Skyline Drive: Front Royal to Thornton Gap

The Northern District of Shenandoah National Park's Skyline Drive, including Matthew's Arm Campground and Elkwallow Wayside.

Road Biking Moderate

Distance
51 km
Ascent
1.5 km
Descent
928 m
Low Point
180 m
High Point
1 km
Gradient
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Skyline Drive: Front Royal to Thornton Gap Map

Description

Skyline Drive is one of America's most scenic roadways and a close second to the Blue Ridge Parkway. With a maximum speed limit of 35 miles per hour and 75 stunning overlooks, this scenic road is every cyclist's dream. Whether you're planning a multi-day trip or thinking of riding it all in one day, this is what you need to know about the Northern District of Shenandoah National Park's bicycle-friendly, 105-mile road.

The northernmost entrance to the road is US-340 near Interstate 66, not far from Front Royal. There is no major parking area at the entrance, but downtown is just a short ride away. If you prefer to start within the park and need to leave your vehicle somewhere, drive two miles south to the Shenandoah Valley Overlook. It will be on your right.

Though this section is lined with views, Hogback Overlook (milepost 21) on the western slopes of Hogback Mountain is one of the best you'll find. If you're looking for an out and back, make it your destination.

If you're riding the entire roadway, or simply continuing to Thornton Gap, Matthews Arm Campground is located at milepost 22.2, and Elkwallow (milepost 24.2) "hosts restrooms, picnic grounds, a camp store, and food service," according to the NPS.

Thornton Gap is located at milepost 31.5 where the roadway crosses US-221. There is a parking area on the south side of the overpass.

Assembled by the Blue Ridge Parkway these bicycling regulations are all excellent practices and should equally apply to Skyline Drive.

Sources: Wikipedia NPS

Difficulty

Moderate

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November

Guidebooks in this area