Designed to connect the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and the Great Smokey Mountains National Park in North Carolina, the Blue Ridge Parkway was planned to provide pleasant motoring and to conserve and interpret the unique natural and cultural resources of the Southern Highlands. It was conceived also as a public works project to relieve unemployment in the Appalachian region during the Great Depression.
With its landscaped embankments, limited access, and depressed roadway, Arroyo Seco Parkway (now known as the Pasadena Freeway) became the prototype of the Los Angeles freeway system. Motorists enjoy a scenic drive featuring landscaped embankments lush with native chaparral. The curving alignment traverses a chain of small parks shaded by sycamores and eucalyptus and exposed views of the snow-capped San Gabriel Mountains.