Skyline Drive

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This article is about the road in Shenandoah National Park. For other roads named "Skyline Drive", see Skyline Drive (disambiguation).

Skyline Drive
Route information
Maintained by NPS
Length: 105.57 mi[1] (169.90 km)
Existed: 1939 – present
Major junctions
North end: US 340 in Warren County
 
South end: US 250 in Rockfish Gap
Highway system
Skyline Drive Historic District
Skyline Drive near Big Meadow.jpg
Skyline Drive near Big Meadows
Skyline Drive is located in Virginia
Skyline Drive
Nearest city Front Royal, Virginia
Coordinates 38°32′54″N 78°27′38″W / 38.54833°N 78.46056°W / 38.54833; -78.46056Coordinates: 38°32′54″N 78°27′38″W / 38.54833°N 78.46056°W / 38.54833; -78.46056
Built 1931
Architect multiple
Architectural style Other
Governing body National Park Service
MPS Historic Park Landscapes in National and State Parks MPS
NRHP Reference # 97000375[2]
VLR # 069-0234
Significant dates
Added to NRHP April 28, 1997
Designated NHLD October 6, 2008[4]
Designated VLR December 4, 2006; July 2, 1997; June 18, 2003[3]

Skyline Drive is a 105-mile (169-km) road that runs the entire length of the National Park Service's Shenandoah National Park in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, generally along the ridge of the mountains. The scenic drive is particularly popular in the fall when the leaves are changing colors. Annually, over two million people visit the Skyline Drive, which has been designated a National Scenic Byway.

Entry[edit]

Road map of Skyline Drive showing nearby major roads and cities in Northern Virginia

Major entry points to Skyline Drive are as follows:

Fees are collected at the Skyline Drive's access points. The fee varies based on the season. Passes, which are valid for unlimited entries within a seven-day period, are issued. Since user fees are charged at entry points along the Skyline Drive, the Drive is sometimes mistaken[who?] for a toll road. The fee, however, is not a toll charged to drive on the road, but rather an entry fee for the park itself. A $15.00 pass is valid for up to seven days and $30.00 for a year-long pass.

Mileposts[edit]

Fall colors near Milepost 103

On the west side (right when traveling from north to south) of the drive, mileposts are present. They are numbered from 0 to 105 (north to south). These are the reference points to directions in the drive.[5]

Driving precautions[edit]

The speed limit is 35 miles per hour (60 km/h), due to curves, wildlife and tourists. One might see stopped vehicles in the road either enjoying the wildlife or just turning to stop at an overlook. Bicycles, motor vehicles, and pedestrians share the road. There are also deer, bears, and other wildlife, which may appear and cross the road without warning. These all require extra precaution. The speed limit within the park is strictly enforced by park police.

Experience[edit]

A white-tailed deer as seen from car
Marys Rock Tunnel

The road takes a winding path along the mountaintops of the Blue Ridge Mountains east of the Shenandoah River. There are nearly seventy-five overlooks throughout the drive, providing views of the surrounding valleys. During the drive (especially in early morning and late evening) wildlife can be seen on the road; Shenandoah National Park has one of the densest populations of black bears documented within the U.S.[6]

Numerous trails can be accessed along the drive, including a portion of the Appalachian Trail, which follows the road's path. Biking and horseback riding are other recreational activities that are allowed on the road. The southern end of the Skyline Drive is located in Rockfish Gap, where it connects to the northern terminus of the Blue Ridge Parkway, a free-access road that continues southward along the Blue Ridge Mountains.

History[edit]

Further information:History of Shenandoah National Park
Skyline Drive Historic District marker, which stands in the Byrd Visitors' Center at Big Meadows

Begun as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project during the Great Depression, construction of the Skyline Drive was both difficult and dangerous. Large cuts were made into the sides of knolls and peaks to allow for a road wide enough to handle traffic. The work began in 1931, and the final section (from Swift Run Gap to Rockfish Gap) was completed and opened in 1939. The Civilian Conservation Corps also had a hand in the construction of Skyline Drive. The CCC graded the slopes on both sides of the roadway, built guardrails, constructed overlooks, and planted thousands of trees and shrubs along the parkway.[7] It has 70 overlooks.


Already a National Scenic Byway and on the National Register of Historic Places, the Skyline Drive was designated a National Historic Landmark in October 2008.[8]

Major intersections[edit]

County Location Mile[1] km Destinations Notes
Warren   0.00 0.00 US 340 to I‑66 – Skyline Caverns, Luray, Front Royal
Page Thornton Gap 31.46 50.63 US 211 – Washington, DC, Luray interchange
Rockingham Swift Run Gap 65.60 105.57 US 33 – Richmond, Harrisonburg interchange
Augusta Rockfish Gap 105.57 169.90 US 250 / Blue Ridge Pkwy. south to I‑64 – Charlottesville, Waynesboro interchange
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also[edit]

mountain view

References[edit]

External links[edit]