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Route advice for Skyline drive

delhi
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Route advice for Skyline drive

Hi! We are planning to do a day trip to Luray caves from DC.. its actually a detour, as our final destination is Richmond.We have to be in Richmond by end of day (in May, so hopefully longer days) and simply did not want to not do the Luary cavern or skyline drive as we are visiting from India and god alone knows if I shall ever come back to this area !

I know it might sound a bit Crazy :), but the plan is was follows :

leave DC early morning, enter skyline from either the Front Royal entrance to drive to luray, or take the 340 to reach Luray. After half day there, drive again on the skyline drive to exit the park from the Swift Run gap to take the 33 to richmond.

My questions are :1

1. Should I go directly to Luray by the 340, avoiding the initial part of skyline drive to save some time ? Or is that part very scenic?

2. Should i take the Swift gap exit from the drive or continue to the rockfish gap and take the 64 to richmond?

basically i wanted to know which the more scenic parts are so that i don't miss them. I know ideally this is very rushed, but figured its better than not doing it at all !

Please do help and guide:)

12 replies to this topic
Western Ireland...
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for Sligo, Charlottesville, Virginia, County Donegal
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1. Re: Route advice for Skyline drive

atmdel,

Our last visit to the Luray Caverns we stayed about 1.5 hours? In regards to driving Skyline Drive, I personally love the entire drive & would suggest you head to Rockfish Gap & take 64 East to I -95.

Speed limit is 35 mph or Less (about 56 km.)... Leave time to use the scenic pull-overs.

Driving Skyline Drive

https:/…driving-skyline-drive.htm

FAQ's

https://www.nps.gov/shen/faqs.htm

Scenic Pull-overs.

https://www.virginia.org/scenicskylinedrive/

Kesh_grammy

Richmond VA USA
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for Richmond
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2. Re: Route advice for Skyline drive

I think you can decide what to do after Luray that day. Depending upon what day of the week it is, you may end up spending a lot longer at the caverns than you expect. Try to go on a weekday because you could end up waiting from 30 minutes to up to a couple of hours to get in on a weekend. If you must go on a weekend day, allow plenty of extra time spent in Luray.

If you're leaving early in the morning, you can either go through the park from Front Royal, or take US340--both are scenic. On 340 you're in the valley with mountains on both sides, on Skyline Drive, you're on or near the top of the mountains with vistas across the valleys. INHO, the most scenic section is the middle section.

So possibly drive from DC straight to Luray, via I-66 and US 340. Then go to the caverns, have lunch, and from Luray head into the park. Take Skyline Drive down to US 33. At that point you've got a decision to make, depending upon time and whether you think you've seen enough and are ready to get to Richmond. If you just do the middle section and leave at that point, it should be about a total of a 3 hour trip from Luray to Richmond. If you go all the way to the end of Skyline Drive, it will add roughly 45 minutes to maybe an hour to your trip. These times don't count any overlook stops, so consider adding to those times if you think you will want to stop at either overlooks, or any of the Visitor Centers in the park.

delhi
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145 posts
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3. Re: Route advice for Skyline drive

Thanks so much. Very useful links and really happy that it seems doable 😊

delhi
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145 posts
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4. Re: Route advice for Skyline drive

Thanks so much for your post. I found this really useful as it gives the option of keeping my day flexible... depending on the time taken at Luray and the enthusiasm of my 9 yr old Can't wait for May!

Really appreciate the help given at the forum

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5. Re: Route advice for Skyline drive

My advice would be to come out of DC on interstate 66 and take route 29 south into Warrenton Virginia then head west on route 211 directly to Luray caverns (they open at 9am). Route 211 is a very scenic route. After you leave the caverns Go back up to Skyline drive at the Thornton gap entrance station and head south. From there you can decide if you have enough time to see the 60 plus miles to interstate 64 which will take you to Richmond or just see the 30 some miles of the drive and exit at Swift run gap and take route 33 into Richmond.

One bit of advice I would offer is to get out of the car at one or more of the overlooks or picnic areas and take time to enjoy your surroundings. Just cruising the skyline drive in the car will not be as enjoyable as stopping for lunch at a picnic area or maybe the Big meadows lodge restaurant.

https:/…

delhi
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6. Re: Route advice for Skyline drive

Thanks. Shall definitely stop and have a picnic and a coffee at some of the overlooks.

Meanwhile, google map is indicating that even if I take the first exit from the park, instead of the rockfish.. I will reach Richmond the same time, as I can get on to the I 64 much earlier and 33 is slower.

Is that correct, or did I read something wrong?

delhi
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7. Re: Route advice for Skyline drive

Hi Fred! You've mentioned that 211 is very scenic. Would that be prettier than taking the 340 from Front Royal to Luray? Cause on google maps that is showing is being faster.

Western Ireland...
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for Sligo, Charlottesville, Virginia, County Donegal
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8. Re: Route advice for Skyline drive

I also like route 211.. However, I would not recommend driving route 33, too many times been delayed..

Richmond VA USA
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9. Re: Route advice for Skyline drive

You should bring your coffee with you or pick it up at the Camp Store. The picnic areas and overlooks are separate places. Overlooks are typically just a parking area with a low wall, where you can stop and check out the views.

Leaving the park at Rt 33 will get you to Richmond much quicker than driving all the way through the park because driving through the park takes much longer. There are also sometimes traffic jams on I64 in Charlottesville in the late afternoon. Could be anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour faster depending upon traffic and whether you are stopping at overlooks. I usually take Rt 33 to Rt 15 South to I-64.

340 and 211 are both scenic and worthy of your time. You cannot go wrong with either one.

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10. Re: Route advice for Skyline drive

I prefer the trip on 211 over 340. Once you leave the town of Warrenton on 211 there are only 2 or 3 stoplights between there and Luray caverns while 340 goes through several small towns and is generally more congested.

You can preview the trip on 211 here,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9me3u9HWjVU

And Keesh Grammy is right about route 33 being a slower trip to Richmond but it is still doable. You never know when you might run into a traffic tie-up on any of these roads.

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