The Appalachian Trail and Skyland, Virginia

Skyland, Virginia is a town untouched by time where the peacefulness of rolling farm land combined with beautiful hills and lovely trees provides a gorgeous landscape. Entering the town is like stepping back into the time of old farmhouses and wooden bridges with friendly people walking the streets and squirrels scurrying from tree to tree. This is a place for true historians to visit because they will find themselves on the same paths as Stonewall Jackson if they take one of the numerous civil war tours. This land has felt all the extremes of life, from the devastating civil war to the fantastic and serene mountain life.

The life of a civil war soldier can be relived while overlooking the Shenandoah National Park and gazing across the horizon from the peaks to the nation’s capital just 75 miles away. Leaving Skyland, the drive on Skyline Drive travels along the crest of the mountains through the woods and past spectacular vistas. This drive includes 75 panoramic views. A stop at the Big Meadow Campground with herds of deer grazing around will allow a look at the beautiful waterfalls and the dogwood in bloom. Hiking around this campground is awesome with each trail offering something exciting, maybe even a close look at a bear near Bearfence Mountain.

This area is the greatest place for hiking. Any of the 500 miles of trails can be accessed via the Appalachian Trail, the main trail that all the others branch off of. Hiking on the Appalachian will be the experience of a lifetime with the wonder of the wilderness all around and breathtaking views of the Shenandoah Valley including the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Blue Ridge is the eastern range of the Appalachian Mountains including the highest mountains in the eastern United States. The trees truly are blue because of the isoprenes released from the trees themselves. Within the Blue Ridge area are two national parks: Shenandoah National Park in the north, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the south. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a long scenic highway connecting the two parks along the ridge crest lines of the Appalachian Trail.

One of the popular places to stay in the area is The Skyland Resort, a lovely mountaintop resort originally called Stoney Man Camp, which is located in Luray in Shenandoah National Park. This resort sits close to Skyline Drive’s highest point and has a lodge with restaurant, cabins, and row houses, all with great views of the park. There are numerous other popular accommodations in the area such as the Big Meadows Lodge, which was named after a large meadow in the area and is a registered historic landmark. This natural stone lodge with its cabins and suites is on Skyline Drive and has family-friendly food in the Spottswood Dining Room. Also available are cozy cabins in a quiet natural setting at the Lewis Mountain Cabins. These cabins have rustic charm and are also a registered landmark located on Skyline Drive and situated close to natural wildlife in a wooded setting.