A Skyline Drive road trip
Winding trough the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, Skyline Drive is a scenic road trip that is particularly popular in the fall when the leaves are changing colors. The road takes us along the ridge of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Although there is a small entry fee to drive the road, it’s more than worth it.
The Skyline Drive is 105 miles long and is the only public road through the National Park. We enter the road at Front Royal near Rt. 66 and 340. It takes about three hours to travel the entire length of the trip to the exit at Rockfish Gap. There you can continue your trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
As we travel along Skyline Drive from north to south, you will notice mileposts on the right side of the road. These posts were placed to locate areas of interest. The mileposts start with 0.0 at Front Royal and continue to 105 at the southern end of the park. All park maps use these mileposts as a reference to indicate interesting areas. In total there are 75 overlooks that offer stunning views of the Shenandoah Valley.
Shenandoah National Park
The maximum speed limit on Skyline Drive is 35 mph, so you can relax and experience every curve and turn of this beautiful drive at slow pace. This speed limit is strictly enforced by park police. You can expect stopped vehicles on the road enjoying the wildlife or admiring a panoramic view. There are also deer, bear, and other wildlife crossing the road which may appear without warning, especially in early morning and late evening. The park is home to one of the densest populations of black bears within the U.S.
During the trip we’ll drive trough Mary's Rock Tunnel, a 610-foot (190 m) long tunnel blasted through Mary’s Rock Mountain. The clearance is 12'8" (3.8 m), so be careful when carrying bicycles on the roof.
Cars visiting the park from December trough February, have to pay $10 entrance fee. From March trough November this becomes $15. Motorcycles always pay $10.
A map of skyline drive can be downloaded here.
When you see a bear while you are in your car, remain in the vehicle. If you see one while outside, make your presence known by talking quietly and slowly back away. If the bear approaches you make loud noise such as yelling and clapping your hands. Always store food and waste into the provided bear-proof containers. Bears can become very dangerous when they associate people with food.