Last night I was watching a repeat of a Seinfeld episode that I’ve probably seen at least a half dozen times. Despite my familiarity with that particular episode it still brings a smile to my face whenever I watch it. Driving along Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park is a similar experience. You see view after view of the great expanse below and it never gets old. (These first five pictures are from just one overlook)
The word “WOW” is uttered by nearly everyone who exits their car at one of the dozens of scenic overlooks. The Appalachian Mountains roll along in an unending wave of trees and leaves. The slopes of green are peppered with rays of sunlight that poke through the clouds. The contours of each ridge stand proud like contestants at a beauty contest.
Skyline Drive meanders 105 miles from Front Royal, Virginia to Route 64 where it turns into The Blue Ridge Parkway. Within the park, there are 75 designated areas where you can stop and enjoy its beauty. Most of those turnoffs provide views like these.
You can’t see forever from here but you can come really close. The views from atop the mountain ridges are breathtaking. Visitors spend their time sightseeing, camping, hiking, horseback riding and cycling. These mountains are perfect if you want to have the Tour De France experience in America.
There are over 500 miles of trails to hike. Be aware that you need to have proper walking/hiking shoes and clothing. I went on a hike to photograph a waterfall. The mountains are steeply sloped which provides you with the great views of the valleys but they make for strenuous hikes. Here is my report……..
The busiest time of the year is from summer through the end of October when the leaves change their colors. There are three choices for lodging in the park with several campgrounds also available. If you choose to stay outside the park, expect a 20-40 minute drive to one of the surrounding towns.
Shenandoah National Park is a hidden gem of the east coast. When I mention it to people they either get a quizzical look on their face or they say, “Oh yeah, we went there years and years ago when I was a kid. Beautiful place.” It certainly doesn’t get the recognition it deserves so I encourage everyone to make the trip.
Have you visited Shenandoah NP? What was your experience like? What did you do there?
For more information about Shanadoah National Park, click the link below.