Where to Find Amazing Views and Overlooks in Shenandoah National Park
Planning a trip to the beautiful Shenandoah National Park? Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, this National Park covers almost 200,000 acres. So while you’re driving down the famous Skyline Drive, you may be wondering what are the best stops, views, and overlooks in Shenandoah. After exploring this National Park for 2 days, I have put together a list of the best views in Shenandoah National Park to add to your itinerary.
On top of that, all these incredible Shenandoah views have very little hiking to them, therefore, everyone can enjoy them! They also make for great photography spots.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Where to Find Amazing Views and Overlooks in Shenandoah National Park
- Quick Facts About Shenandoah National Park
- Best Views in Shenandoah National Park
- Where to Stay in Shenandoah National Park
- Best Views in Shenandoah Wrap-up
Quick Facts About Shenandoah National Park
Before jumping into the best views in Shenandoah, I wanted to provide you with the park stats and quick facts that can be helpful to know before you visit. If you already know this, feel free to scroll right down!
Location: Shenandoah is located in Virginia.
Entrance: Shenandoah has 4 entrances to the Park. The Front Royal (North Entrance) is closest to Washington DC. The Thornton Gap Entrance is East of Luray, Virginia, and west of Sperryville, Virginia. The Rockfish Gap (South Entrance) is best if you come from North Carolina and the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Swift Run Gap is located East of Elkton, Virginia off of US 33.
Admission: Shenandoah Day Entrance Fee per vehicle is $30 USD. If you plan on visiting 3 National Parks, getting the National Parks Pass called America The Beautiful Pass can save you money. The pass is $80 USD and offers entrance into all of the National Parks for 1 year.
Shenandoah NP Visitors Center: There are 2 Visitor Centers in the park. Dickey Ridge Visitor Center is located at mile marker 4.6, and Big Meadows Visitor Center at mile marker 51.
Lodge/Camping: There are 5 camping sites and 3 lodging facilities within the park.
Facilities: 1 gas station (Big Meadows), 7 merchandise outlets, and 5 food outlets.
Closest Airports: The closest airports to Shenandoah National Park are Washington Dulles International (IAD) 56 miles, Reagan National (DCA) 70 miles, Shenandoah Valley Regional (SHD) 27 miles, Charlottesville-Albemarle (CHO) 31 miles. Check Skyscanner for flights!
Nearest Cities to Shenandoah: Charlottesville, Richmond, Harrisonburg, Washington DC, Roanoke, Waynesboro, and Raleigh, NC.
Wildlife: Black bears, White Tail Deer, bobcats, spotted skunks, timber rattlesnakes, copperhead snakes, coyotes, and more.
Operating Hours: Shenandoah National Park is open 24/7 All Year Round, however, Skyline Drive does close for Ice and snow, but the park is still open.
Best time to visit Shenandoah: Each season has something to offer. Fall is the busiest time to visit since Shenandoah is known to have some of the best fall foliage in the USA.
The winter is the least crowded, but sometimes Skyline Drive can be closed to cars due to snow/ice, however, the park is still open for hikers.
Dog-friendly: Pretty dog-friendly Park
Nearby Shenandoah are a handful of other East Coast National Parks including The Great Smoky Mountains, the Blue Ridge Park Way, and the New River Gorge! Additionally, you can find nice wineries near Shenandoah National Park.
Best Views in Shenandoah National Park
Now let’s get to the best views and overlooks in Shenandoah National Park! If you flew into Virginia to visit Shenandoah, I would recommend renting a car, since this is a road trip kind of park!
Mooremans River Overlook
Mooremans River Overlook was not even a place we planned on making a stop at, but I am so glad we did. This is because it was easily one of the best views in Shenandoah National Park. We had the area all to ourselves and what I specifically loved was being able to see the Charlottesville Reservoir below which is fed by Moorman’s River.
The views here are unobstructed, so you really get epic views of the mountain range. Also, Mooremans River Overlook is East/ southeast facing, making this Shenandoah view great for sunrises.
Location: Skyline Drive Mile Marker 92.0
Another one of the best views to enjoy in Shenandoah National Park is at Rockytop Overlook! This viewpoint offers tons of mountain peaks and skyline views that are completely unobstructed.
Located at an elevation of 2,860 ft, this is a perfect spot for the sunset since it is west facing. In the distance, you can view Loft Mountain, Lewis Mountain, and Patterson Ridge. This was one of my favorite overlooks in Shenandoah.
Location: near Mile Marker 78
When visiting Shenandoah National Park, don’t miss adding the Point Overlook to your itinerary! This stunning vista doesn’t stop at the pull-off.
While you can see stunning views right from your car, I think one of the best views comes from the short 2-minute hike down a small path to an outcrop. This is actually the spot where the overlook got its name!
When you park, just look for a break between the small rock wall. What makes this spot even better is most people don’t venture down here! This is where we watched the sunset in Shenandoah National Park, and it was spectacular!
The sunset at Point Overlook also seemed to be very popular among photographers since many were lined up snapping photos of the sunset! The elevation at Point Overlook is 3,235 ft.
Location: Between mile markers 55 and 56 facing the west.
Hazeltop Overlook is one of the more unique views in Shenandoah, with a big open field, a lovely tree line, and mountain views peeking out from behind.
Some mountain peaks you can view include Powell Mountain, Grindstone Mountain, and Long Ridge. The views here are especially beautiful during the fall in Shenandoah! You can also hike the Powell Mountain trail from here.
Location: Between mile markers 54 and 55.
Franklin Cliffs Overlook
A popular scenic viewpoint you won’t want to miss in Shenandoah is Franklin Cliffs Overlook. To the left, you will be greeted with mountain views.
Then further out into the distance of the Shenandoah Valley, you will see the town of Stanley and Luray. At an elevation of 3,140 ft, this overlook is also great for photos.
Location: Mile Marker 49
Spitler Knoll Overlook
Moving right along to another epic scenic viewpoint in Shenandoah! The Spitler Knoll Overlook used to be the location of Spitler Ranch. Before the valley became a National Park, cows used to graze on these mountain tops.
At an elevation of 3,285 ft, enjoy panoramic views of Dovel Mountain and Roundhead Ridge.
Location: Near Mile Marker 48
Out of all these great views in Shenandoah National Park, this is the only viewpoint on the list you will have to hike to. In my opinion, it is worth it since this is the highest point in Shenandoah National Park.
The trail is a very popular 1.7-mile round-trip hike. Although the trail is a bit steep, with an elevation gain of 690 feet, it is very doable. In fact, it is one of the best short hikes in Shenandoah National Park. There are two lovely viewpoints to enjoy with picnic tables at the first overlook.
Location: Hawksbill Gap Parking Area Mile Marker 45.5
Jewell Hollow Overlook
I consider Jewell Hollow overlook an underrated Shenandoah National Park gem! When you pull into the parking lot, go all the way to the back left. From the wall, you can enjoy panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Some of the mountain peaks you are viewing include Leading Ridge, Jewell Hollow, and Neighbor Mountain.
To the left, you will also see a really scenic trail. We only walked about 5 minutes into the trail, and it was still my favorite in all of Shenandoah. It doesn’t hurt that we also got to see a white-tail deer here!
Location: Mile Marker 36.4
Where to Stay in Shenandoah National Park
Now that you know some of the best views to see in Shenandoah, you might be wondering where to stay. Shenandoah has a couple of lodges right inside the park along with campgrounds. Here are the park’s lodges! If you plan to stay inside the park, make sure to book in advance.
Best Views in Shenandoah Wrap-up
This covers some of the best views to experience in Shenandoah National Park! I hope you enjoy exploring the beautiful vistas this National Park has to offer!
Have any questions about any of these views in Shenandoah National Park? Let me know in the comments below, or send me an email or dm.
Other Travel guides to check out:
- Weekend in Washington DC
- Blue Ridge Parkway Road Trip Guide
- Weekend in Boone, NC
- Free Things to do in Raleigh, NC