Exploring Skyline Drive from Sperryville: What to Expect

Sperryville is the ideal point of departure if you want to explore the famous 105-mile Skyline Drive, as it runs the entire length of the nearby Shenandoah National Park. Even US 211, which connects with the drive from Sperryville via a seven-mile climb along the Blue Ridge, offers a scenic treat. It takes about three hours to cover the entire drive nonstop, but of course, you're going to stop and enjoy the scenery and maybe go on a hike before returning to your car. BBOnline shows you what delights lie in store for you on this National Scenic Byway with more than 75 overlooks.

Stony Man Overlook
Mile 38.6

On this second longest overlook, enjoy the first views of the Stony Man Cliffs, the second tallest peak in the park, the valley and the Alleghenies. This is a wonderful stop in the night when you can see the lights of the towns in the valley below. This magical sight is worth seeing from your Sperryville Bed and Breakfast.

Range View Overlook on Skyline Drive
Mile 17.1

From this overlook at 2,810 feet, you can enjoy a spectacular panoramic view of the entire Blue Ridge all the way to Stony Man Mountain. Look southwards to see Massanutten Mountain, Jenkins Mountains to Gimlet Ridge and the Alleghenies. Some visitors consider this the best view in the northern region of the park.

Thornton Gap to Stony Man Mountain Overlook
Mile 31.6

Formerly called Panorama, Thornton Gap is the point where the road from Sperryville meets Skyline Drive. Across the valley, you'll see the New Market Gap in the Massanutten. The overlook leads to two outstanding hikes. Mary's Rock (round trip 3.7 miles) is quite challenging with steep and rocky sections and thickets of mountain laurel.

The highest elevation on Mary's Rock is 3,515 feet. If you go up 200 feet more, you'll have a rare 360-degree view of the park. The easier, highly relaxing 3.4-mile Pass Mountain A T Hut hike takes you through the woods. You'll see birds, some pasture and an abundance of wildflowers.  

Hogback Overlook
Mile 20.8

This is the longest overlook in the park, with views of the  Shenandoah River, the Alleghenies and Massanutten Mountain. On a clear day, you'll see 11 bends of the Shenandoah River. The valleys below are Gimlet Ridge, Overall Run with the highest waterfall in the park, and Mathews Arm. At 3,385 feet, this spot offers many easy hikes, including the 0.7 mile HN-19 which climbs up to 100 feet.

Big Run Overlook
Mile 81.2

The Big Run Valley on Skyline Drive is one of the most picturesque in the southern section of the park. It's full of wildlife, wildflowers and water from the largest stream in the park. From an elevation of 2,860 feet, you can see Rockytop Ridge, Rocky Mountain with its shining white Erwin quartzite outcrops and Brown Mountain.

Two hikes take off from the southern end of the overlook-the HS-16 (round trip 4.4 miles) and the 5.8-mile HS-17 which goes up to 1,365 feet. It's a great way to exercise those muscles before retiring to your comfortable Sperryville Inn.