“Road trip!” Those words are music to the ears of someone who loves to travel as much as I do! Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against flying or cruising or even riding the rails, as they say. But there’s just something special about getting behind the wheel and hitting the road! I just got back from an incredible road trip on the Skyline Drive, a 105 mile National Scenic Byway that runs the entire length of Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.
This scenic mountaintop highway winds its way along the crest of the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains, with 75 overlooks offering stunning views of the surrounding valleys. There are many different types of wildlife living in this historic national treasure-deer, wild turkey, hawks, eagles, black bear, etc. Actually, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll get to see a bear or two, since Shenandoah National Park has one of the densest populations of black bear in the country.
On my trip, I was lucky enough to see a mother bear with her two little cubs near the side of the road. I pulled over and considered getting out of my car to take a picture, but Mama Bear wasn’t down with that! She gave me a look that said, “Leave. Now.”, as she herded her babies back into the woods. She was right, of course; the animals may appear friendly, but they are not called “wildlife” for nothing!
Besides admiring the vistas from the overlooks, you can also explore the splendors of this beautiful environment up close and personal on one of the over 500 miles of hiking trails, including a beautiful stretch of the famed Appalachian Trail. There are visitor centers, campgrounds, restaurants, lodges, a Birds of Prey Presentation at the Big Meadows Amphitheater, horseback riding…something for every nature lover.
Now, if you’re the type that’s always in a rush to see and do things, this trip may not for you. The speed limit is 35 mph! But you
may find yourself going even slower because you want to make sure you don’t miss seeing anything… including the cyclists and animals crossing the road!
The Skyline Drive is a great destination any time of the year, but I think it’s especially beautiful in the spring, when all the wildflowers are in bloom. So gas up your vehicles, my friends…now’s the perfect time for a road trip!