Skyline Drive runs along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Shenandoah National Park. It takes three or four hours to travel when the weather is clear. The best time of year for scenic views is the fall, when the leaves change color in Virginia. The tour offers sweeping views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valley.
If you miss the fall, spring is the second favorite time of year when Shenandoah National Park features more than 800 species of wildflowers blooming along the path including asters, wild sunflowers, mountain laurel and azaleas.
Skyline Drive is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and only closes with bad weather. You may wish to print out a map before you go, or pick up a map in the park because GPS doesn’t always work. Helpful mileposts of cement markers are placed along each mile that can show you the way and mark all of the beautiful attractions. You’ll see the mileposts on the right when you travel south and on the left when you are traveling north.
If this motorcycle adventure sounds like the lyrics from a John Denver song, you would be right. The song “Take Me Home, Country Road” starts with “Almost heaven, West Virginia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River.”
Skyline Drive is Shenandoah National Park’s Main Road
Along the 105 miles of Skyline Drive, you will see 75 overlooks plus visitor centers, lodges, picnic areas and campgrounds. When starting out, the first section of road is 31.5 miles starting from the town of Front Royal. At milepost 4.6 of Skyline Drive you’ll see Dickey Ridge Visitor Center.
The next stop is Hogback Overlook located at milepost 20.8. Then the Mathews Arm Campground can be found at milepost 22.2. If you’re hungry for a sweet snack, you can eat ice cream at Elkwallow Wayside (milepost 24). Then you can check out the view at Thornton Hollow Overlook (milepost 27.6) as you approach the Thornton Gap.
Thornton Gap to Swift Run Gap
As you arrive at Thornton Gap, you are in the central district featuring high elevation, campgrounds and historic cabins. If you are up to a hike from milepost 33.5 and the Meadow Spring parking area, Mary’s Rock provides 360-degree panoramic views.
One of the ride’s best views is offered at the Range View Overlook, located at marker 17.
Big Meadows is located at the half-way point of Skyline Drive at milepost 51. This is a large area with a lodge, visitor center, dining, and campground. Big Meadows Campground is where the elevation is the highest at 3500 feet. Don’t forget to check out the waterfalls near Big Meadows, which include Rose River Falls, Lewis Spring Falls and Dark Hollow Falls.
Baldface Mountain Overlook provides a high point at elevation 3325 and milestone 61. Swift Run Overlook is located at milepost 67, and then you can see the hollow overlooks along Skyline Drive. A few other outstanding mileposts include:
- Bacon Hollow Overlook (milepost 69)
- Eaton Hollow Overlook (milepost 70.5)
- Rocky Mountain Overlook (milepost 71.1)
- Lofty Mountain Wayside (milepost 80)
Preparing for the Skyline Drive Tour
To prepare for your adventure, it is good to:
- Pack food, snacks, water
- Gas up before leaving
- Make sure your cell phone is charged
- Make sure to pick up a paper map as GPS can fail
- Bring a camera to snap pictures of your trip
- Carry a first aid kit in the event of an accident
Contact Law Tigers if You Get Into an Accident
If you ever find yourself in need of a motorcycle accident injury attorney, be sure to contact the Law Tigers team at 1-888-863-7216 to schedule a free case evaluation.