Skyline Drive in Virginia is part of Shenandoah National Park and is probably one of the prettiest drives on the east coast of the United States. Especially during fall!
Skyline Drive is 105 miles long with 75 overlooks along the way that do not require any hiking! Yup enjoy all the beauty with very little hiking.
The best part is if you happen to live in Washington DC the most northern entrance to Skyline Drive is just about 1.5 hours from the city. If you live in Northern Virginia it’s even closer, just hop on 66 and drive toward Front Royal.
For Maryland Residents, it’s also about a 1.5-hour drive to the first entrance to Skyline Drive in Virginia.
I still remember coming doing Skyline Drive as a kid and going to Luray Caverns! Because we live so close we just did a day trip.
On our most recent trip, however, we drove the whole 105 miles of Skyline Drive on our way to Lexington Virginia during peak fall foliage and it was stunning!
Weather in the Shenandoah Valley
The weather in Shenandoah Virginia tends to be a bit chillier than Maryland, Washington DC, and Northern VA by about 5 to 10 degrees on any given month. Even in the middle of summer, it’s quite a bit cooler so I’d pack a light jacket just in case.
Skyline Drive Shenandoah Entrance Fees, Hours & Location
Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park is open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. We actually drove here at night once to watch the comets during summer.
There are 4 entrances to Skyline Drive:
- Front Royal Entrance Station near Rt. 66 and 340
- Thornton Gap Entrance Station at Rt. 211
- Swift Run Gap Entrance Station at Rt. 33
- Rockfish Gap Entrance Station at Rt. 64 and Rt. 250 (also the northern entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway).
It’s $30 per vehicle to enter the park via any of the entrances above. Once you’ve paid your pass is good for 7 consecutive days.
We entered at night once though and all the gates were open with no fees.
Best Time of Year to Drive Skyline Drive in Shenandoah Virginia
Almost any time of the year is great to visit this beautiful drive. But fall is probably the prettiest and busiest time. You can experience the best of fall with no hiking at all! It’s crazy that I live basically next to this national treasure, but it’s taken me years to come back!
Where to Eat
Skyland Resort along Skyline Drive has 3 dining options, their Pollock Dining Room, Mountain Tap Room, and their Grab and Go.
Big Meadow Lodge
Big Meadow Lodge is another resort in Shenandoah National Park and offers 3 food options as well: Spottswood Dining Room, New Market Taproom, and Craft Shop.
Where to Stay
There are only 3 hotels inside the actual park, Skyland, Big Meadow Lodge, and Lewis Cabins. You can book them here: https://www.goshenandoah.com/
Another option is staying outside of the resorts near any of the entrances. We actually drove through Skyline Drive on our way to Lexington Virginia.
And a 3rd option is to camp. Most campsites have to be reserved and if you are visiting in the month of October it will be nearly impossible to get a camping spot. Mathew’s Arm Campground does offer a few first come first serve camping spaces.
Dickey Ridge Visitor Center and Byrd Visitor Center both have bathrooms. You can also stop at the hotels listed above for a restroom break as well
Best View Points Skyline Drive Shenandoah
With 70 viewpoints it really is hard not to stop at all of them, especially for fall! I’ve managed to narrow it down to 15 of my favorite ones from North to South.
Skyline Drive Northern District ViewPoints
- Signal Knob
- Gooney run
- Mary’s Tunnel
Skyline Drive Middle District
- Buck Hollow
- Hazel Mountain
- Jewel Hollow
- Stoney Man
- Timber Hollow
- Walk down
- Crescent Rock
- The Point (Walk the small trail to the outcrop)
Skyline Drive Southern District
- Swift Run
- Bacon Hollow
- 2 Mile Run Overlook
- Rocky Top Overlook
- Trayfoot Mountain
- Horsehead Mountain
- Moorsman River (This view is spectacular because you can see the river from here!)
- Turk Mountain
- Greenstone Overlook
- Raven’s Roost (Raven’s Roost is actually not in Shenandoah but in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s so pretty though and basically, at the end of Skyline Drive, I had to include it. And besides if you’ve made it to the end of Skyline Drive you might as well drive just a little further to this incredible viewpoint!)
If you have more time on your drive through Skyline drive in Shenandoah, I highly recommend doing the Old Rag hike, this is probably the best hike in the park. Or if you want to see some waterfalls but don’t want to head into the southern district this waterfall hike in Shenandoah offers an amazing waterfall viewpoint.