The call of the snow on the closed Parkway was impossible to ignore and I finally was able to make the trek on Blue Ridge Parkway to visit the Dragon Tree during the winter! Tracks from hikers that had passed days before remained but after the first few miles of trekking through this other-worldly winter wonderland, I found myself making the first tracks of the day. Since the parkway is closed during the winter, I had to park at the intersection with 276 near Brevard, North Carolina and hike south to see how far I could make it.
On the way in, the snow covered ridges on the Mountain to Sea trail opened up to the most magical scenes. From deep snow drifts, massive trees, and ice covered rock faces, the most beautiful views appeared around each corner along the trail. My hike began with being enveloped by misty clouds and a wintry fog that slowly dissipated to reveal spectacular frost covered treetops against a bright Carolina blue sky. The changes from moment to moment in the mountains have never ceased to amaze me – this day was no exception, keeping me in awe of the mountains I call home.
We have visited the ‘Dragon tree’ year after year in all kinds of weather conditions but with the Blue Ridge Parkway closed most of the winter, making it there never seemed like an option during snowy weather. Inspired to finally see and photograph it in the snow, I had to make it happen. When weather conditions were right, I headed up early, and started walking south along the Parkway. It could have been 9ish mile round trip, but I couldn’t resist the Mountains to Sea trail’s call, adding a few extra miles to this most gorgeous and intense snow trekking adventure. After many miles, plus the MTS trail diversion, the snow and ice covered face of Looking Glass Rock at the overlook near the trail head was a welcome site. I was delighted to make the first footprints in the snow on the trail that day leading to to the Dragon Tree. I wish there had been more time to linger and photograph this one of a kind tree before departing, but it was a long hike back to the truck, so I bid our old friend adieu until next time. This unique tree has inspired us so much over the years and it means the world for me to get to share this magical snowy scene with you all!
This is the first time I have gotten to experience the parkway in winter like this. It was so quiet and magical to walk on the snow covered parkway road that we (and so many others) have driven so many times. I live in constant awe of the mountains, and this adventure has me even more in love with where we live! Truly hope you enjoy getting to join me on this magical winter adventure!
Contact us if you are interested in wall art or prints from these or any of our adventure photos – I would love to bring these scenes into your home or office. You can visit our new online store and check out some of the nature, landscape, macro, and urban photographs we available for purchase. We can also offer custom prints and wall art if you have something particular in mind.
Photography by Camilla Calnan Photography