BLOWING ROCK, N.C. (AP) — Each autumn, as if on a pilgrimage, people visit the Appalachian Mountains to witness the splendor that only Mother Nature can provide. The fall vistas of the Blue Ridge Parkway never disappoint, though they are sometimes unpredictable. Beauty can be found everywhere, regardless of the weather.

The Blue Ridge Parkway spans 469 miles, winding from the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains near Tennessee. The iconic Linn Cove viaduct, an engineering marvel that winds around the flank of Grandfather Mountain State Park, is one of the most heavily visited spots.

Accessible by car, bike, motorcycle or foot, the parkway offers anyone a chance to gaze at a changing landscape that won’t last long. As the hunter’s moon rises in October, tourists hurry to take in the sights before winter closes in and sends most people back inside until spring.