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Skyline Drive: – Fun Family Vacations
Skyline Drive:

Skyline Drive:

Experience Shenandoah National Park!

Shenandoah National Park - Front Royal Entrance Sign
Shenandoah National Park – Front Royal Entrance Sign

Skyline Drive is arguably one of the most scenic drives in the United States.  It’s also a great way to experience Shenandoah National Park.

Shenandoah National Park encompasses over 311 square miles of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia.  You can drive the 105-mile Skyline Drive where there are 75 scenic overlooks (listed below).  There are day hikes for the beginner to expert hiker.

Skyline Drive - overlook
Skyline Drive – overlook

How do you get there?

Washington, DC:  Travel 72 miles west on I-66 to Front Royal Entrance Station

Winchester, VA:  Travel 24 miles east on I-66 to Front Royal Entrance Station

Fredericksburg, VA:  Travel 75 miles west on VA-33 to Swift Run Gap Entrance Station

Harrisonburg, VA:  Travel 21 miles east on VA-33 to Swift Run Gap Entrance Station

Richmond, VA: Travel 91 miles west on I-64 to Rockfish Gap Entrance Station

Staunton, VA: Travel 18 miles east on I-64 to Rockfish Gap Entrance Station

When is the best time to drive it?

We have driven Skyline Drive in early and late summer, but seeing many beautiful fall foliage pictures I would guess that Autumn is one of the most popular times.  Keep in mind the elevation of the drive (2000-3000ft) which means that many of the vistas may have some cloud cover.  We encountered a lot of this on our most recent drive.

 

How much time does it take?

The 105-mile drive has a maximum speed limit of 35 mph.  There are 75 scenic overlooks, twists & turns, ranger stations, and visitor centers.  You will likely want to stop at many spots along the ride.  You can take a short hike and eat your lunch at a vista.  You might want to attend a ranger-led discussion.  If you start at the northern end, stop in at the Dickey Ridge Visitor Center and watch the 10-minute movie on Shenandoah National Park and ask the rangers there for advice on good trails or areas to see.  All-in-all, you can spend as little as 3-4 hours in the park, or multiple days if you’re staying in their lodges or campground.  It’s up to you.

Below is a list of the overlooks and facilities that you’ll find from Mile 1 at the Front Royal entrance to mile 105 at the Rockfish Gap entrance.

 

Skyline Drive, Mile 0 – 15 overlooks, facilities, sights, and signs

Front Royal Entrance Station – elevation 712ft (RS)

Shenandoah Valley Overlook – elevation 1390ft

Dickey Ridge Visitor Center – elevation 1940ft (RS, RR, PG)

Signal Knob Overlook – elevation 2085ft

Gooney Run Overlook – elevation 2085ft

Jenkins Gap Overlook – elevation 2355ft

Hogwallow Flats Overlook – elevation 2665ft

 

Skyline Drive, Mile 16 – 30 overlooks, facilities, sights, and signs

Range View Overlook – elevation 2810ft

Gimlet Ridge Overlook

Hogback Overlook – elevation 3385ft

Mathews Arm – elevation 2750ft (RS, CG)

Elkwallow – elevation 2445ft (RR, PG, FS, CS)

Jeremys Run Overlook – elevation 2410ft

Beahms Gap Parking – elevation 2485ft

 

Skyline Drive, Miles 31 – 45 overlooks, facilities, sights, and signs

Pass Mountain Overlook – elevation 2460ft

Thornton Gap Entrance Station – elevation 2340ft (RS, RR)

Tunnel Parking Overlook – elevation 2480ft

Hazel Mountain Overlook – elevation 2770ft

Meadow Spring Parking – elevation 2510ft

Pinnacles Overlook – elevation 3320ft

Stony Man Overlook – elevation 3100ft

Little Stony Man Parking – elevation 3215ft

Hemlock Springs Overlook – elevation 3380ft

Thorofare Mountain Overlook – elevation 3595 ft

Skyland – elevation 3710ft (RR, FS, LS)

Whiteoak Canyon Parking – elevation 3510ft

Timber Hollow Overlook – elevation 3360ft

Crescent Rock Overlook – elevation 3550ft

 

Skyline Drive, Miles 46 – 60 overlooks, facilities, sights, and signs

Hawksbill Gap Parking – elevation 3365ft

Old Rag Overlook

Upper Hawksbill Parking – elevation 3630ft

Spitler Knoll Overlook – elevation 3150ft

Franklin Cliffs Overlook – elevation 3140ft

Fishers Gap Overlook – elevation 3070ft

Dark Hollow Falls Parking – elevation 3490ft

Byrd Visitor Center – elevation 3535ft (RS, RR, CG, PG, FS, LS, GS)

Tanners Ridge Overlook – elevation 3465ft

Milam Gap Parking – elevation 3230ft

Naked Creek Overlook – elevation 3250ft

The Point Overlook – elevation 3235ft

Bearfence Mountain Parking – elevation 3295ft

Lewis Mountain – elevation 3441ft (RR, CG, PG, LS)

The Oaks Overlook – elevation 3125ft

 

Skyline Drive Miles 61 – 75 overlooks, facilities, sights, and signs

South River Overlook – elevation 2950ft

Swift Run Gap Entrance Station – elevation 2365ft (RS)

Hightop Mountain Parking – elevation 2637ft

Swift Run Overlook – elevation 2710ft

Bacon Hollow Overlook – elevation 2450ft

Eaton Hollow Overlook – elevation 2490ft

Simmons Gap Ranger Station (RS) – elevation 2255ft

Loft Mountain Overlook – elevation 2450ft

 

Skyline Drive Miles 76 – 90 overlooks, facilities, sights, and signs

Two Mile Run Overlook – elevation 2770ft

Brown Mountain Overlook – elevation 2840ft

Ivy Creek Overlook – elevation 2885ft

Rockytop Overlook – elevation 2860ft

Loft Mountain Wayside (RR, FS, CS)

Big Run Overlook – elevation 2860ft

Doyles River Overlook – elevation 2870ft

Browns Gap Parking – elevation 2595ft

Dundo (RR, PG)

Jones Run Parking – elevation 2790ft

Blackrock Summit Parking – elevation 2520ft

Trayfoot Mountain Overlook – elevation 2575ft

Riprap Trail Parking – elevation 2730ft

 

Skyline Drive Miles 91 – 105 overlooks, facilities, sights, and signs

Riprap Overlook – elevation 2920ft

Moormans River Overlook – elevation 2975ft

Wildcat Ridge Parking Area – elevation 2980ft

Crimora Lake Overlook – elevation 2975ft

Turk Gap Parking – elevation 2610ft

Sawmill Run Overlook – elevation 2195ft

Calf Mountain Overlook – elevation 2485ft

McCormick Gap Overlook – elevation 2455ft

Rockfish Gap Entrance Station – elevation 1900ft (RS)

RR-Restroom

RS-Ranger Station

CG-Campground

PG-Picnic Ground

FS-Food Service

GS-Gas Station

LS-Lodging Service

CS-Camp Store

Visitor Center

View from Dickey Ridge Visitor Center
View from Dickey Ridge Visitor Center
Shenandoah National Park - Topographical Map
Shenandoah National Park – Topographical Map

Shenandoah National Park’s Skyline Drive is a destination in and of itself, but it can also be part of your journey for your next road trip.  Like all of our wonderful National Parks, you’ll be glad that you made it part of your itinerary.

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