Visiting Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway in Fall

by Casey Higgins | Posted: Oct 9, 2015 | Updated: Sep 27, 2016

Comments: 15 Comments

It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a beautiful stretch of road for a Sunday drive or if the journey is the destination, Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway should be on your fall to-do list.

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At 105 miles long, Skyline Drive is the main drag through the nearly 200,000-acre Shenandoah National Park. There are four entry points: Front Royal, Thornton Gap, Swift Run Gap, and Rockfish Gap.

Need to Know:

  • $20 entry fee (fee waived on select dates)
  • 35 mph speed limit
  • 75 overlooks
  • Marys Rock Tunnel (milepost 32.4) clearance is 12’8″
  • Inclement weather may close the Drive. Call 540-999-3500 for status.
  • Accommodations and Dining: Skyland (milepost 41.7) and Big Meadows Lodge (milepost 51)
  • MAP
  • Tag your photos with #FindYourPark and #LOVEVA to share your experience.

Interested in making it a mini vacation? Check out this Leaf Peeping on Skyline Drive getaway suggestion!

Two Mile Run Overlook

Two Mile Run Overlook (milepost 76.2)

Tunnel Parking Overlook

Marys Rock Tunnel (milepost 32.4)

Skyland Resort

Skyland (milepost 41.7). Photo by Kelly J. Mihalcoe.

Skyline Drive near Milepost 5.  Photo by

Skyline Drive (near milepost 5).  Photo by



From Rockfish Gap on Afton Mountain you can access both Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway. From that point, the Parkway meanders 469 miles to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina.

Access the Parkway from a number of points on either side of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Key communities include Waynesboro (milepost 0), Buena Vista (milepost 46), Buchanan (milepost 86), Roanoke (milepost 120), Floyd (milepost 160), Meadows of Dan (milepost 176), and Fancy Gap (milepost 200).

Need to Know:

  • No entry fee
  • 45 mph speed limit
  • Key overlooks: Greenstone (milepost 8.8), Roanoke River (milepost 114.9), Roanoke Valley (milepost 129.6), Devils Backbone (milepost 144), Pine Spur (milepost 144.8), and Groundhog Mountain (milepost 188.8)
  • Bluff Mountain Tunnel (milepost 53.1) clearance is 13’7″
  • Inclement weather may close the Parkway. Call 828-298-039 or check the real-time closure map for status.
  • Accommodations and Dining: Peaks of Otter Lodge (milepost 86), Mabry Mill (dining only; milepost 176.2)
  • MAP
  • Tag your photos with #BlueRidgeParkway and #LOVEVA to share your experience.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is also excellent for a mini vacation. Try out the Love Floyd in Fall getaway suggestion or perhaps Getaway to the Star City of the South.

Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway (near milepost 96)

Thunder Ridge Overlook

Thunder Ridge Overlook (milepost 74.7, part of a loop trail, not a roadside overlook)

Bluff Mountain Tunnel. Photo by Joshua T. Moore.

Bluff Mountain Tunnel (milepost 53.1). Photo by Joshua T. Moore.

Mabry Mill

Mabry Mill (milepost 176.2). Photo by Scott K. Brown.

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Lynne says:

I live in Charlottesville, Va. I travel these roads everyday. I can’t start to tell you what season is my favorite! Spring, beautiful Dogwoods and Red buds start the seasons off. Summer, the smell of fresh cut grass, beautiful flowers scattered through the forest and near the lakes! Fall, the beautiful painted canvas of colors that God has made! Winter, the mountain tops glistening with a fresh snow. Let’s not forget All the wonderful animals that roam these mountains. the hills that come alive with winding grapevines and orchards. GOD knew exactly what to put on these mountains that we call the Blue Ridge!