March 23, 2023



Highlights of The Spectacular Skyline Drive in Virginia

12 min read

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The Skyline Drive Shenandoah in Virginia is called one of many greatest scenic drives within the USA and presents a number of the most scenic vistas within the Jap United States.

We lastly received to expertise this Nationwide Scenic Byway on a summer time highway journey 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 enduring Appalachian Path, the Skyline Drive encompasses the most effective of the nationwide park with out having the necessity to go away your automobile (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waterfalls, in addition to alongside the foothills of craggy peaks like Hawksbill (the best level within the park) and Outdated Rag Mountain.

Whereas we drove, we stored our eyes looking out for a number of the park’s most elusive animals, resembling deer, squirrels, and naturally, the black bear.

In the event you’re considering of taking the Skyline Drive Shenandoah, however usually are not positive what to anticipate, this information will let you know all the pieces that you must 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 way of your entire 105-mile size of the Shenandoah Valley Nationwide Park on the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

car parked on the side of the road

It’s the ONLY highway within the Shenandoah Nationwide Park, which is thrilling because it lets you 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 effectively to include hikes, picnic areas, stopping at the most effective 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 effectively on both facet of the highway because the views are totally 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?

car parked on the side of the road with mountains in the background

It actually will depend on what you need to expertise. For me, I beloved touring throughout summer time as all the pieces is so lush and inexperienced – and I really like mountaineering with a little bit of humidity.

Fall is an particularly standard 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 occasions by way of the yr after which select your favourite!! (Make sure to share with us within the feedback under!)

How Lengthy Does the Skyline Drive Take?


At 105 miles lengthy with a most 35 mph pace restrict, it’s going to take 3-4 hours to drive from one finish to the opposite together with just a few stops.

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If you wish to add in just a few hikes and see a few of Shenandoah’s points of interest, then you definitely’re taking a look at a full-day journey a minimum of.

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 additionally it is a nationwide park, with many different nice issues to expertise we advocate a minimum of two days.

skyline drive virginia

Shenandoah has a number of campgrounds that supply each first-come-first-served campsites and people you’ll be able to reserve upfront.

That will help you discover options, amenities, and parking areas, concrete mileposts have been positioned on the right-hand facet of Skyline Drive as you head south. Mileposts can be included in varied guides you get.

As we have been driving south to north, we didn’t see any mile markers – or they have been simply tough to see. It is a drawback we’ve had at different nationwide parks earlier than as effectively. Nevertheless, overlook indicators can be simple to see with ample warning.

The place Are the Skyline Drive Entrances & Charges

a dead tree on a mountain

The nationwide park is split into three areas:

  • North District (Dickey Ridge, Mathews Arm)
  • Central District (Skyland, Massive Meadows) That is the preferred part.
  • South District (Loft Mountain)

There are 4 entrance stations to Skyline Drive and Shenandoah Nationwide Park, which gives you entry to no matter area you need to discover most. (Do all three!)

The doorway you select will largely rely on the place you might be driving from. If you’re coming from Charlottesville or Richmond, the Rockfish Hole Entrance to the South can be higher. In the event 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’s an entrance price. All passes are legitimate for 7 days and price $30 for single autos, $25 for bikes, and $15 per particular person arriving automobile free.

Motor houses, RVs, and tenting trailers are welcome within the park.

The place to Discover Skyline Drive Maps and Data

woman reading a sign on a mountain

Make sure to seize a park map whenever you arrive at Skyline Drive Shenandoah.

In truth, 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, you’ll want to seize your Junior Ranger exercise booklet (customer facilities and present shops) and search for Junior Ranger actions that could be within the park. These packages are sensible for serving to your youngsters join extra deeply to the expertise.

And they’re going to 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 Strategy to See Skyline Drive


With 75 scenic overlooks, it gained’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’ll begin trying the identical.

A option to overcome that’s to unfold your Skyline Drive expertise over a number of days. There may be loads to do within the close by Shenandoah Valley to make this a beautiful prolonged journey with the nationwide park as its focus.

We did the Southern a part of the drive on our option to Massanutten Resort within the Shenandoah Valley Resort the place we have been staying.

The following morning, we did many of the remainder of the drive north on our option to Luray. We nonetheless have the small northern part to do for subsequent time.

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What to See and Do Alongside Skyline Drive Shenandoah

Whereas the Skyline Drive is a drive, it would be best to make a number of stops alongside the way in which to see all the attractive vistas and absorb a number of the points of interest.

In the event you’re unsure what to see or do alongside the way in which, listed here are some stops we advocate.

The Skyline Drive in Virginia

Skyline Drive Viewpoints

As our time was brief – and we skilled overlook fatigue – we didn’t go to each overlook. So, this isn’t a complete information to that. Listed below are just a few that we loved.

I’ve added some sources under that will help you plan out different stops. Please go away a remark with a few of your favorites for once we go to once more, and for anybody studying this submit in search of insider suggestions!

Mary’s Rock Tunnel at Mile 32

Everyone loves driving by way 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 characteristic.

There’s a parking zone close to right here so you’ll be able to take your photograph.

Moormans River Overlook

I beloved this attitude over Moormans River winding by way of the gently sloping mountains blanketed in a lush forest. It was so totally different from the opposite Skyline Drive overlooks and really peaceable. That is meant to be dawn spot.

Moormans River Overlook

Stony Man Mountain Overlook at Mile 38.5

The Stony Man Mountain Overlook is a protracted, panoramic view of the valley flooring with Massanutten Mountain within the distance. It has an elevation of 3100 toes so the air can really feel a bit skinny up right here.

This overlook is actually all about huge greenery for miles on finish. It actually makes you understand the sheer measurement of the park!

Baldface Mountain Overlook

baldface overlook skyline drive virginia
Baldface Overlook

One of the crucial scenic overlooks on Skyline Drive is the Baldface Mountain. Many individuals advocate taking a stroll by way of any gaps within the stone partitions you discover as they result in higher views.

We didn’t have time for that however the minimize at Baldface is supposed to result in a rocky outcropping with higher views.

  • Vary View Overlook (among the best views of the northern part of the park)
  • South River Overlook (nice for dawn)

Right here’s an incredible submit I used with in-depth data on the totally different overlooks.

Skyline Drive Climbing Trails

Dark Hollow Falls, Shenandoah National Park

The most effective 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, model, 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 may solely slot in one brief hike.

If you wish to say you’ve gotten hiked the legendary Appalachian Path, it crisscrosses the Shenandoah Nationwide Park, and it’s mentioned to have a number of the most spectacular sections of the path.

It’s essential to notice that Shenandoah Nationwide Park is black bear nation, so be bear conscious! Please additionally decide up your trash and don’t go away any snacks open the place bears can scent them.

Darkish Hole Falls Path

Dark Hollow Falls Trail, Shenandoah National Park

Situated at mile level 50.7 is without doubt one of the hottest hikes within the Shenandoah Nationwide Park, particularly for households.

Darkish Hole Falls Path is a 1.4-mile loop hike right down to the cascading Darkish Hole Falls. Enable for a minimum of an hour and pack a picnic lunch or just a few sandwiches if you wish to spend extra time having fun with the falls.

The primary viewpoint just isn’t the underside of the Falls however is the most effective view of the Falls. You may stroll a bit additional down the path to the very backside of the falls.

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It’s not a spectacular waterfall, however I beloved the attitude 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 take a look at within the park are Whiteoak Canyon, Lewis Spring Falls and Rose River Falls.

Cease on the Skyline Drive Lodges with a View

big meadows lodge shenandoah national park
Massive Meadows Lodge

There are three lodges alongside Skyline Drive: Skyland, Elkwallow Wayside and Massive Meadows Lodge. They every maintain occasions all through the season, together with Virginia wine tasting, night time sky packages, and twilight hikes.

In addition they supply lodging and eating places and present shops. Elkwallow is a good place to get ice cream, when you’re visiting throughout the summer time. In the event you favor to camp, there are additionally close by tenting spots such because the Massive 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 an incredible place to stretch your legs and take a break from the limitless winding highway and delightful views.

Warning: It isn’t advisable to camp outdoors the campgrounds due to bear exercise. Keep protected, camp in a campground.

Issues to Do close to the Skyline Drive Shenandoah

person standing in a cave
Luray Caverns

As talked about, we have now an in-depth submit on issues to do within the Shenandoah Valley, which outlines these actions in additional depth.

In the event you’re in search of different issues to do within the space, I counsel you intend for exploring the lovable cities close to the entrances to the nationwide park. These cities even have some cool actions that encompass them.

Listed below are just a few of our favorites:

  • Luray Caverns
  • Strolling alpacas
  • Wine tasting at Veritas Vineyards
  • Horseback Driving at Jordan Hole Stables
  • White Oak Lavender Farm
  • The city of Staunton

FAQs About Skyline Drive Shenandoah

Right here’s what individuals often ask us about Skyline Drive Shenandoah..

What’s the greatest part of Skyline Drive?

The most effective part of Skyline Drive is the Vary View Overlook which has a number of the greatest views of the northern part of the park, and in addition the South River Overlook which is the most effective 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 rely on the place you might be driving from, however when you can select then we expect the Thornton Hole Entrance or Rockfish Hole Entrance are the most effective locations to begin.

The place to Keep close to Skyline Drive Shenandoah

We stayed on the Massanutten Resort, which gave us easy accessibility to all of the points of interest within the Shenandoah Valley and to the Shenandoah Nationwide Park. Plus, the resort presents extra than simply beautiful rental lodging.

Summit Condos at Massanutten Resort, Virginia
View from our cabin at Massanutten Resort

They’ve a implausible indoor and out of doors Water Park, Ziplining programs, mountain biking trails, and several other eating choices. It’s a implausible place for households to remain!

In the event you’re seeking 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 here are another nice choices simply outdoors the park as effectively, however as it is a highly regarded attraction in Virginia, particularly in the summertime, it’s greatest to plan forward and ebook upfront.

Listed below are another choices for the place to remain:

Different Virginia Journey Ideas

Are you considering of visiting another locations in Virginia? Then take a look at some extra useful guides under.

car parked on the side of the road

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