For residents of Virginia, we are coming up on the most spectacular time of the year. As the weather begins to change, the leaves begin to change, too, turning our always beautiful area into a state awash with vibrant color.
One of the best places to see this is Skyline Drive, in the Shenandoah National Park. About 2 hours from Reston (and closer from many parts of Northern Virginia), the Shenandoah Valley is known for its amazing display of Fall color. This 105 mile long stretch of road gives visitors a chance to see the foliage along the length of the road from the comfort of their vehicles. This makes it a great outing for people of all different ages and in all different states of physical conditions.
The National Park Service has a website that provides a lot of great information to help in planning your visit to this area. One of the features I just found out about, however, are webcams that allow you to peak at both the color changes and the traffic conditions along the Parkway (a warning, you won't be the only person who wants to spend some time surrounded by this spectacular color display).
I have heard that this year (2010) the Park Service is expecting peak color around the second week in October. Usually the weeks on either side of the peak color time, are great time to visit, too. Right now, the NPS is reporting the leaves to be at about 25% of peak color.
Directions to Skyline Drive from the Beltway (495) in Northern Virginia:
- Exit 49 to I-66 West
- Exit 13 and left onto Apple Mountain Rd.
- Right at John Marshall Hwy.
- Left onto S Royal Ave.
- Left onto Browntown Rd
- Left on Stonewall Jackson Hwy.
- After about 0.3 miles, veer right to where the byway begins.
Expect the trip to Skyline Drive to take about 2 hours form Northern Virginia. How long it takes you to drive depends on the traffic and your own schedule.
An alternative to Skyline Drive is the Blue Ridge Parkway. More information about the Blue Ridge Parkway can be found at the National Park Service Website, Blue Ridge Parkway. http://www.nps.gov/blri/faqs.htm
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