Shenandoah National Park and the Skyline Drive Parkway in Virginia
The 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. You can enter Shenandoah National Park and the Skyline Drive in Virginia at 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
Drive Time For the Skyline Drive Parkway
It takes about three hours to travel the entire length of the park on a clear day.As you travel along Skyline Drive you will notice mileposts on the right side if you are traveling south on 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.
The maximum 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.
The park purposely leaves the roadsides unmowed so wildflowers put on a show all year long. In early spring you can see trillium peeking through the grass. June’s display of azaleas is spectacular, and cardinal flower, black-eyed susans, and goldenrod keep the color coming right into fall.
Deer, black bear, wild turkey, and a host of other woodland animals call Shenandoah home and regularly cross Skyline Drive in their daily travels. Watch carefully for these animals who may dart across your path without warning. At 35 mph, you’ll stand the best chance of a fun and exciting wildlife encounter rather than an unpleasant wildlife experience! If you want a closer look, be sure to pull completely off the Drive and stay in your vehicle. Remember it is unlawful to feed the wildlife.
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”.
Shenandoah National Park is always open. However, portions of Skyline Drive, the only public road through the park, are periodically closed during inclement weather and at night during deer hunting season. Visitors can still enter the park on foot to hike even when the Drive is closed.
Facilities and services begin operating in March and close down completely in late November. Lodging and restaurant facilities are operated by ARAMARK, the park’s official concessionaire. Visitor Centers offer exhibits, videos, park bookstores, and general information about Shenandoah National Park.
Vehicle Entrance Fee:
December through February
$10.00 per private, non-commercial vehicle
March through November
$15.00 per private, non-commercial vehicle Pass is valid for day of purchase and next six days Includes passenger cars, pickup trucks, RVs, vans, and converted buses.
Pass is valid for day of purchase and next six days
Individual Entrance Fee:
December through February
$5.00 per person 16 years of age or older when entering by means other than a private, non-commercial vehicle.March through November
$8.00 per person 16 years of age or older when entering by means other than a private, non-commercial vehicle.