Analysing terrain data
The exposure grade describes the potential consequences of falling or slipping off the path.
Low Exposure: The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.
Medium Exposure: The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.
High Exposure: Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.
Extreme Exposure: Some trail sections are extremely exposed where falling will almost certainly result in serious injury or death.
Paralleling the southern portion of Skyline Drive, this stretch of the Appalachian Trail provides countless day hiking opportunities that are easily-accessible from the road.
Overlooks, bald summits, and unique formations are abundant throughout the Shenandoah National Park area.
At Rockfish Gap, a few parking opportunities make for a great place to start a day hike, or to leave a vehicle for a shuttle.
The Appalachian Trail traverses roughly 110 miles between Rockfish Gap and the Front Royal intersection, making this stretch excellent for a multi-day trek through Shenandoah National Park. Five miles from the trailhead, you'll reach Bear Den Mountain, a popular short hike.
Around mile marker 90 of Skyline Drive, you'll also reach an intersection with a spur trail leading to an excellent viewpoint at Chimney Rock. Just north on the AT, cross over the summit of Blackrock, just above 3,000'.
Its proximity to the road also makes this an excellent short hike with astounding views.
If possible, visit the summit at dawn or dusk for a breathtaking view. Winding around the national park's Loft Mountain Campground, the trail continues north passing Pinefield Hut, Simmons Gap, and Hightop Hut before reaching Swift Run Gap.
Along this stretch, expect multiple road crossings including a few waysides with excellent photo opportunities. Note that Skyline Drive is located within Shenandoah National Park and may close periodically due to inclement weather.
For the latest warnings and for information on entrance fees and hours, visit this link: https://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/driving-skyline-drive.htm Sources: www.wikitrail.org https://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/hiking-opportunities.htm