In September 1935, construction began on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It links Virginia's Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. Portions of this scenic highway were completed over the course of 52 years until the final section was opened around the slopes of Grandfather Mountain in September of 1987. Along its 470-mile route, the Blue Ridge Parkway traverses six mountain ranges of the great Appalachian chain, enters four national forests, provides access to three wilderness areas, crosses six major rivers, and passes through five ecological zones. An internationally recognized design achievement, this unparalleled roadway showcases the best of the Blue Ridge.