Embark on a Journey Through the Shenandoah National Park on Skyline Drive. Skyline Drive is a 169-kilometer (105 miles) long road that runs through Shenandoah National Park. The road is also called America’s favorite drive.
The stunning Shenandoah National Park is nestled in the rolling Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. The Skyline Drive, a National Scenic Byway, winds along the mountain crest and offers breathtaking views, including a glimpse of the majestic Blackrock Peak. That’s why, each year, this scenic route attracts over 2 million visitors seeking to experience its natural beauty.
Where is the Skyline Drive located ?
Skyline Drive is within the picturesque Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, USA, stretching from Front Royal to Rockfish Gap. The road passes through the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains, offering breathtaking views of the natural landscape.
You can locate the road on the map below:
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How long is Skyline Drive ?
Skyline Drive is a 169-kilometer (105 miles) long two-lane paved road. To use the road, you will have to pay the entrance fee for the national park, a 25$ ticket.
Overall, it will take a minimum of three hours to complete the entire route. However, it is not mandatory to drive the entire route, as there are entrances that allow you to exit the park along the way.
Additionally, Skyline Drive has various points of interest along its route, including scenic overlooks, hiking trails, restaurants, stores, campsites, and other accommodations. To easily find your way around these attractions, keep an eye on the mile markers located on the left side of the road when heading north towards Front Royal, or on the right side when heading south. Basically, these indicators help you remember where you want to stop and make it easier to navigate.
A preview of this legendary road:
You can discover the beauty of this road by watching the following YouTube video :
When was Skyline Drive opened ?
Skyline Drive first opened to the public in 1939. The road was built in the early twentieth century as part of the larger effort to build the Shenandoah National Park, and it was designed to provide visitors with access to the spectacular Blue Ridge Mountains landscape.
In many places, the road passes on the crest of the mountains and offers a sublime view of the valley.
Although the sections of the road change from ascents to descents (relegating the flat sections to oblivion), the climbs (sometimes very long) do not exceed 6% inclination.
How to get to the Skyline Drive ?
By air, come to Washington Dulles International Airport, which is centrally located in the Capital Region. It is connected with direct flights from the United States and many other airports around the world.
If you are coming from Washington D.C. take Highway 66 until Front Royal then follow the directional signs.
Also, if you are coming from the south (from Charlottesville for example) take Highway 64 until the Rockfish Gap.
You visualize how to get there on this map of the drive:
Is Skyline Drive open ?
Skyline Drive is open year-round except in instances where inclement weather conditions like snow or ice make it unsafe to drive on. The road is also closed at night during the whole hunting season. Alerts for hazards or section closures are posted in real-time on the park website.
Even if you can drive the road in one day, it is ideal to plan two days in order to make some visits and pauses, in particular, to take advantage of the splendid landscapes. You can stop at the Luray Caves, which are among the most beautiful caves in the eastern United States.
The Skyline Drive, a mythical road through the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah National Park, is a panoramic road that is a must when visiting Virginia. Considered one of the best places to drive on the East Coast, known for its history, ruggedness, and fascination, driving this road will be an unforgettable experience.
Pictures sources: By Famartin – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=58196016
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