Most people experience Shenandoah National Park by driving the spectacular Skyline Drive. The drive opened in 1939 and runs (at 35 mph!) along the crest over 100 miles between the I-66 and I-64 freeways, giving grand vistas at every bend in the road. Mileposts, arranged in mile-by-mile order from north to south, mark your progress along Skyline Drive. While such scenic driving is definitely memorable, by far the best way to really see the park is to get out of the car and walk along the many miles of trails that lead through the dense green forests to innumerable waterfalls and overlooks.
A helpful map and brochure is handed out at entrance booths along the route (one at either end and two mid-way). Here are some more great places to stop:
Milepost 31.5: Thornton Gap; historic Panorama restaurant is being converted into a visitor center.
Milepost 32.4: Mary’s Rock Tunnel, a 13-foot bore cut through the granite in 1932.
Milepost 50.7: Near Big Meadows, under a mile from the well-marked trailhead, Dark Hollow Falls drops over a 70-foot cliff.
Milepost 56.4: A short, steep hike scrambles up to the 3,300-foot-high summit of Bearfence Mountain for a 360-degree panorama.
Milepost 84.1: A parking area marks the trailhead for the rewarding 3.6-mile hike to Jones Run Falls, tumbling over a mossy 45-foot cliff.
Milepost 98.9: Near the southern end of Skyline Drive, Calf Mountain provides a grand panorama over the Shenandoah Valley.