One of the wonders of America's national parks, the 105-mile-long Skyline Drive in Virginia was built to show off the Blue Ridge scenery. On both sides of the winding road, tree-covered slopes drop sharply to the valley floor.
To the east is the Piedmont, Virginia's rolling foothill country, where green pastures and golden fields form a patchwork quilt. To the west sprawls the broad Shenandoah Valley, where the Shenandoah River, fabled in song and story, makes repeated silvery loops.
From beginning to end, the drive tempts motorists to stop at nearly 80 overlooks, although only the most dedicated of sightseers would try to take in them all. Running north to south, the route parallels a 101-mile segment of the Georgia-to-Maine Appalachian Trail, which it crosses some 32 times.
Almost any of these intersections is a good place to stretch the legs on a short stroll on the trail. During fall foliage season, the mountains are ablaze in color.
Deer are plentiful along the drive, so much so that it is wise to keep alert at the wheel. And it is not unusual to spot a startled mama bear and her cubs dashing into the woods to get out of your way. Shenandoah National Park is home to an estimated 300 to 500 bears.
Learn along the way of the hardscrabble life of the Appalachian folk who once farmed these lush Blue Ridge slopes and hollows.
Find more useful information related to Virginia's Skyline Drive:
- Virginia Scenic Drives: Virginia's Skyline Drive is just one of the scenic byways in Virginia. Check out the others.
- Front Royal, Waynesboro: Find out what there is to do in these cities along Virginia's Skyline Drive.
- Shenandoah National Park: Learn more about visiting this national park, which showcases the Blue Ridge Mountains.
- Scenic Drives: Are you interested in scenic drives beyond Virginia? Here are more than 100 scenic drives throughout the United States.
- How to Drive Economically: Fuel economy is a major concern when you're on a driving trip. Learn how to get better gas mileage.