Scenic USA - Virginia
Each day Scenic USA presents a new and interesting photo feature from somewhere in the United States. Chosen from a wide variety
of historic sites, city scenes, backcountry byways, points of interest and America's best parklands, this site offers the viewer hundreds
of unique vacation destinations and photographic subjects. Each feature is coupled with a brief explanation. For further detailed
information, links to other sites are provided, but are never to be considered an endorsement.
Along with America's love for the automobile came the perfect place for a leisurely drive. In 1930 national park planners envisioned a new way for these independent travelers to experience Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains and developed a scenic route across the mountain tops from Front Royal to Rockfish Gap.
The Shenandoah National Park was established in 1935, surrounding the 105 mile Skyline Drive. This narrow mountain parkway is accessed from four entrance stations spaced out along the route. Along the way, sightseers may enjoy 75 scenic overlooks and pullouts, grand views of the Shenandoah Valley and a distant backdrop called Massanutten Mountain. Although the Skyline Drive takes about three hours to traverse, the park may be enjoyed for as long as you wish. Visitor Centers and other park facilities may be the best place to get acquainted with the park. With over 500 miles of hiking trails, there's bound to be an off-road destination to pique your interest. Formed from 1000 privately owned tracts of land, many historic remnants can still be found in the park's backcountry. Dozens of the trails lead to waterfall sites, mountain tops, valley streams, fields of wildflowers and a countryside of Virginia wildlife.
This scenic view is found just beyond the 670 foot long Marys Rock Tunnel, capturing October's bright foliage and hazy mountains. A warning for oversized vehicles, this solid granite mountain will not budge. Be sure to check your clearances before entering the 12"-8" high tunnel. Here at Thornton Gap, park guests may enter and exit from the Skyline Drive. Named for Francis Thornton, this 18th century entrepreneur developed the privately owned Thornton's Gap Turnpike, a toll road that crossed the rugged Blue Ridge Mountains. Just 75 miles from the nation's capital, Shenandoah Park is a great escape and continues as a relaxing driving experience.
Copyright © 2012 Benjamin Prepelka
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