In this 20-mile stretch you dip down to 2,304 feet at the Thornton Gap Entrance Station and then climb to the highest point on the Skyline Drive, 3,680 feet, just before the entrance to the Skyland Lodge.
The numerous hiking trails that highlight streams, waterfalls, and geologic formations are good reasons for taking your time along the Skyline Drive. The trail to Jeremy's Run, one of the major trout streams in the Park, originates at Elkwallow Picnic Area. At Thornton Gap you can view Marys Rock, which is formed of granodiorite. Marys Rock Tunnel, just south of Thornton Gap, is the only tunnel on the Skyline Drive. As you make your way toward Skyland Lodge, views of Pinnacles and the profile of Stony Man Mountain dominate the area.
Skyland is one of two lodges along the Drive. If you're not spending the night at Skyland, consider having lunch here. The dining rooms at Skyland's and the Panorama Restaurant are filled with windows perfect for gazing at the Shenandoah Valley.
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