on June 25, 2013
Our main reason for visiting this area was the Skyline Drive. We had read and heard a lot about it so it had a lot to live up to and it truly did. First there are the breathtaking scenic outlooks over valleys and mountains, then there are the numerous trails through woodland, fields and rugged areas, then there are the birds and animals that wander into the road in front of you. We saw stunning sunsets, amazing vistas, spectacular thunderstorms and the main reason we went - animals.There are only four entrances to the 105-mile long drive. The north entrance at Front Royal, the south entrance at Rockfish Gap and then two further entrances, one at Thornton Gap, towards the north and Swift Run Gap towards the south. Because of the speed restriction you need to allow at least three hours to drive the full length. We stayed in Harrisonburg, which is 20 miles from the Swift run gap entrance and could then decide to go other north or south, avoiding retracing our steps. We visited every day for five days and spent the days driving the Skyline, enjoying the 75 overlooks and experiencing the trials and then the evenings between 6-9 pm on the lookout for bears and deer etc. It was our ambition to see wild bears, and we certainly did. We found the best time to spot the bears was in the evening at dusk. We visited in June and so came every night for five nights between 6-9 and always saw at least three bears, many with cubs. We also saw many deer, again many with fawns. I cannot explain the excitement of seeing your first wild bear. I was speechless and just sat in wonder at the spectacle. After the tenth or twelfth bear you start to get a bit used to it, but it never looses its wow factor. We are used to seeing deer in our own garden, but to see so many here was also a treat, especially when they had young with them.There is absolutely nothing negative about this place. You drive steadily at the max 35 mph and there are lots of overlooks to pull into for stunning views. There are also many restroom stops ad cafes a well as gas stations along the route.Truly one of those places you have to put on your bucket list.
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