Skyline Drive: Swift Run Gap to Rockfish Gap

The Southern District of Shenandoah National Park's Skyline Drive, including Dundon Group Campground and 25+ overlooks!

Road Biking Moderate

Distance
64 km
Ascent
1.3 km
Descent
1.4 km
Low Point
577 m
High Point
916 m
Gradient
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Skyline Drive: Swift Run Gap to Rockfish 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, the 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 Southern District of Shenandoah National Park's bicycle-friendly, 105-mile road.

This section begins at Swift Run Gap (US-33) and ends at Rockfish Gap (Interstate 64). There is parking for a few vehicles at each end, or as always — you could begin at any pull-off along the roadway. This section is not lacking when it comes to views: there are roughly 25 defined overlooks along this 40-mile ride!

Rockfish Gap is also the northern entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway, a similar yet significantly longer roadway that spans from Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. If you're considering riding the entire Blue Ridge Parkway, Skyline would be a great test of both fitness and gear, as parts of the 469-mile scenic road are much more remote and challenging.

If you're planning a multi-day ride, Dundo Group Campground is the only overnight option along this stretch. It's located at milepost 83.7, or you could continue to Rockfish Gap and make your way into Waynesboro to stay the night. If you're visiting Charlottesville, this is also your best opportunity to head out for a ride on this beautiful roadway.

Worth noting, this section also passes through Jarman Gap at milepost 96.8. According to Wikipedia, the gap was originally known as Wood's Gap, and "was originally a buffalo trail and Native American path," the author writes. The gap was named after Michael Woods, "the first European to settle in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Albermarle County, having traveled down the Shenandoah Valley from Pennsylvania in 1734." The gap "was renamed as Jarman Gap around 1800, when Thomas Jarman bought the property. Jarman Gap was also crossed by the historic Three Notch'd Road, a colonial era road in use by the 1730s."

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

Sources: Skyline Drive Wikipedia NPS Jarman Gap Wikipedia

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