”Delicious Autumn! My soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the Earth seeking the successive Autumn.” -George Eliot aka Mary Ann Evans
Shenandoah National Park and the 105-mile stretch of road inside the park known as Skyline Drive has become a Fall tradition of mine. It is a great excuse to get outside and the best way to see the changing leaves in all their glory. At only an hour and a half outside of DC it’s a great day trip to celebrate the new season.
It only costs $25 per car to get into the park and your pass is good for 7 days should you want to come back or make a weekend out of it. The drive is full of over overlooks that you can pull over into to take in the AMAZING views…and when I say amazing, I seriously mean it.
I’ll say it now and you’ll hear me say it 100 times more…I love taking pictures. Combine picture perfect views with my favorite season, leisurely drives and hiking to waterfalls…and you’ve pretty much got a recipe for my perfect day. I think the only thing missing from that list is wine. But did I mention that there’s a long list of wineries that you’ll pass on drive down? I didn’t? Pfft, well check out this map and let your inner wino rejoice!
There are also tons of hiking trails you can can take advantage of. My favorite trail is the Rose River trail. It’s a 2.5-3 mile hike (round trip) to a pretty spectacular waterfall. It is mostly downhill on the way to the waterfall so the hike back to the car has a bit of an incline but it’s absolutely worth it; and is actually one of the easier hikes to do in Shenandoah.
I’d say that the most famous hike in the park is to the top on the Old Rag mountain, which reaches 3,282ft high. Completing this hike is definitely on my bucket so hopefully next year I can talk someone into going with me.
Despite going in October, at around 80 degrees, this year is was pretty humid and super cloudy. At the lower elevations I would get swarmed by gnats, which was super annoying but the higher we climbed the less annoying the bugs became.
The clouds made for an interesting experience too. While it made taking pictures easier at some points, we were in literally the clouds at others and could barely see anything. One of my goals for the trip this year was to watch the sunset at the Point Overlook but when we got there 40 minutes before the sunset, this was our view! Needless to say, I didn’t get any sunset shots.
Regardless, the mini adventure and change of scenery was exactly what I needed after a week of feeling off. Plus, the views were spectacular and the company was fantastic. Until next time Skyline Drive!