Shenandoah National Park
"The greatest single feature is a possible sky-line drive along the mountain top. . .Few scenic drives in the world could surpass it."
—Southern Appalachian National Park Committee, 1931
By 1929, more than 23 million passenger cars were registered in the U.S., making the automobile one of the most signiﬁcant social changes ever. Early advocates proposed that Shenandoah National Park's main attraction be built for the motoring tourist. Skyline Drive would be for leisurely drives and picnics in the cool mountain air.
When the Great Depression stalled fund raising for park land acquisition, planners turned to a drought-relief appropriation and forged ahead with Skyline Drive. They purchased 100-foot rights-of-way, and hired local labor while the architects struggled to design the road along the narrow legal route. The ﬁrst section opened temporarily in 1932 to rave reviews, but erosion problems gnawed at the roadsides and the architects.
Help arrived in 1933 when the ﬁrst Civilian Conservation Corps "boys" came to the proposed park and set to work on trails and infrastructure. Once the government took ownership of the adjacent land in 1935, the CCC boys' work focused on stopping erosion, and installing the overlooks, plantings, and landscape details that
make Skyline Drive so beautiful.
Drive The Drive
Skyline Drive is your portal to Shenandoah's treasures. It is both a journey and a destination. Seventy-ﬁve scenic overlooks offer expansive views of the rolling hills to the east, and the valley to the west. The 35-mph speed limit brings back the pleasure drive! Relax, slow down, and enjoy every mile.
Mile markers along the west side of the Drive tell you where you are. They are numbered north to south: Mile 0 at Front Royal and mile 105 at Rockﬁsh Gap. In publications and maps, their numbers are used to show locations of special points of interest along this scenic highway.