When we made plans to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway end to end this summer, we noticed that the Skyline Drive takes off where the Blue Ridge Parkway ends, so we decided to extend our drive through the park.
When making plans for a location you haven’t visited, you tend to have preconceived ideas of what you will find there to explore. In my mind while planning, I envisioned the Blue Ridge Parkway as being very scenic, but not necessarily containing historical locations with interpretative centers and displays. On the other hand, I expected the Skyline to be more historical than scenic.
I had really romanticized the Shenandoah Valley itself. We saw nothing different driving through Shenandoah Valley itself than you would see driving any road through farmland.
With the establishment of the park in December 1935, the core of the park's development was completed by the beginning of WWII and, to a great extent, the mountains were released to nature.
No doubt about it, the Skyline Drive was scenic, but had we gone just for that drive, I would have been disappointed. There were no historical displays to speak of except at the two Visitor Centers. In fact, Shenandoah National Park consists of a relatively small area on each side of the Skyline Drive, and hiking trails are about all it has to offer besides the drive.
On the other hand, as you already know if you follow our blog (Blue Ridge Parkway Posts) the Blue Ridge Parkway was literally filled with historical stops. Just shows how off our misconceptions can be.
We took a day and a half to drive the Skyline. It was hard to get crisp looking pictures because of the ever present haze, but there are some that I like. Those can be viewed by clicking on the collage below.