The Skyline Scenic Highway is a comfortable and easier option to visit Shenandoah. It's a 105-mile scenic road running along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Shenandoah, Virginia. Along the road you can easily access the many overlooks and short hikes with nice panoramic views of the mountains and valleys around.
Last weekend we explored this area and looked for a good overlook to catch the sunset colors. We ended up doing a short hike to an awesome 360-degree view around mountains. Here is our 3 favorite spots along the Skyline:
1. Stony Man Overlook
At mile 38.6 of the Skyline Drive (GPS: 38.6106, -78.3658) you can find a short trail that follows part of the Appalachian trail - parallel to the road. It leads to an overlook with views of the widest section of the Shenandoah Valley - a landscape that we humans totally modified.
To north and south you can see the slopes of the Shenandoah mountains. An interesting place, but not with really good views of untouched nature, which was what we were looking for.
2. The Point Overlook
At mile 55.5 of the Skyland Drive (GPS: 38.4627, -78.4628) you find one of the nicest overlooks to catch a summer sunset over the mountains, since it faces west to the widest part of north Shenandoah, where the valley shrinks. There is a 100 feet - 30m trail to a small rock outcrop with 180 degree cool views. The one we liked the most were to the southern mountains of Shenandoah in the distance (left).
3. Bearfence Mountain (1 mile loop Hike)
At mile 56.4 of the Skyline Drive (GPS: 38.4503, -78.4655) starts a short but beautiful hike, which runs mostly over big rocks to a summit with amazing 360 degree views of the mountains around. The trail is very easy to follow thanks to the many blue blazes (marks). In just half a mile you arrive to the tallest rock outcrop and overlook. This is the place we chose to catch the sunset.
Despite the cold wind, we waited an hour to enjoy those magic colors. Blue shapes far away transitioning to hues of green, yellow, red and brown trees lighted by a honey sunset spreading over every hill and slope.
We were happy to take a close up shot of the sun setting over the mountains of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest. It was hard to say goodbye and return back to the parking lot to finish our hike, but we already had been exposed the cold wind too long.
What we did last weekend? Had fun in nature!