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The Skyline Drive Shenandoah in Virginia is called one of many best scenic drives in the USA and affords a few of the most scenic vistas within the Jap United States.
We lastly obtained to expertise this Nationwide Scenic Byway on a summer season road trip to the Shenandoah Valley; the Skyline Drive and Shenandoah Nationwide Park being a spotlight of a go to to this area in Virginia.
From the Blue Ridge Mountains to the long-lasting Appalachian Path, the Skyline Drive encompasses one of the best of the nationwide park with out having the necessity to depart your car (although we advocate you do!)
It passes dense forests, wetlands, and waterfalls, in addition to alongside the foothills of craggy peaks like Hawksbill (the best level within the park) and Previous Rag Mountain.
Whereas we drove, we saved our eyes looking out for a few of the park’s most elusive animals, similar to deer, squirrels, and naturally, the black bear.
When you’re pondering of taking the Skyline Drive Shenandoah, however will not be positive what to anticipate, this information will let you know every thing it is advisable to know.
The place is the Skyline Drive Shenandoah?
The Skyline Drive catches the baton on the finish of the Blue Ridge Parkway and runs by means of your complete 105-mile size of the Shenandoah Valley Nationwide Park on the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
It’s the ONLY street within the Shenandoah Nationwide Park, which is thrilling because it means that you can expertise two unbelievable pure Virginian wonders in a single journey.
Be ready for limitless viewpoints over the Shenandoah Valley, the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the Massanutten Mountain Vary. Plan your drive properly to include hikes, picnic areas, stopping at one of the best viewpoints, and lodges.
There are viewpoints each couple of miles. Regardless of the fantastic thing about every overlook, you’ll be able to rapidly catch fatigue, so plan your stops properly on both aspect of the street because the views are completely different.
The East is extra mountainous with lush forests, whereas the West has extra expansive views of the Shenandoah Valley.
When is the Finest Time to Drive the Skyline Drive Shenandoah?
It actually will depend on what you need to expertise. For me, I beloved touring throughout summer season as every thing is so lush and inexperienced – and I really like climbing with a little bit of humidity.
Fall is an particularly fashionable time to journey alongside Skyline Drive, with its colourful foliage from late September to mid-November. Spring can also be a good time to go to with spectacular views of wildflowers and mountain laurels.
Why not go to a number of instances by means of the yr after which select your favourite!! (Remember to share with us within the feedback beneath!)
How Lengthy Does the Skyline Drive Take?
At 105 miles lengthy with a most 35 mph velocity restrict, it’s going to take 3-4 hours to drive from one finish to the opposite together with a couple of stops.
If you wish to add in a couple of hikes and see a few of Shenandoah’s points of interest, then you definitely’re taking a look at a full-day journey not less than.
Adventurers will need to plan for a few days exploring the Shenandoah Nationwide Park and having fun with the Skyline Drive. As a result of it is usually a nationwide park, with many different nice issues to expertise we advocate not less than two days.
Shenandoah has a number of campgrounds that supply each first-come-first-served campsites and people you’ll be able to reserve prematurely.
That will help you discover options, amenities, and parking areas, concrete mileposts have been positioned on the right-hand aspect of Skyline Drive as you head south. Mileposts shall be included in varied guides you get.
As we had been driving south to north, we didn’t see any mile markers – or they had been simply tough to see. This can be a downside we’ve had at different nationwide parks earlier than as properly. Nevertheless, overlook indicators shall be simple to see with satisfactory warning.
The place Are the Skyline Drive Entrances & Charges
The nationwide park is split into three areas:
- North District (Dickey Ridge, Mathews Arm)
- Central District (Skyland, Large Meadows) That is the preferred part.
- South District (Loft Mountain)
There are 4 entrance stations to Skyline Drive and Shenandoah Nationwide Park, which offers you entry to no matter area you need to discover most. (Do all three!)
The doorway you select will largely depend upon the place you’re driving from. In case you are coming from Charlottesville or Richmond, the Rockfish Hole Entrance to the South shall be higher. When you’re coming from Harrisonburg or Elkton, then the Swift Run Hole is nearer.
- Entrance Royal Entrance Station (Northern Entrance)
- Thornton Hole Entrance Station (Mile 31.5)
- Swift Run Hole Entrance Station (Mile 65.7)
- Rockfish Hole Entrance Station (South Entrance)
Because the Skyline Drive runs is operated by the Nationwide Park Service, there may be an entrance price. All passes are legitimate for 7 days and price $30 for single autos, $25 for bikes, and $15 per individual arriving car free.
Motor houses, RVs, and tenting trailers are welcome within the park.
The place to Discover Skyline Drive Maps and Info
Remember to seize a park map whenever you arrive at Skyline Drive Shenandoah.
Honestly, nationwide park maps aren’t all that good sources of data on issues to see and do in a nationwide park. They’re good for offering a map and historic, geological, and cultural details about a park.
Analysis earlier than you get into the park or go to one of many two Customer Facilities for extra in-depth help from Park Rangers. There are two within the park:
- Dickey Ridge Customer Middle is positioned at Mile 4.6
- Harry F Byrd Customer Middle is positioned at mile 51
For households, make sure to seize your Junior Ranger exercise booklet (customer facilities and reward shops) and search for Junior Ranger actions which may be within the park. These applications are sensible for serving to your kids join extra deeply to the expertise.
And they’ll love receiving the badge on the finish of it as a memento and a reminder of the significance of taking good care of Mom Nature.
The Finest Technique to See Skyline Drive
With 75 scenic overlooks, it received’t be lengthy earlier than you begin feeling gorgeous mountain viewpoint fatigue. Sure, it does occur.
Loopy to assume, you’ll be able to simply wave one other unbelievable viewpoint away as you retain driving. They will begin wanting the identical.
A strategy to overcome that’s to unfold your Skyline Drive expertise over a number of days. There’s plenty to do in the nearby Shenandoah Valley to make this an exquisite prolonged journey with the nationwide park as its focus.
We did the Southern a part of the drive on our strategy to Massanutten Resort within the Shenandoah Valley Resort the place we had been staying.
The subsequent morning, we did a lot of the remainder of the drive north on our strategy to Luray. We nonetheless have the small northern part to do for subsequent time.
What to See and Do Alongside Skyline Drive Shenandoah
Whereas the Skyline Drive is a drive, you’ll want to make a number of stops alongside the best way to see all the attractive vistas and soak up a few of the points of interest.
When you’re unsure what to see or do alongside the best way, listed below are some stops we advocate.
Skyline Drive Viewpoints
As our time was quick – and we skilled overlook fatigue – we didn’t go to each overlook. So, this isn’t a complete information to that. Listed here are a couple of that we loved.
I’ve added some sources beneath that will help you plan out different stops. Please depart a remark with a few of your favorites for after we go to once more, and for anybody studying this submit in search of insider suggestions!
Mary’s Rock Tunnel at Mile 32
All people loves driving by means of tunnels, proper? I used to be so busy taking a video of it (see our Reels) that I didn’t snap a photograph.
This 600’ lengthy tunnel was inbuilt 1932 and was thought-about a marvel at its time. It was a welcome change from the a number of viewpoints and is a novel Skyline Drive function.
There’s a parking zone close to right here so you’ll be able to take your photograph.
Moormans River Overlook
I beloved this angle over Moormans River winding by means of the gently sloping mountains blanketed in a lush forest. It was so completely different from the opposite Skyline Drive overlooks and really peaceable. That is meant to be a superb dawn spot.
Stony Man Mountain Overlook at Mile 38.5
The Stony Man Mountain Overlook is an extended, panoramic view of the valley ground with Massanutten Mountain within the distance. It has an elevation of 3100 ft so the air can really feel slightly skinny up right here.
This overlook is basically all about huge greenery for miles on finish. It actually makes you notice the sheer dimension of the park!
Baldface Mountain Overlook
One of the scenic overlooks on Skyline Drive is the Baldface Mountain. Many individuals advocate taking a stroll by means of any gaps within the stone partitions you discover as they result in higher views.
We didn’t have time for that however the lower at Baldface is supposed to result in a rocky outcropping with higher views.
- Vary View Overlook (probably the greatest views of the northern part of the park)
- South River Overlook (nice for dawn)
Skyline Drive Mountaineering Trails
Among the best methods to expertise Shenandoah Nationwide Park and the Skyline Drive is to hike on one of many over 500 miles of paths that start at Skyline Drive.
Cease in on the customer middle to discover a path that most closely fits your curiosity, type, and skill, as they vary from ambling, strolls to difficult mountain scales. Some trails result in a waterfall or spectacular viewpoints, and others go deep into the forested wilderness.
We need to return to Shenandoah Nationwide Park to expertise extra of the hikes. It was a brief journey, and we might solely slot in one quick hike.
If you wish to say you may have hiked the legendary Appalachian Path, it crisscrosses the Shenandoah Nationwide Park, and it’s mentioned to have a few of the most spectacular sections of the path.
It’s necessary to notice that Shenandoah Nationwide Park is black bear nation, so be bear conscious! Please additionally decide up your trash and don’t depart any snacks open the place bears can odor them.
Darkish Hole Falls Path
Situated at mile level 50.7 is among the hottest hikes within the Shenandoah Nationwide Park, particularly for households.
Darkish Hole Falls Path is a 1.4-mile loop hike all the way down to the cascading Darkish Hole Falls. Permit for not less than an hour and pack a picnic lunch or a couple of sandwiches if you wish to spend extra time having fun with the falls.
The primary viewpoint is just not the underside of the Falls however is one of the best view of the Falls. You possibly can stroll slightly additional down the path to the very backside of the falls.
It’s not a spectacular waterfall, however I beloved the angle of the waterfall trickling down the moss-covered rocks.
It’s a little bit of a steep climb coming again out, the toughest half is from the underside of the falls to the highest. After that it’s extra of a gradual climb.
Prime tip: Another waterfalls you may additionally need to try within the park are Whiteoak Canyon, Lewis Spring Falls and Rose River Falls.
Cease on the Skyline Drive Lodges with a View
There are three lodges alongside Skyline Drive: Skyland, Elkwallow Wayside and Big Meadows Lodge. They every maintain occasions all through the season, together with Virginia wine tasting, night time sky applications, and twilight hikes.
Additionally they supply lodging and eating places and reward shops. Elkwallow is a superb place to get ice cream, if you happen to’re visiting throughout the summer season. When you favor to camp, there are additionally close by tenting spots such because the Large Meadows Campground.
You’ll love stopping in right here for a chunk to eat or a drink with magnificent views out over the Shenandoah Valley. It’s a terrific place to stretch your legs and take a break from the limitless winding street and exquisite views.
Warning: It’s not really useful to camp outdoors the campgrounds due to bear exercise. Keep protected, camp in a campground.
Issues to Do close to the Skyline Drive Shenandoah
As talked about, now we have an in-depth submit on things to do in the Shenandoah Valley, which outlines these actions in additional depth.
When you’re in search of different issues to do within the space, I recommend you propose for exploring the lovable cities close to the entrances to the nationwide park. These cities even have some cool actions that encompass them.
Listed here are a couple of of our favorites:
- Luray Caverns
- Walking alpacas
- Wine tasting at Veritas Vineyards
- Horseback Using at Jordan Hole Stables
- White Oak Lavender Farm
- The city of Staunton
FAQs About Skyline Drive Shenandoah
Right here’s what folks normally ask us about Skyline Drive Shenandoah..
What’s the greatest part of Skyline Drive?
The perfect part of Skyline Drive is the Vary View Overlook which has a few of the greatest views of the northern part of the park, and likewise the South River Overlook which is one of the best dawn spot.
The place does Shenandoah Skyline Drive begin and finish?
The drive formally begins at Milepost 0 which is at an intersection with US 340 south of Entrance Royal, Virginia. It ends at Milepost 105 in Shenandoah Nationwide Park.
Are there loos on Skyline Drive?
There are not any restrooms alongside the Skyline Drive, however yow will discover loos on the lodges.
Which Shenandoah entrance is greatest?
The doorway will largely depend upon the place you’re driving from, however if you happen to can select then we expect the Thornton Hole Entrance or Rockfish Hole Entrance are one of the best locations to begin.
The place to Keep close to Skyline Drive Shenandoah
We stayed on the Massanutten Resort, which gave us quick access to all of the points of interest within the Shenandoah Valley and to the Shenandoah Nationwide Park. Plus, the resort affords extra than simply pretty rental lodging.
They’ve a incredible indoor and out of doors Water Park, Ziplining programs, mountain biking trails, and several other eating choices. It’s a incredible place for households to remain!
When you’re trying to spend a few days exploring the drive, then you definitely may need to take into account staying at one of many lodges within the park.
There are another listed below are another nice choices simply outdoors the park as properly, however as it is a highly regarded attraction in Virginia, particularly in the summertime, it’s greatest to plan forward and ebook prematurely.
Listed here are another choices for the place to remain:
Different Virginia Journey Ideas
Are you pondering of visiting another locations in Virginia? Then try some extra useful guides beneath.