an anniversary trip to west virginia: the skyline drive of shenandoah national park

Friday, November 4:  We’re on our way this morning to Fayetteville, West Virginia to get away for a three-day weekend before the U.S. election on Tuesday.  It’s a trip to celebrate my birthday (Oct. 25), belatedly, and our 28th anniversary (Nov. 13), early. We decide on our way down south, we’ll drive a portion of Skyline Drive from Front Royal to Thornton Gap.

The view from Skyline Drive
The view from Skyline Drive

Skyline Drive is the scenic roadway that winds 105 miles through Shenandoah National Park, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia just west of Washington, D.C.  There are only four entrances to the park; we take the northernmost one, getting off at the next one south.  We have a long way to go to get to our destination in West Virginia, but we want to see some of the fall colors.  Thus we take the slower route for about 28 miles.

Skyline Drive views
Skyline Drive views

We’re so glad we do because it’s a gorgeous day and we’re rewarded with some marvelous vistas.

the valley from Skyline Drive
the valley from Skyline Drive
dappled valley
dappled valley

Forty percent of the park (almost 80,000 acres) is designated as a wilderness area; it represents one of the largest wilderness areas in the eastern United States and has about 500 miles of hiking trails, according to Shenandoah National Park – Skyline Drive: What to See.

autumn colors
autumn colors

It’s surprising to see so much color on the trees in early November; usually the trees are further past their prime at this time of year.

broad sweeping colors
broad sweeping colors
the valley
the valley
me along Skyline Drive
me along Skyline Drive
orange galore!
orange galore!
a tree amidst flames
a tree amidst flames
stark tree
stark tree
profile
profile
etchings
etchings
hillsides in flames
hillsides in flames
white bark trees
white bark trees
overlooking the valley
overlooking the valley

We enjoy our drive immensely, stopping at the numerous pull-outs for sweeping views.

a dramatic scene
a dramatic scene
rich orange hills
rich orange hills
a beacon of orange
a beacon of orange
valley views
valley views
views along Skyline Drive
views along Skyline Drive
Skyline Drive
Skyline Drive
a stand of trees
a stand of trees

Finally, we exit the beautiful park and head south on Interstate 81, in route to cross the state line into West Virginia.

Advertisements

22 thoughts on “an anniversary trip to west virginia: the skyline drive of shenandoah national park

  1. Spectacular photos! Who would have thought this huge national park was so close to Washington, DC??!! Praying that a certain someone won’t decide it would make a good place to look for coal…..!!!

    1. Thanks, Mona Lisa. It is very close, but also gets very crowded on fall weekends, especially at peak season. Luckily we got an early start on a Friday so didn’t hit any crowds. As for coal, well, it’s a dead industry, as you’ll see when I post my pictures and tales of West Virginia.

    1. Thanks, Carol. It is a beautiful drive with lots of views along the way. As you can imagine, it gets very crowded during the peak fall weekends; we usually try to avoid it on weekends, or get a very early start. 🙂

  2. I’be been hiking in this park with family and friends since the early ’70s. In addition to the Appalachian Trail cutting across the ridge, their are scores of great circuit hikes that are like old friends to us such as Old Rag, Stony Man, Little Devils Stairs, Mary’s Rock,, White Oak Canyon. It’s a great escape from the hectic D.C. Rat race.

    1. Thanks so much! I feel so depressed and distressed about the election, Jude. As I said I would if we had this result, I have started applying abroad. Don’t know if I’m aged out in many places, but I’ll keep trying.

  3. Thanks again for all your great pictures and blogs. As for road trips, have you ever done “Tail of The Dragon”
    in the Smokey’s? Look it up. 318 curves in 11 miles.

  4. Love it – you sure hit the color! My mother was originally from W VA, and after my parents retired, they moved to western NC to enjoy similar mountains and scenery. The view from the Blue Ridge Parkway was a lot like your beautiful rolling hills stretching out into the distance. So pretty!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s