Shenandoah National Park lies astride a beautiful section of the Blue Ridge, which forms the eastern rampart of the Appalachian Mountains between Pennsylvania and Georgia. In the valley to the west is the Shenandoah River, from which some feel the Park gets its name, and between the north and south forks of the river is Massanutten, a 40-mile-long mountain. To the east is the rolling Piedmont country. Providing vistas of the spectacular landscape is Skyline Drive, a winding road that runs along the crest of this portion of the Blue Ridge Mountains through the length of the Park.
Skyline Drive runs the full length of Shenandoah and connects directly with the 469 mile Blue Ridge Parkway. Many people enjoy Shenandoah's scenic beauty from this 105 mile drive. Numerous parking overlooks present panoramas of the Piedmont to the east and Shenandoah Valley to the west.
Sights to See Along the Road
Front Royal to Beahms Gap
Skyline Drive begins in the north at its junction with US 340 south of Front Royal, Virginia. I-66 west meets US 340 four miles north of the city.
Skyline Drive is not just a road through the park; it is a way to experience it. Drivers will pass rock cliffs, and vistas, and probably deer and other wildlife; they will drive through tunnels of trees, past wildflowers and ferns, and (in late spring) by banks of mountain laurel in bloom. 75 overlooks offer a place to stop and absorb the view and the peace. The 35-miles-per-hour speed limit allows drivers the opportunity to truly enjoy the ride and helps to ensure the safety of wildlife along the road.
Shenandoah Valley Overlook provides a sweeping view across the valley to Signal Knob, a Civil War communications post to the right on Massanutten Mountain. The mountain divides the valley and the Shenandoah River, with the south fork on this side and the north fork on the far side. The two forks meet north of Front Royal.
Gooney Run Overlook gives a view across the valley and toward Dickey Ridge on the right.
Range View Overlook offers a spectacular view of a large section of the Blue Ridge.
Hogback Overlook offers, on clear days, a look at many of the bends of the meandering Shenandoah River.
Beahms Gap provides access to the Appalachian Trail and shorter trails.
Thorton Gap to Crescent Rock
Marys Rock Tunnel built in 1932, goes through 600 feet with a 13 foot clearance.
Pinnacles beckons picnickers. Access to Appalachian Trail.
Stony Man peak is straight ahead as you enter the overlook from the north. Across the valley is Massanutten Mountain.
Little Stony Man Cliffs can be reached by a round trip hike of 0.9 mile from the parking area. Access to the Appalachian Trail.
Mile 41.7 and 42.5
Skylane, at 3,680 feet, is the highest point on the Drive and one of the primary tourist facility stops. Naturalist George Freeman Pollock, who built Skyland resort in the 1890's was a major proponent for establishing the park.
Whiteoak Canyon boasts six waterfalls. A trail, 5.0 miles round trip, leads to them and to Limberlost, an area of large hemlocks.
Crescent Rock, 25 yards from the Drive, provides the best view of Hawksbill Mountain. Another trail leads to Betty's Rock, 0.6 mile round trip.
Hawksbill Gap to Big Meadows
Hawksbill Gap parking area trails lead to Hawksbill Mountain, at 4,051 ft the highest point in the park.
Upper Hawksbill parking area to the Hawksbill summit is 2 miles round trip.
Dark Hollow Falls, the waterfall closest to the Drive, cascades 70 ft over greenstone. Round trip from parking area is 1.5 miles.
Bearfence to Simmons Gap
Bearfence Mountain summit provides a 360 degree view. The round trip from the parking lot is only 0.8 mile but part of it is a rock scramble and can be difficult, especially if wet.
South River is a fine place to stop for a picnic and then take a hike to South River Falls, 2.5 miles round trip.
Hightop Mountain Parking, at an elevation of 2,637 ft is on the west side of the Drive near a crossing of the Appalachian Trail.
Bacon Hollow Overlook offers a view of Piedmont to the east and Flattop to the south.
Rockytop to Rockfish Gap
Rockytop Overlook provides a good view of the wild canyon country of the Big Run water-shed.
Doyles River Trail takes you to the upper falls, 2.7 miles round trip.
Jones Run is a good place to park for a rewarding hike of 3.6 miles, round trip, to the 42 ft Jones Run Falls. The reward: mosses and flowering plants growing on the water-sprayed cliff.
Blackrock Summit Parking is the start of a 1.0 mile round trip hike to Blackrock and outstanding views.
Turk Gap Parking area is east of the Drive near a crossing of the Appalachian Trail.
Calf Mountain Overlook provides a spectacular 300 degree view.
Rockfish Gap starts or ends Skyline Drive, depending on which way you are heading. The Drive runs south directly into Blue Ridge Parkway.
For more hikes and waterfalls see the Hiking Page.
Activities & Calendar
Address & Phone
Be Bear Aware
Brochures, Maps, Written Info
Civilian Conservation Corps
Horseback Riding Info
Jobs, SCA, Volunteer Positions
Junior Ranger Program
Natural Resources Guide
Seasons of Shenandoah
Stony Man Camp
Virginia White Tailed Deer
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