953. Doughton was the most important figure in getting the Blue Ridge Parkway to travel through the Northwest North Carolina. The initial plan had the parkway traveling through Southwest Virginia and Eastern Tennessee, but Doughton was able to bring the parkway through Alleghany, Ashe and Watauga counties.
Nathan Ham may be reached at 336-489-3062.