It’s extremely hard to determine the best overlooks on skyline drive, due to the fact that all overlooks are amazing.
With this Ultimate Guide, all visitors will find it easy to determine the best overlooks on skyline drive. And all information needed, in visiting the various Overlooks at Shenandoah National Park.
Skyline Drive is the road that winds through the heart of Shenandoah National Park. And this road starts in the north at Front Royal, and end’s in the south at Rockfish Gap.
I have spent time conducting research, looking for the best overlooks on skyline drive, and came up with the following locations below. These locations I came up with, are highly researched and 100% proven that all visitors should follow.
Now let’s jump into the Ultimate Guide, for the best overlooks on skyline drive.
1. Crescent Rock Overlook
This rock is amazing, and also one of the best overlooks on skyline drive. Also its elevation is about (3,550) feet, which has a climbing range of about (60 – 70).
The fragmentation of the rock provides handholds, which are solid. Also, the overlook provides an awesome view through Buracker Hollow to the settlement of IDAHO.
Through the conduct of research, we discovered that Crescent Rock is a cliff which rises about (100) from its base. While the lower sides of the cliffs are covered with amazing thick vegetation.
For those who love to simply climb an easy rock face without a technical climbing gear or rope (Scrambling). And those who love climbing rock faces without rope, no one else, just a man alone on a wall (solo). Crescent Rock is recommended, because all of the above mentioned activities (Scrambling And Solo) are easily done here.
Feel free to Carry-out all activities, while sharing the cliffs with other people, because it’s interesting and amazing as well.
For new visitors, It’s is extremely easy to climb up Crescent Rock, but getting down might be another problem entirely. That shouldn’t be a problem, check below for other alternatives for climbing down the cliffs. Meanwhile feel free to visit Crescent Rock.
- When you are roping up, rappelling down is the easiest method to get off the cliffs.
- From the north end, try to access the Appalachian Trail and then hike towards south, for the next 2-3 minutes. Then finally you are off the cliffs.
- Carefully, walk along the cliffs top, down to the south end, you will come across ledges showing the route way. Then gently following the route down. After that, you will find yourself beneath the cliffs.
If these tips were helpful, don’t forget to leave a comment below.
Visitors should take note of the season when visiting Crescent Rock. Although you can visit and climb the rock in any season. But due to reviews of visitors, mid-fall and mid-spring are the perfect season for visiting Crescent Rock.
Price For Crescent Rock Overlook Cliffs Top
In order for visitors to access the park, $15 is charged, which will give access for about a week. While it cost $30 dollars for an annual pass.
In addition, if visitors are willing to get the interagency pass, which will give them access for yearlong it’s perfect. This will grant access to the areas managed by USFWS, Bureau of Reclamation, USDA Forest Service, NPS and more. All above mentioned areas, visitors with the interagency pass can enter and enjoy themselves without restrictions. This only cost $80.
Things You Need To Know Before Visiting Crescent Rock Overlook
- Please all visitors should put on helmets before climbing cliffs, in order to protect the head, when an accident occurred.
- All new visitors should take note of the Bettys Rock, so you will not mistake it for Crescent Rock. Read about the Bettys Rock.
- Normally, Skyline park is usually open all year, but note that, after ice storms or snow the park does close. So it’s advisable to plan ahead by contacting the Skyline Drive park officials (540-999-3500).
Location To Crescent Rock Overlook
Crescent Rock Overlook, 3, Marksville, VA 22835, United States Of America.
After getting to Shenandoah national park, then drive to Crescent Rock Overlook, between Mileposts 44 and 45 (mileage is recorded in ascending order from north to south).
2. Rockytop Overlook
This Overlook is one of the best overlooks on skyline drive, with an elevation of 2,860 ft (871 m).
Loft Mountain will be seen on the right, and Lewis Mountain can be seen in the distance. The Loft Mountain Campground, despite its name, is not located on Loft Mountain.
The campground, on the other hand, is located on Big Flat Mountain. Because the name “Big Flat Mountain Campground” was considered unpleasant, park officials changed it to “Loft Mountain Campground.”
Location To Rockytop Overlook
3. Crimora Lake Overlook
Crimora Lake is an amazing lake at skyline drive, which forms the centrepiece for its expansive views. This lake is among the best overlooks on skyline drive, which offers clear and beautiful overlook to the skyline.
The overlook of this lake is about (3,000) feet. While it’s viewpoint offers beautiful views of the natural features around the surroundings of the lake. These natural features are the water bodies that transform in the winter period and the mountains.
Due to reviews of visitors, Crimora Lake offers great stunning views during the winter. Ideally, visiting Crimora Lake during winter, is the best for getting the maximum beauty.
The overlook of this lake has endless to offer, when talking about mountain views. So, why not plan to visit Crimora Lake with your friends or families, in your next trip to have some fun.
Now, let’s jump into a brief history of Crimora Lake. Don’t forget to leave a comment below.
Brief History Of Crimora Lake Overlook
Open-pit Crimora Manganese Mine that started in 1866, put Crimora on the map. This manganese mineral was used for steel production.
The Crimora deposit consists of clay with scattered lumps of manganese ore. And also have a deposit of about (500) wide in feet, half a mile long, and (200) feet deep.
Due to research, we found out that Crimora deposits produced more manganese than any single deposit in the United States. And the mining operations are among the top largest mining industries in the whole universe.
In 1920, Crimora Community center was a historic landmark, which was built as a school. While on the banks of the South River, Augusta County built a town park beside the Community center in 2005.
Crimora lake is a frame of Rocks mountains on the right, and Turk Mountain to the left. Turk Mountain is the southern limit of Crimora’s CDA (Community Development Area). It’s the landmark of Crimora, which has a huge boulder on the summit of its North end. Other landmarks, which are seen on the northern end of Crimora’s Sampson area, are Wildcat ridge and Davis Mountain. Also, Purple Cow was a former landmark, that was formerly an ice-cream stand, which is currently unoccupied, but still exists.
Ideally, Crimora Lake isn’t the most perfect overlook in the park, but it’s among the top best overlook on skyline drive.
Location To Crimora lake Overlook
Crimora, VA 24431, United States Of America.
While in Shenandoah national park, drive about milepost 92.5 before getting to Crimora lake Overlook.
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4. Hazel Mountain Overlooks
This wonderful mountain offers pretty overlooks, which enables viewers to enjoy the beautiful sunrises in the park. Hazel Mountain is among the best overlooks on skyline drive. But it’s not among the highest mountains in the park. It’s not also among the best photographed peak’s in the park.
This mountain overlook has huge boulders, which can be climbed, to get an awesome higher viewpoint. In Hazel Mountain, there are spaces, so feel free to capture the Blue Ridge Mountains.
New visitors should note that, to access Hazel Mountain Overlook peak, he/she needs to enter Shenandoah National Park. This park has about four (4) entrance stations, so choose the one that suits you best. Then drive to the Meadow Spring Parking Area between MP 33 and MP 34, to enjoy your beautiful overlook.
Please, while enjoying yourself and family, watch out for timber rattlesnake copperheads and poison ivy. All visitors are advised to note this, for security reasons.
Trips to the summit should be avoided, during late spring through early fall, due to dense undergrowth and poison ivy.
Winter is best for the trips, because the view will be perfect, and undergrowth will not be as dense. Also April and early may, are perfect time, because of the wildflowers. For fall colors, mid October and early November are the best time.
If you are hoping to photograph, it’s advisable to do that from late summer to mid spring. This is because, during summer solstice, June 21, the sun rises in the north east, while the ridge line that Skyline Drive follows, blocks it. With this, your photographs will get the maximum beauty.
All visitors should note that Skyline Drive is subject to nighttime closures during hunting season (mid-November through early January).
While planning your trip to visit Hazel Mountain, it’s better to have some ideas about that very location. Now let’s talk about the most important things to note before visiting. But don’t forget to leave a comment below.
Price For Accessing Hazel Mountain
To get legal access to the park, $15 is charged, which will give access for about a week. While it cost $30 dollars for an annual pass.
Do you want to explore more in the park, get the interagency pass, which will give you access for a year. This will grant access to the areas managed by USFWS, Bureau of Reclamation, USDA Forest Service, NPS and more. All above mentioned areas, visitors with the interagency pass can enter and enjoy themselves without restrictions. This only cost $80.
Location To Hazel Mountain Overlook
Luray, VA 22835, United States Of America.
After getting to Shenandoah national park, the Overlook is located at mile marker 33 along Skyline Drive. Hazel Mountain Overlook, allows viewers to enjoy the amazing sunrises while in Shenandoah National Park.
5. Thorofare Mountain Overlook
Thorofare Mountain is an outstanding mountain, which has a lot of natural features. Probably, from my own perspective, I will say, this is the best mountain in Shenandoah National Park. And it’s among the best overlooks on skyline drive, if not the best.
Thorofare Mountain has an elevation of (1035) metres, approximately (3396 ft ). Its beautiful overlook is located east of Skyland, close to Corbin Mountain Trail.
This mountain is covered with trees, and also known as a pleasant Shenandoah surprise, according to reviews of visitors. Scrambling to the top is really fun, and one can challenge others if they desire.
Here comes another amazing feature of this mountain, after research. We discovered that the mountain summit is having a separate name, which is called PINNACLE PEAK. Compared to other mountains in the Shenandoah National Park.
It’s also known as a broad mountain in the Central District of Shenandoah National Park. It can be accessed in all seasons, and climbing it as well. But for best view’s and minimal obstructive undergrowth, the Winter period is more suitable.
Brief History Of Thorofare Mountain Overlook
Before the establishment of Shenandoah National Park. A man named ARTHUR LONG, had a beautiful grazing place on Thorofare Mountain between Nicholson Hollow and Skyland.
Charlie “Buck” Corbin, was the tenant who minded Arthur Long’s cattle. While the ridge that extended southeast from Thorofare Mountain is now named Corbin Mountain.
After research, we then discovered that Charlie “Buck” Corbin, the tenant who minded Arthur Long’s cattle, contributed to Shenandoah Park. He created footpaths, and a vast network of roads in the park, to make it easier for visitors to explore the beauty of the park.
Shenandoah National Park was opened to the public in (1936.), according to Charlie “Buck” Corbin.
So It’s free to visit with your family and explore the natural features of the park, without any restrictions.
Location To Thorofare Mountain Overlook
Luray, VA 22835, United States Of America.
After getting to Shenandoah national park, then drive Milepost 40.5, before getting to Thorofare Mountain Overlook.
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6. Spitler Knoll Overlook
Spitler Knoll Overlook is one of the best overlooks on skyline drive, for enjoying sunsets in Shenandoah national park. And it’s among the best (72) places in Shenandoah national park, where people travel to and have fun.
Spitler Knoll Overlook has an elevation of (3285) feet, and its open field view is one of the best places to catch sunset in Shenandoah National Park. In order to catch sunset fun, visit Spitler knoll during winter solstice, December 21, the sun sets in the southwest behind the mountain where Big Meadows Campground is situated.
Are you looking forward to capturing beautiful places at Spitler Knoll Overlook? Definitely you can, and note that each season will allow you capture different foreground elements. Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah valleys, is offering photographers the chance to glimpse the best scenery of Shenandoah National Park.
In Spitler Knoll overlook, visitors can easily capture rolling hills that lead to the Shenandoah Valley, Massanutten, and the mountain where Big Meadows Campground is situated.
Plan your trip today and Visit Spitler Knoll Overlook with your family and explore the amazing sunset. Meanwhile, don’t forget to leave a comment below.
Location To Spitler Knoll Overlook
Stanley, VA 22851, United States Of America.
For more details, Spitler Knoll Overlook is located at mile marker 48 along Skyline Drive in the Central District of Shenandoah.
7. Big Run Overlook
Big Run Overlook, is located at an elevation of 2,860 feet (871 meters). Which offers views of the Shenandoah Valley below.
Unfortunately, most of the year, the view from this overlook is obscured by overgrowth, making it difficult to see the mountains and valley beyond.
The view from this vantage point is spectacular, with views of the park’s largest stream, Rockytop Ridge, Rocky Mountain’s quartz summit, and Brown Mountain Overlook.
Location To Big Run Overlook
8. Stony Man Overlook
Stony Man Mountain is the most northerly 4,000-foot summit in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It reaches a maximum elevation of 4,011 feet (1,223 meters) above sea level, with a clean prominence of 651 feet.
It is located just southeast of the Appalachian Trail (AT), but there are spur trails to the summit that can be reached from the AT. The mountain is composed of ancient basalt that has been metamorphosed by heat and pressure into Greenstone.
Location To Stony Man Overlook
9. Jewell Hollow Overlook
Jewell Hollow Overlook is one of the 72 overlooks in Shenandoah National Park. Skyline Drive runs through the park’s heart and provides spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and valleys.
The Thornton Gap exit off of Route 211 is the quickest way to get to this viewpoint. There are rocks to climb, a grassy hillside to sit on, and the Appalachian Trail to hike on at this overlook. On the side that parallels Skyline Drive, this large overlook forms a “L” with views to the west and northwest.
The best part of this view is from the rocks looking northwest, which makes it ideal for late spring and summer photography. The sun will set directly behind the ridges of the Blue Ridge Mountains as they lead down to the Shenandoah Valley during this time.
Location To Jewell Hollow Overlook
10. Franklin Cliffs Overlook
Franklin Cliffs Overlook, located at 3,140 feet (957 meters) in the Shenandoah Valley, offers a view of a narrow hollow leading to the town of Stanley.
The Franklin Cliffs are the name of a Skyline Drive overlook that attracts thousands of visitors each year. The overlook, perched atop the Franklin Cliffs, offers a panoramic view of the Shenandoah Valley to the west.
The cliffs are mostly made of an ancient greenstone that is usually solid but can be slippery due to mosses and lichens.
Bouldering is possible on the lesser cliffs, although there aren’t many ideal sites to build up a crash pad. This is a wonderful roadside break for scramblers and families with little children (there are numerous small outcrops).
Location To Franklin Cliffs Overlook
11. Brown Mountain Overlook
Brown Mountain Overlook is located at an elevation of 2,844 feet above sea level (866 m). It’s also one of the 72 breathtaking viewpoints in Shenandoah National Park’s Southern District.
From this vantage point, you can see for miles, stretching from south to north. To the south, the peaks of Trayfoot Mountain and RockyTop can be seen, while the Big Run can be seen in the valley below. Also, the Shenandoah Valley can be seen on the horizon if you look north.
Take Route 33 to the Swift Run Gap exit and then travel 11.4 miles south on Skyline Drive to reach this viewpoint. Because there is a trailhead at this viewpoint, there are plenty of parking spots and enough space for visitors to spread out and capture this spectacular view.
From Brown Mountain spectacular view. Photographers can easily capture a valley formed by Big Run, Cedar Mountain, Trayfoot Mountain to the southwest, Rockytop Mountain to the west, and Rocky Mountain to the northwest.
Location To Brown Mountain Overlook
12. Hazeltop Ridge Overlook
From Hazeltop Ridge Overlook, take in the view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. From this vantage point, you can see from the northwest to the southwest.
Hanse Mountain, Powell Mountain, Grindstone Mountain, Smith Mountain, Devils Tanyard, and Long Ridge can all be seen from this vantage point.
Location To Hazeltop Ridge Overlook
Things You Need To Know Before Visiting skyline drive
- Please take note of payments, before entering Shenandoah national park, because it’s necessary. All visitors are required to pay a $15 dollars fee, which will give access for a week Or $30 dollars for annual pass. Failure to pay before accessing the national park may result in something else.
In addition, there’s also $80 dollars pass, which will give access to areas managed by USFWS, Bureau of Reclamation, USDA Forest Service, and NPS for free without retractions.
- It’s advisable for all visitors to put on a helmet before climbing cliffs, for protection reasons.
- Planning ahead is necessary for all visitors, because after ice storms or snow the park does close. But normally, Shenandoah national park is open all through the year. So you can contact Skyline Drive park officials (540-999-3500) before Visiting for more information.
- Please note that after the visit, you are not allowed to sleep in your vehicle while still around the park premises. So camping or Lodging are alternatives.
If you feel like Camping and Lodging in Shenandoah national park, you are 100% free. But note that the lodges are more comfortable than the camp’s. Below are my best recommended camp’s And Lodges in the park.
Camp’s In Shenandoah National Park
- LEWIS MOUNTAIN CAMPGROUND (MILE 57.5)
Number of Sites: 30 individual sites.
Mile marker: 57.5.
Reviews: dump station, water or electric hookups available.
- MATHEWS ARM CAMPGROUND (MILE 22.1)
Number of Sites: 161 individual (up to 6 people) and 3 group sites (up to 25 people).
Mile marker: 22.1.
Fee: $15/night for individual sites, $50/night for group sites.
Reviews: Yes. No electric or water hookups available.
- LOFT MOUNTAIN CAMPGROUND (MILE 79.5)
Number of Sites: 207 individual sites.
Mile marker: 79.5.
Reviews: There is a dump station, but no electric or water hookups available.
- BIG MEADOWS CAMPGROUND (MILE 51.2)
Number of Sites: 222 individual (up to 6 people) and 2 group sites (up to 15 people).
Mile marker: 51.2.
Fee: $20/night for individual sites, $45/night for group sites.
Reviews: There is a dump station, but no electric or water hookups available.
To live more comfortably, you can try out the following lodge’s below, but note that payments are required.
Lodges In Shenandoah National Parks
Here are few recommended lodges you can live comfortable;
- Big Meadows Lodge – mile 51
- Lewis Mountain Cabins – mile 57.5
- Skyland – miles 41.7 and 42.5
If this content was really helpful, all visitors should leave a comment below, telling me which of the prettiest overlooks in skyline drive, he/she is going to visit.
Best Overlooks On Skyline Drive FAQ
Is Shenandoah National Park worth visiting?
The perfect answer is YES. Shenandoah National Park is really a fantastic and fun place to visit. And in this park, there are unlimited options for the scenery and nature views.
How far is Shenandoah National Park from Williamsburg?
Shenandoah National Park is 129 miles from Williamsburg. While the distance of the road is about 163.9 miles.
How long does it take to drive Skyline Drive Shenandoah?
On a clear day, it usually takes around three hours to travel the whole length of the Park. And on the north, south along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Skyline Drive runs about 105.
What is the highest point on Skyline Drive?
The northern entrance to Skyland at 3,680 feet, is the highest point on Skyline Drive. While Hawksbill Mountain summit, at 4,050 feet, Is the highest point in the Shenandoah national park.
How many days do you need in Shenandoah National Park?
2-5 days would be a perfect period on every visit in Shenandoah National Park.
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