Day 137: Exploring One Of America’s BEST Drives


time of year

Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia. Free with the America The Beautiful Pass, otherwise $30/car.


Beagle Gap to take a walk through a meadow on AT. The wildflowers are abundant and smell incredible, a spectacular bee buffet.


difficulty: 2

We stop at overlook after overlook, it’s hard to get anywhere. It’s all so picturesque.


Turtle rescue time. We found one curled up on the yellow line and moved it to the side of the road.

South River Falls Observation Point. (2.6-mile total out and back, 850’ elevation). Fairly steep down at the beginning before leveling out a little on rocky footing. The hike itself is lovely, the falls are not very visible from the overlook.


difficulty: 5.7

Bearfence Trail (1 mile loop, 311’ elevation). This hike includes a rock scramble where you have to climb up and down along a ridge line. Super fun and 360 views. You can also skip the scramble and take the AT to a different viewpoint, but where’s the fun in that?


difficulty: 4

Big Meadow Wayside for blackberry cobbler with blackberry ice cream. They even have a gas pump here.


Hawksbill Summit via Upper Hawksbill (2.1 mile total out and back, 520-foot elevation gain). This hike takes you to the highest point in the park A fairly steady up on a dirt/gravel trail. Ok the way up we met a deer who seemed completely un-afraid of us and actually walked along side us for a ways, about 20’ into the woods. At the top are cool rocks with a huge view of the valley below and surrounding mountains. Built into the stone overlook are brass forest fire dials to help you identify where to send the fire department.


difficulty: 4

The Skyline Drive has been such a peaceful, beautiful drive. All the trailheads we stopped at have all the information you need to choose your hike with a map, instructions, length and elevation gain, and difficulty. Each trail has had a slightly different feel, each section of the drive has had different wildflowers mixed in along the road. This is our first visit to the Shenandoahs and we’re already planning to come back.


After an amazing day, it’s time to leave the parkway to head towards our hotel. The drive takes us through rolling farmland with huge fields and through tiny, historic feeling towns.


For dinner we chosen Altos de Jalisco Mexican Grille, Winchester VA and brought it back to our hotel to eat, exhausted and happy after such a great day.


Country Inn & Suites, Winchester, VA. Do not stay here if you need the internet, it is unusable.

Price: $105/night


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