Driving Skyline Drive
Status of Skyline Drive for Fall 2016
Skyline Drive is generally open 24 hours a day / 7 days a week. The exception is when it is closed for evenings during hunting season in the late fall and early winter (see exact dates and times below). During this period it remains open during the day from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Inclement weather may also necessitate closure of Skyline Drive at any time. Please call the park's recorded information line: (540) 999-3500, 1, 1 for the most current Skyline Drive status.
You may still enter the park on foot if Skyline Drive is closed.
Park Superintendent Jim Northup announced that portions of the Skyline Drive will be closed at night during hunting season. Beginning Monday, November 14, 2016, and ending Sunday, January 8, 2016, the Skyline Drive between Front Royal (Mile 0 at U.S. Highway 340) and Thornton Gap (Mile 31 at U.S. Highway 211) and between Swift Run Gap (Mile 65 at U.S. Highway 33) and Rockfish Gap (Mile 105 at U.S. Highway 250) will be closed daily between 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. The central portion of the Drive, between Thornton Gap and Swift Run Gap, will remain open for overnight access to the Skyland Resort until that facility closes on November 27. Beginning Monday, November 28, 2015 and ending Sunday, January 8, 2016, the entire length of the Skyline Drive will be closed daily from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 a.m.
Superintendent Northrup noted that this is the thirty-sixth year that this closure has been undertaken and stressed its importance in reducing illegal hunting activity within the Park during the Commonwealth of Virginia’s hunting season outside the park. “Closing portions of the Skyline Drive enables rangers to concentrate patrols on problem areas and to increase contacts along the park boundary,” said the Superintendent.
Entering the Park on Skyline Drive
Skyline Drive runs 105 miles north and south along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Shenandoah National Park and is the only public road through the park. It takes about three hours to travel the entire length of the park on a clear day. You can enter Shenandoah at only four places:
Front Royal near Rt. 66 and 340
Thornton Gap at Rt. 211
Swift Run Gap at Rt. 33
Rockfish Gap at Rt. 64 and Rt. 250 (also the northern entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway).
Check out our page on driving directions to the Park.
If there are no staff at the entrance stations when you first arrive at the Park, you may proceed into the park and pay your fee when you exit. Remember, your fee dollars go towards projects that have a direct benefit for the visitors!
Basic Facts about Skyline Drive
As you travel along Skyline Drive you will notice mileposts on the west side (right side if you are traveling south) of the road. These posts help you find your way through the park and help you locate areas of interest. The mileposts begin with 0.0 at Front Royal and continue to 105 at the southern end of the park. The largest developed area, Big Meadows, is near the center of the park, at milepost 51. All park maps and information use these mileposts as a reference. Here is a driving map of Skyline Drive.
The speed limit is 35 mph, so you can roll down your windows, feel the breeze and experience every curve and turn of this beautiful drive. There are 75 overlooks that offer stunning views of the Shenandoah Valley to the west or the rolling Piedmont to the east.
Note: RVs, camping trailers, and horse trailers are welcome, but be prepared to shift into low gear. Also, be sure you will clear Marys Rock Tunnel (just south of Thornton Gap entrance from Route 211) at 12'8".